Harvard Bails Out On Google Book Scanning Deal; Disagrees With Settlement Terms

from the and-here-come-the-problems dept

I'm on the record as being opposed to Google's decision to cave in to authors and publishers with its book scanning project. Many people I normally agree with have taken the other side, claiming that Google's agreement keeps the company out of court and creates a win-win solution. However, I still think, over the long term, this agreement is quite problematic -- and we're already seeing it at the margins. For example, Harvard has now dropped out of the scanning program, noting that it teamed up with Google because the program was going to make the library content freely and widely available. Yet, the settlement will impose charges and will greatly limit the usefulness of the library's collection. From Harvard's standpoint, this goes against what the library stands for.

I would argue that it goes directly against what Google used to stand for as well. Rather than making the world's information accessible and findable, this move is an attempt to lock up the world's information in Google's proprietary format, so that Google can charge people for it. It sets in place a forced business model that actually diminishes the potential usefulness and value of books, and sets a bad precedent for just about everyone else. It's still difficult to see any positives from this deal. It's good to see Harvard stand up for what's right, rather than giving in.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: book scanning, harvard
Companies: google

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Bob, 4 Nov 2008 @ 5:22am

    A Project gone bad

    This is what I hate about our litigating society. Someone comes up with a novel idea, no not novel, EARTH SHATTERING idea, and people start to see $$$$$$$.

    This is one project that I would whole-heartedly say should be given Immunity from Litigation by the government. Why? This project isn't about GOOGLE or YAHOO or MICROSOFT. This project goes deeper then any one Corporation, this project is something that is wholly beneficial to society, and in as much, should continue without abatement.

    GOOGLE and the other participants aren't looking to make a PROFIT, hell, they aren't looking to BREAK EVEN, they are doing something that just needs to be done and doing without charge. Eventually those books will be so old that their pages will turn to dust, and tell me, just how will you recover them at that point?

    Everything ever written should get scanned, EVERYTHING, even the crap that turns our stomachs and makes our blood boil. We should be reminded daily what FREE SPEECH really means.

    Not only that, but every piece of Music ever composed should be digitalized and put into a conservatory for ALL to hear. Every piece of ART should be photographed and put online so everyone can see it, at least Virtually.

    Our WORLD needs to come together and recognize that the education of our Children won't be complete unless and until we grant them access to all these wonderful items, and we, as a Society, should do all we can to make that happen.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.