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Re: Questions about Google Books settlement

Some interesting thoughts here, including this among others:

Yet another question is what will happen to limitations and 
exceptions to copyright typically granted to libraries. These 
exceptions depend on the works not being commercially available, 
but what if increasingly all works are available for commercial 
use, as in the Google case, von Lohmann asked.

Indeed, it would appear that the settlement provides strong 
incentives for publishers to retrieve rights to their 
out-of-print works--or to resurrect them again in print if rights 
had not reverted--so as to make them "commercially available" 
again under the settlement's definition, which arguably allows 
availability in POD form to qualify (especially if the POD 
edition can be purchased through an online retailer like Amazon). 
Google is providing yet another reason for publishers to take 
advantage of the "long tail" and extend it backward in time, 
which will--as von Lohmann observes--make it more difficult for 
librarians and other users to apply "fair use" and Section 108 
privileges to make reproductions of substantial parts of these 

This not exactly the same as recovering genuinely "orphan works," 
where even the publishers don't know who owns the rights, but 
there is a significant number of out-of-print, in-copyright works 
that have been languishing simply owing to the economic decisions 
that the older printing technologies obliged publishers to make, 
which digital printing has rendered unnecessary any longer.

Sandy Thatcher
Penn State University Press

>New, William. Questions Raised About Google Library Project's
>Impact On Knowledge Access. Intellectual Property Watch. 26
>November 2008.
>"What has been heralded as a breakthrough in the digitisation of
>human knowledge is also raising questions about how most humans
>will access that knowledge, according to an expert in copyright
>and the public interest."
>Full text at:
>Bernie Sloan
>Sora Associates
>Bloomington, IN