Google book settlement has librarians worried

5 05 2009

The deal Google cut with publishers to settle their copyright infringement suit would give a green light to the search giant’s book-scanning services and turn it into a retailer of out-of-print books. But resistance to the deal has been growing, as a variety of parties are realizing that the settlement gives both Google and the Book Rights Registry created by the deal enormous power over the dissemination of the scanned material. The latest groups to weigh in represent research librarians, who are worried about the deal’s privacy implications and the lack of guarantees of current and future access. The solution, in their view, is to structure the settlement in a way that guarantees the court the right to intervene in the future.

The groups involved—the American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries, and the Association of Research Libraries—have sent the court that is conducting hearings on the settlement an amicus brief in which they voiced their worries. The judge had previously rejected the Internet Archive’s attempt to become a party to the case, but had indicated he would accept various forms of input on the settlement, including amicus briefs.

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