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November 20, 2009
A Little Light Weekend Reading - Google Books Settlement
In case you didn't have enough reading to do this weekend, here are couple of items analyzing the Google Books settlement.
First, Fred von Lohmann at EFF just published his third blog entry on the topic.
- The first piece, very short, points out the key conflict of this settlement: we're trading off increased access to works that might otherwise be difficult to find, but at a potential cost in lost privacy, lock-ins that discourage competition, and limits on what otherwise would be fair use.
- The second entry, much longer, looked at the issues around access. Access is the big promise of what Google is doing - you can not just search, but read online, millions of books that would otherwise be inaccessible to most people.
- Item the third, in yesterday's column, are the downsides - the price of that access. The big fear here is not that access will be denied, but that it will be controlled. It will be for pay - rather than free in a library - and on Google's terms, rather than US Copyright law fair use terms. Those terms, von Lohmann argues, are potentially monopolist or at least highly anti-competitive.
From von Lohmann's postings you can jump directly to the 300-page PDF of the settlement to read the relevant bits for yourself.
Or, if that's too much heavy reading for you, the Copyright Clearance Center has put online a 21-minute podcast of their analysis by Lois Wasoff (also available as transcript). CCC would also like you to note that they're hosting an online seminar Dec 10th with Ms. Wasoff. CCC is a rights-holders organization and so approaches this settlement from the point of view of those who might want to claim rights over the books that Google has (or will) include in this plan.
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