Questions for the Google books monopoly

This week, the Google Book Search team and its partners are embarking on a nationwide propaganda tour. Events in New York, Washington, DC, Silicon Valley and Boston are designed to ease the growing fears over what the Google Books settlement proposal means for libraries, schools, students, authors, and readers of all stripes.

At the Internet Archive, we encourage people to listen to what Google Books has to say with a healthy dose of skepticism, and specifically, to ask the company and its partners about the following troubling issues:

Orphan Books: This settlement gives Google exclusive rights to scan, digitize and publish millions of orphan works, with a release from legal liability for copyright infringement. Google claims that anyone can scan these books — but no one else has the same legal protections that Google has. Would the parties to the settlement amend the settlement to extend legal liability indemnification to any and all digitizers of orphan works? If not, why not leave orphans out of the settlement and compel a legislative solution instead of striking a private deal in a District Court?

The Book Rights Registry Monopoly: The settlement creates what is effectively a monopoly in the Book Rights Registry. The Books Rights Registry will be a privately-held, privately-administered exclusive marketplace where digitized books are priced. Why should this function be handed over to a monopoly controlled through the Authors Guild and AAP? Why can’t there be an open framework that allows for more than one registry – giving rights holders and others a choice? For domain names, consumers and businesses have a choice of where to register a domain name – creating competition. Would Google and its monopoly partners endorse an open registry system?

Privacy: Despite repeated requests, Google has declined to give any details about what privacy controls it would put in place on its Book Search product. Will Google track the books that we are reading and make this information available to sell advertising against it? Will Google refuse to share information with the government about what books people are reading, as libraries routinely do? Will Google even publish a robust privacy policy on its Book Search product before the settlement issue is resolved?

More and more people are recognizing the Google Book Settlement for what it really is — an insider deal cut between powerful, private interests that creates a profit-making monopoly over the greatest source of our culture’s common knowledge. We urge everyone who cares about books to come to their rescue.

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23 Responses to “Questions for the Google books monopoly”

  1. Glyn Moody (glynmoody) 's status on Friday, 31-Jul-09 11:59:35 UTC - Says:

    […] […]

  2. Google Book Settlement Link Dump Awesomeness at Says:

    […] Open Content Alliance: Questions for the Google books monopoly […]

  3. Minerva Says:

    Do you know where and when these talks were held? I can’t seem to find any information about it.

  4. ResourceShelf » Blog Archive » Open Content Alliance: Questions for the Google Books Monopoly Says:

    […] Brantley from the OCA Writes: At the Internet Archive, we encourage people to listen to what Google Books has to say with a […]

  5. Google Books: ¿una biblioteca digital al margen de la ley? « Quintus Innova Says:

    […] Questions for Google Books Monopoly, por Open Content Alliance (The Internet Archive, etc) […]

  6. Andrés Says:

    Google books monopoly?.. that’s not the real problem… the problem is …. you hate competence 😉

  7. crazyburns Says:

    How is this a monopoly? Everywhere I’ve read says that this is a non-exclusive deal, yet you say it is exclusive. I see nothing that prevents another company from coming in an competing. And one of the biggest leaders in the fight against Google is Amazon, who currently have one of the largest eBook markets out there. Google is wanting to use an open format, whereas Amazon locks you into using their eBook reader and their proprietary format (and then deleting books you purchased off of your device without your consent).

  8. Some thing’s you just can’t Google for answers « The Tech Diva Says:

    […] So let’s look at this from another side today, the side of the librarian and of the e-book consumer.  Economist article Tome Raiders, Google is claiming that “rather than suppressing competition in the emerging market for electronic books, the agreement would increase it by offering a web-based alternative to expensive proprietary systems such as Amazon’s Kindle.”   In essence, Google is aiming to put Amazon or Microsoft out of business, but inadvertently also aiming to build the world’s biggest online library.  This second aim could be the more detrimental outcome of this settlement.  After all, isn’t the whole point of a library is that it’s free to the public.  Libraries are pretty much one of the first open source institutions our culture has had.  Part of the reason why this is getting no play in terms of news action is that the Open Content Alliance is much smaller than the other big boxes and self proclaimed  Authors Guild.  And actually, the OCA is not all too thrilled with the Authors Guild these days. […]

  9. Limited Gruenden Says:

    I do love Google Books!

  10. Chiptuning Box Says:

    I like the way you have expressed the whole matter. I have learned some good points from this post.

  11. Fussbodenheizung Says:

    My view as an author of books is that the complete Google books should be forbidden. How could it be that copyrights are ignored? Copies are only allowed in compliance with the author. why should it be different for Google?

  12. BMW Chiptuning Says:

    Nice Post! Thank you for share!

  13. Atze Says:

    Google and her monopoly in the world it´s the great shit. But never can stop them.

  14. Chiptuning VW Says:

    Has read this Blog with pleasure. Am enthusiastically from the information. Soon am again here. Thank you

  15. web tasarımı Says:

    Love it. I equate this to the same thing as cookie based advertising.

  16. Jerry Sheu Says:

    Interessting Post. Thanks

  17. Jerry Sheu Says:

    Intereesting Post, Thanks

  18. de_larke Says:

    Great work,I agree with what you say, I like your blog, is very informative.

  19. manu Says:

    very much interesant, good search – I have learned some good points from this post.

  20. Royal Says:

    again one more hidden monoply from Google. no-one surprised at all.

  21. gummi muschi Says:

    Do you know where and when these talks were held? I can’t seem to find any information about it.

  22. Kai Shun Says:

    Google and Facebook will monopolize the world – hope the future restrikts them in some parts…

  23. Borsa Says:

    Thanks for the post,
    I started to follow your blog posts, very interesting