Google Books : Liberating the World's Information, or Appropriating It?

TitleGoogle Books : Liberating the World's Information, or Appropriating It?
Publication TypeCase Study
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsStromberg, E, Sheth, R
Secondary AuthorsNorman, W
Corporate AuthorsKenan Institute for Ethics, Duke University,
Pagination24 p.
PublisherKenan Institute for Ethics, Duke University
Publication Languageeng
Keywordsbusiness , COPYRIGHT , Google , Intellectual , INTELLECTUAL freedom , Intellectual Property and Patents , LIBRARY , Library and Information Science
Abstractn 2002, Google unveiled its plan to make all the books in the great libraries of the world available to anyone, anywhere with an Internet connection. To some, this was a grand liberating vision, unlocking the knowledge of humankind for the benefi t of all. But to those owning copyrights over these books, this grand liberating vision looked more like grand larceny. In 2008, Google reached a landmark settlement in a lawsuit brought by the Author’s Guild (AG) and American Association of Publishers (AAP). Google agreed to pay $125 million to the AG and AAP and implement certain restrictions on their project. In return, they would gain non-exclusive rights to digitize copyrighted works of the authors and publishers represented by AG and AAP. This allowed Google to proceed with its library project in which it had offered to digitize library holdings of major libraries at no cost. The agreement also gave Google the right to include the full text pages in its search services, thereby increasing the potential use of its search services and benefi ting Google through additional advertisement sales. The case and settlement raise a number of ethical and political issues. Do the benefits to society accruing from timely digitization outweigh some of the potential risks and costs? What are the costs, risks, and benefi ts to the public from such a project? Are there reasons why governments and regulators should worry about a private arrangement to control access to such a massive proportion of the world’s creative and intellectual property?
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