July 27, 2009

Learn about the Google Book Search Settlement at The Public Index

In October 2008, Google announced that it had reached a settlement with major publishers that would end the publishers’ copyright lawsuit against Google Books. In the settlement, Google would pay publishers and authors $125 million. In exchange, the company would resume scanning copyrighted, out-of-print books, and provide up to 20% of the text on-line at no charge, under its Google Book Search program. A final approval was originally scheduled for May 2009.

Almost immediately, opposition arose from some publishers and academic institutions, who were concerned about Google receiving a monopoly over millions of orphaned books – those titles were a copyright holder cannot be found. A federal judge ordered a four-month delay to the settlement, to give time to the U.S. Department of Justice to look into the antitrust implications of the deal.

For those of you interested in this issue – including its impact on authors, booksellers, librarians, and copyright law – you might want to check out The Public Index. This site is dedicated to studying and discussing this proposed settlement. Here, you can browse and annotate the settlement, section-by-section. In addition, you can:
  • Study the reading room of lawsuit documents
  • Join the conversation in the forums
  • Draft an amicus brief to the court on the wiki
The Public Index is a project of the Public-Interest Book Search Initiative and the Institute for Information Law and Policy at New York Law School, a group of professors, students, and volunteers who believe that the Google Book Search lawsuit and settlement deserve a full, careful, and thoughtful public discussion.

The site’s creators write:
“This is a site for everyone, dedicated to no particular point of view other than the advancement of dialogue and understanding. We hope that the site will help the settlement’s fans and foes dispel misunderstandings and find common ground, and that those who have not made up their minds will find the facts and explanations they need to reach informed decisions for themselves”

No comments: