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January 13, 2005
Let a Thousand Googles Bloom
Speaking of Larry, it appears [LA Times; reg. req.] that he and Professor Geist are of one mind about the larger implications of Google's plan to digitize some of the world's best libraries:
[The] excitement around Google's extraordinary plan has obscured a dirty little secret: It is not at all clear that Google and these libraries have the legal right to do what is proposed...Google, to its credit, has decided to accept these risks. It can afford to fight the lawsuits, and the benefit to society and Google from such access apparently outweighs its potential costs.
But not everyone is Google. Not every library could afford the risks that Google can. And so before we accept a world where only a Google can build valuable, network-based digital libraries, we should ask whether the system that produces these profound uncertainties is a system that we should change.
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