Friday, July 3, 2009

Google Shouldn't Become A For Profit Library

Yes the world has gone digital and yes, that means that books and newspapers are also being served in that format. But, Google's plan to digitize every book and serve them to the public for a fee, may not sit well with the owners of that content. And while a settlement was reached four years ago between Google and publishers, the Justice Department believes there is more than meets the eye. "In a letter to the federal judge charged with reviewing the settlement, the Justice Department said it was reviewing concerns that the agreement could violate the Sherman Antitrust Act."

My kids each have a library card, although frankly we spend more time at the local Barnes and Noble than at our public library. Still, I view the library as a public institution that shouldn't be corrupted by big business. It would be one thing if this was a project done by libraries across the nation, another when done by Google with a profit motive in mind. Literature should be preserved and saved in any relevant form, and available for the public at large. Our forefathers created the Library as a means to open this access to all.

"Antitrust experts said the letter was the latest indication that the Justice Department is seriously examining complaints that the agreement would grant Google the exclusive right to profit from millions of so-called 'orphan works,' books that are out of print and whose authors or rights holders are unknown or cannot be found." How will it play out; more to come this Fall.

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