US Google Book Settlement: What are your views?

We have set up a Write to Reply site to gather views from the community on the Google book settlement and its implications for UK higher and further education.

From the JISC site: The US Google Book Settlement represents a major watershed in the digitisation and access to millions of books, including in copyright publications and therefore the rediscovery of a huge proportion of the world’s knowledge. Effectively it enables democratisation of access to information by making books available digitally to new audiences supported by fully searchable tools. It also provides a solution for out-of-print works. The settlement is supported by a balanced revenue share model with authors and other rights holders.

However, the settlement and its potential ramifications have sparked not only global support, but also controversy and opposition. Recently, the US Justice Department has urged the US New Court to reject the settlement because of the anti-trust and copyright issues it raises – not least because it would give Google the sole authority for books whose copyright holder could not be found (‘orphan works’) and provide inadequate protection to foreign rights holders.

Rachel Bruce, programme director at JISC said: “We are interested in gathering views from colleges and universities in the UK in order to help inform JISC’s approach to these issues, both in relation to the Google Book Settlement itself and more broadly. We can assume, even if the current US Google Book Settlement is not accepted by the Court on 7 October 2009*, that we will see subsequent settlements that affect UK rights holders and have an impact on access to information for education and research.”

“This is your chance to share your views about the Google Book Settlement and your response will also help JISC understand any potential implications associated with any possible future European settlement. We are interested to not only hear about your opinions leading up to the hearing but also what you think about the verdict.”

To share your views please respond via the Write to Reply website by 26 October 2009.

Thanks to Joss Winn  and the JISCPress project for setting this consultation up for us.

* This date may be subject to change due to a recent appeal to delay from Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers