Monday, November 03, 2008

The Great Book Bank Robbery - Is it

Part 1

At last some are now questioning the logic of the great giveaway and whether it is a wise move to reward what some believe is the thief with a snippet of a fine and the industry on a platter. Google has already scanned more than 7 million books, and plans to scan millions more. Where else would someone in the dock be given everything they wished for and asked to continue to do it with the blessing of all?

Fair Use. Google has been given a ‘licence to scan’ and ‘opt out’ not an ‘opt in’ approach to restricting access. But what does this mean to others who may wish to scan? Some interesting thoughts from UCLA Law's Professor, Neil Netanel

Big Brother. Once you are using the system then Google will know what you read, when you read it, what you didn’t read and even how long it took you to read it. If coupled with the obvious shift onto Anriod applications it will even know that too. Now what’s that worth to the advertising world? These points and much more are made in Fred von Lohmann’s legal analysis

Rights and the Registry. We have long argued against the Orphan Act which we saw as a precursor to this very move by Google and others. Many publishers are so front list focused that the long forgotten are just that. However just because a work is out of print and its ownership unclear, does not entitle it to be stolen. The question of who gets the money under this new arrangement is questioned in the University of Maryland College blog. Why does Google get to keep the orphan cash?

The question of orphan works and fair use is further explored in this blog by Jef Pearlman

The representatives and industry sanction. We are not in a position to say whether those who negotiated the deal were the right or wrong people to do so but would refer you to an interesting blog Scrivener's Error. The only question we would raise is why a company that openly wants to abolish author’s reversals is sitting on the panel?

Harvard University library, director Robert C. Darnton is reported in Information Week “the agreement had no assurances that prices charged for accessing electronic copies of books would be reasonable, particularly since there would be no real competition.” The ramifications of the settlement are said to be too unclear for Harvard to commit to participating in the Google project.

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