In this lecture, I'll be discussing the controversy over the Google Books Library Project, focusing in particular on issues relevant to libraries and librarians.
This lecture has five main sections. First, I will give a brief overview of the Google Book Search project, what its component parts are, and what access it actually allows to the books in its collection. Second, I will discuss my own experiences working on the project at the University of Michigan, and how my views on the project evolved because of those experiences.Third, I will present four of the most dominant perspectives that have been voiced in the debate over the Library Project, and look at who tends to hold each perspective, and why.Fourth, I will raise some of the pros and cons of the project for library partners - some of the issues a library might consider when thinking about partnering with Google - or not.And finally, I will speak briefly about the Proposed Settlement agreement in the lawsuit being pursued against Google by the Author's Guild and the Association of American Publishers. I won't go into too much detail here, but I will provide some links out to the huge amount of information about this issue available on the web.And, before I proceed, I should make the traditional disclaimer: any opinions I express are my own, and do not represent the position of any of my employers, past or present. Also, I am not a lawyer, and nothing I say should be construed as legal advice.
The Google Book Search project, though it looks like a uniform entity to the end-user, is actually composed of two very different sub-projects: the publisher project, in which Google contracts with book publishers to host content to which the publishers own the rights, and the library project, in which Google contracts with libraries scan and index all or part of their book collections.
The publisher project is essentially a business arrangement between publishers who want more visibility for their catalogs, and Google who wants to index as many books as it can. Some of these books are scanned by Google, but I suspect more of them have digital images contributed by the publishers. There has really been no controversy over the publisher project, since everything is done by consent and contract, and frankly it's such a win-win - publishers' books get more exposure, and Google gets to show a greater percentage of these books than they would according to fair use.And in fact, several of the first publishers to sign up for the publisher project were also among the first to sound the rallying cry to sue Google over the library project - which just shows how different, and differently *perceived* the two parts of Google Book Search really are.
The library project, unlike the publisher project, does not involve authors or publishers in the contract process. Instead, Google contracts directly with libraries who own the books to scan all or part of their collections.One of the main reasons that Google pursued this strategy was a desire for comprehensiveness. They - and others - have estimated that only 10% of books fall into the in-copyright and in-print category covered by the publisher project, while only 20% of existing books have fallen into the public domain. That leaves 70% of books that are not in print, but presumably in copyright - and for many of the books in this 70%, it is unclear who, if anyone, holds the rights.It would have been legally uncomplicated to scan the 10% owned by publishers and the 20% in the public domain, but since Google wanted to scan every book ever published, they took a more fraught approach, where they would scan and index all the books they could get their hands on, but would provide no access or very limited access to those whose rights status was unclear. Authors and publishers could opt out of the program - and they still can - but by default, Google would scan everything the libraries were willing to give them.The library project, unlike the publisher project, does not involve authors or publishers in the contract process. Instead, Google contracts directly with libraries who own the books to scan all or part of their collections.One of the main reasons that Google pursued this strategy was a desire for comprehensiveness. They - and others - have estimated that only 10% of books fall into the in-copyright and in-print category covered by the publisher project, while only 20% of existing books have fallen into the public domain. That leaves 70% of books that are not in print, but presumably in copyright - and for many of the books in this 70%, it is unclear who, if anyone, holds the rights.It would have been legally uncomplicated to scan the 10% owned by publishers and the 20% in the public domain, but since Google wanted to scan every book ever published, they took a more fraught approach, where they would scan and index all the books they could get their hands on, but would provide no access or very limited access to those whose rights status was unclear. Authors and publishers could opt out of the program - and they still can - but by default, Google would scan everything the libraries were willing to give them.
OK, so you have publishers providing certain kinds of access on the one hand, and libraries providing different kinds of access on the other. So what does this end up looking like?Well, it boils down to four basic views: full view, limited view, snippet view, and a new view where no preview is offered at all.
This is what a full view book page looks like. Full view is only offered for books in the public domain or whose author or publisher has given permission to show the entire book. In full view, you can search and read the entire book online, or you can download the book as a PDF and do what you want with it. A couple things to notice on this page: to the right, at the top, there is a link to the “About this book” page. “About this book” essentially shows an enhanced version of a catalog record, and also tells the user who provided the book to Google – so, which library, or which publisher or author. Also, lower down, there are several links to buy the book, and below those, a link to “Find this book in a library.” The find in a library link takes you to a WorldCat search that will show what libraries have the book, and if you provide your location, will tell you which of those libraries are nearest to you.
This is a limited preview page. This is how most, if not all, of the books provided under the publisher program appear – no library books are presented this way. Generally the limited previews show something between a few pages and a few chapters of a book, depending on the specific agreement between Google and the rightsholder. The “About the book” page often includes more information, like synopses, for limited preview books, and all the purchase links are still there, but so is the link to find it in a library. Down in the lower right hand corner, you can also see which publisher provided this particular book, and link to other works from that publisher.
This is what a “snippet view” page looks like. Snippet view is used for books that are still under copyright or whose copyright status is unclear, where Google has not procured permission to show anything beyond what would be permitted by fair use. The two strips in the center show two of the places where the search term appears in the book , surrounded by a tiny bit of context. If you search the same term over again, it will show you the same selections, so that it’s not possible to paste together the whole book. At the bottom of the page, below what’s shown in this view, it shows which library the book was scanned from, and you can see that the purchase and find in a library links still appear on the page, on the left-hand side, though the purchase links go to used-book vendors rather than places like Barnes and Noble.The books subject to snippet view have been the main source of controversy for the project. It’s not so much about the snippets themselves, though – even the publishers tend to agree that the snippets are fair use – it’s the fact that Google scanned the books without permission in the first place that raised hackles.
The no-preview available page is a new addition to the menu of views, which I think is tied to the settlement negotiations. It also applies to books in copyright, for which no permissions have been granted, but doesn’t show even snippets. This view was designed for particular types of books, like dictionaries or compilations of haiku poetry, where a snippet might reveal an entire work, or at least enough to create a problematic alternative to purchasing or finding the book elsewhere.
Now that you all know a little bit about the project,
To a great extent, it depends on the specific contractI will speak to the University of Michigan’s contract – which admittedly, is one of the best for the libraries involved
Google Books Lecture
The Google Books Library Project<br />Personal Experiences, Public Perspectives, and Issues Relevant to Libraries<br />Elisabeth Jones <br />LIS 520, Winter 2010<br />
Outline<br />The 50¢ tour of Google Book<br />My experiences with the project<br />A Spectrum of Perspectives<br />What’s in it for libraries? What’s not?<br />The Proposed Settlement<br />
Google Book Search: the 50¢ tour<br /><ul><li>Two projects, really
Back in 2004…<br />I’m at Northwestern University Library, Department of Collection Management<br />Applying to Library Schools<br />Google Book Search (then Google Print) announced<br />5 library partners: Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, NYPL, and U. of Michigan<br />
Go Blue!<br />Fall 2005: Michigan<br />Working at the Graduate Library reference desk<br />One of my first classes: Intellectual Property and Information Law<br />…and then, the lawsuits<br />
In the Fleming Building<br />UM Media Relations and Public Affairs<br />“Google Library Partnership Research Intern”<br />My domain: <br />Non-legal challenges to the project<br />New media (both directions)<br />Major piece early on: Mary Sue Coleman’s speech to the Association of American Publishers<br />
Four Perspectives<br />In Simplified – or Even Simplistic – Form<br />
Perspective 1: “Google books is theft!”<br />Who has it:<br />Association of American Publishers <br />Author’s Guild<br />(Also miscellaneous others, but those are the ones that sued)<br />What it is:<br />By scanning millions of books that are still under copyright, without asking the permission of the copyright holders, Google is violating those copyrights and essentially stealing money out of the pocket of honest, hardworking authors.<br />Pat Schroeder, former head of the AAP. Her view: “Not only is Google trying to rewrite copyright law, it is also crushing creativity.”<br />
Perspective 2: “Google Books will Save* the World**!”*or at least change**or authorship, publishing, education, equal access…<br />Who has it:<br />Some of Google’s library partners<br />Enthusiastic fans, in academia and elsewhere<br />Google itself (most of the time)<br />What it is:<br />As a searchable, globally-available, free-to-the user digital collection of the world’s books, Google Book has the potential to carry the information they contain to underserved populations, to aid in decentralized preservation of that information, and to generate uses for books and their contents never before considered.<br />Cory Doctorow, author and blogger: GBS “promises to save writers' and publishers' asses by putting their books into the index of works that are visible to searchers who get all their information from the Internet.”<br />
Perspective 3: “Google Books is an American/Anglophone Imperialist plot!”<br />Who has it:<br />Mainly Europeans interested in cultural heritage – and among those, mostly the French<br />Has fallen out of style somewhat as Google has taken on more international partners<br />What it is:<br />Because it is the project of an American corporation, whose library partners are predominantly American and British, Google Book Search will serve to entrench Anglo-American cultural hegemony worldwide.<br />Jean-Noël Jeanneney, French historian and politician: <br />
Perspective 4: “Google Books is actually a pretty cool idea, but it endangers _______.*”*(a) information freedom, (b) privacy, (c) public institutions, (d) legal procedure, (e) all of the above, (f) other<br />Who has it:<br />Many authors, academics, librarians, and legal scholars – including me<br />What it is:<br />Fundamentally, scanning all the world’s books is a good – even amazing and world-changing – idea. However, proceeding with such a radical project without due consideration to its potential ethical, social, and political implications risks creating a brave new world in which none of us want to live.<br />It should be noted that many who might fall into this category still vehemently disagree about the project and its implications.<br />Siva Vaidhyanathan, Media & Communication Scholar: “We have focused on quantity and convenience at the expense of the richness and serendipity of the full library experience. We are making a tremendous mistake.”<br />
So you’ve got a library…<br />…would you share it with Google?<br />
So what’s in it for the libraries?<br />Fundamental Library Mission <br />Connect users with information<br />Money<br />Digitization is expensive, Google will do it for free<br />Time<br />Have the whole collection scanned in years rather than decades<br />Input<br />Take part in the ongoing dialogue between Google and partner libraries about project direction, image and metadata quality, etc.<br />LOCKSS<br />Redundant digital storage of the library’s information (though not its artifacts)<br /> Publicity/Prestige<br />Two ways: <br />Through involvement itself <br />Library name appears on the book-viewing page when a scan is from your library<br />
Why libraries might say“thanks, but no thanks”(an incomplete list)<br />Insufficient Reward (contracts vary greatly)<br />Objection to certain aspects of the project or settlement, especially:<br />The fact that the initiative is private, not public<br />The level of control over digitized materials that Google would have relative to library partners<br />Concept of users interfacing with the “library of the future” through Google<br />Image quality and/or metadata problems<br />Failure to adequately protect user privacy<br />
The Proposed Settlement<br />Allows Google to show more of in-copyright books than just snippets<br />Allows for sale of digital books to individuals, and subscriptions to institutions<br />Creates a rights clearinghouse called the Book Rights Registry for dealing with payments from these sales<br />Allows for public access terminals to be placed in public libraries<br />Heinously complex!<br />Resources:<br />The Public Index: http://thepublicindex.org/<br />ARL’s Guides for the Perplexed (&other resources): http://www.arl.org/pp/ppcopyright/google/index.shtml<br />Official Settlement website: http://www.googlebooksettlement.com/<br />Pamela Samuelson (on the legal issues): http://people.ischool.berkeley.edu/~pam/<br />