Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Explaining the Google Books Case Saga (Time)

A federal court yesterday rejected a settlement between Google, authors and publishers, throwing into doubt the search company's plans to make every book ever published searchable online.

Acknowledging in his opinion that “the creation of a universal digital library would benefit many,” federal district court judge Denny Chin ultimately decided that the proposed agreement was “not fair, adequate and reasonable.” ...

Because it was a settlement to a class-action lawsuit, it meant that all authors who had ever published a book were bound. Google could scan any book without first asking for permission. If an author didn't want his book to be scanned or included in Google's database, he had to contact Google and opt-out. This would have turned copyright on its head.
This article offers a nice, easily understood round-up of the events around the Google Books case, the pros and cons, and what the next steps may be. A universal library would be amazing, but it also opens a huge can of worms for all other forms of media - something we all definitely need to pay attention to.

Read the full article here.

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