A Google Books Settlement Roundup

January 29, 2010 at 11:34 PM Leave a comment

From the Chronicle of Higher Education comes this roundup of the latest news on the Google Books settlement. Of course the upcoming Apple iPad, now that it’s no longer rumorware, will be world-changing again in 60-90 days. Google will undoubtedly have to take notice, but they appear to have already covered that eventuality, at least in part, with their ePub versions of works in the public domain (via LifeHacker). It will be interesting to see if gBooks works something out with libraries and/or publishers about publishing books in ePub format that are still within copyright.

According to the Chronicle, it seems my personal hero, Ursula K. LeGuin, is lending her well-known voice to those expressing displeasure with the settlement, particularly because it appears to wrest control of copyright out of the hands of authors and place it into the hands of publishers – those who have opted in to the settlement, that is. Those who have opted out of the settlement, she says, will have no say about what happens to books Google has scanned. Presumably, those will only be available in “snippet view”, but even though the view is limited, the scans are not – once Google has a book, it has the whole book, regardless of what it chooses to show or hide. (Speaking of which, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has a fine and full discussion of Snippet View and other implications of the settlement for publishers.)

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Entry filed under: Digital Books, Digital Libraries.

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