[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

RE: Google Print - Peter Brantley in Chronicle of Higher Ed

I'm thinking that Peter has a lot more nuanced argument/analysis 
than was represented in the Chronicle, so I don't want to take 
the reported comments about orphan works--or even the burdens of 
pulling and returning books--too literally.  That said, Ann is 
right that making money off of orphan works should be no more 
objectionable than making money off of clearly established public 
domain works.  Libraries spend a great deal of money each year on 
works in the public domain because someone has presumably added 
value to them.  Libraries could, of course, organize themselves 
to do some of this work themselves rather than paying commercial 
vendors for a finished product with limited use rights, but 
that's not a free lunch either.  There are the real costs of 
equipment, staff, conversion vendors, and hosting--oh, and 
pulling/pushing books on and off shelves.  There are the more 
abstract opportunity costs that Peter mentions, assuming that our 
libraries have some other pressing things to do with their time 
and money.  And, let's not forget the costs of coordination like 
funding non-profit do-gooders (sometimes do-nothings) such as 
DLF, Ithaka, or my own CIC that need to mobilize the 
community--or some subset thereof--around a common purpose, with 
consensus about standards, access and funding models.  Needless 
to say, this hasn't proved to be so easy, so we continue to 
suffer market penetration in areas where the community could, in 
theory, get more for less through cooperation.  This is a lot 
bigger issue to sort out than anything visited upon us by Google 
Book Search-- the fault here is not in the stars but in 
ourselves, as someone once said in a public domain play.

Mark Sandler
Director, Center for Library Initiatives
Committee on Institutional Cooperation
1819 South Neil, Suite D
Champaign, IL 61820-7271
Phone: 734 764-1444   Fax: 734 764-6849

The Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) is a consortium 
of 12 world-class research universities, advancing their missions 
by sharing expertise, leveraging campus resources and 
collaborating on innovative programs.