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.
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Filed Under: book scanning, harvard
Companies: google


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  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.


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