Google Books settlement

There’s been a lot written about the pending settlement of Author’s Guild v Google (see Google’s settlement site too). If you want an exhaustive list of reactions, search Peter Suber’s Open Access News for “google settlement“. The settlement is back in the limelight because the deadline for is approaching, and the first high-profile response has come in, an objection by the Open Content Alliance, the folks who run the Internet Archive.

One of the most thoughtful pieces comes from Pamela Samuelson, who’s preprinted “Legally Speaking: The Dead Souls of the Google Booksearch Settlement” on O’Reilly Radar. (The essay will appear in a future CACM.) Not only does Samuelson provide a good summary of the settlement’s implications for several areas of IP, she stakes out a thoughtful critique of the near-monopoly power concentrated in Google by the settlement. Make sure to read the comments; Samuelson is keeping up with them admirably.

For me, the most problematic part of the settlement regards the capture of orphan works. I was hoping to see action from Congress, pushing orphans toward the public domain. Even though a Google-administered program to publish these works on demand would probably work well, I see it as another expansion of copyright. We’ve had enough of those lately, thanks very much.

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