The Google Print Library Project is going to hold off scanning books which are still under copyright until November. More over at Wired. This information was available on the official Google Blog [according to another Google blog] and quoted in the BBC article, and elsewhere, but the post itself is no longer there. Curious. [update: the post wasn't missing/deleted, it was being update with new info, it's back]
Why is the Google/UMich contract being posted in the first place? Doesn’t it say CONFIDENTIAL all over it? Well, if you’re a public university, you can’t just make confidential agreements without them being subject to freedom of information laws. More on the Google Watch site, and a little more over at the LibraryLaw blog in the form of a letter from the guy who filed the FOIA request.
If you’re curious just what libraries have agreed to with their Google Print arrangements, here’s one contract [pdf] that is available online [linked from here, which is linked from here, yes, I was surprised too]. In short, it outlines what can, can’t, and must be done with the Google Digital Copy and the University of Michigan’s Digital Copy of the scanned information. In short, the digital copies of public domain works are not public domain. I’m sure no one is suprised by this, but the phrase “land grab” does come to mind as I read this contract. Of particular note:
- UM needs to find a way to restrict automated access, downloading of its content, or others making its content available for commercial purposes. This is more restrictive than public domain.
- Further UM agrees to restrict use of its content to “persons having a need to access such materials” and makes particular mention to those materials not being “disseminated to the public at large” this m ay be nothing serious, or it may be
- Google is a third party beneficiary of any agreement UM enters into with regards to the UM Digital Copy and any cooperative web service agreement such as the Digital Library Federation
- Google agrees to always make searching and showing search results of the content free.
It’s fascinating reading. I am certainly not a lawyer or copyright expert, I would be very interested in what other people have to say about this.
Interesting wrinkle in the Google Print Library project as it’s being worked out at Harvard Library. Publishers think Google needs to ask their permission before it copies their works, even if they’re in the public domain.
“The law does not permit wholesale copying (which is what digitisation is) by a commercial organisation of works that are still in copyright,” she wrote. “It is also illegal to make those works available digitally once they have been copied.”
Morris wrote that Google needs to obtain permission from publishers before using their work. While she wrote that it may be impractical to ask every publisher, Google should ask permission through collective licensing organizations.