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Google v. the Web?

I know that the issue of monograph publishing and the 
sustainability of university presses has been an oft-discussed 
topic on this list.

I'd be interested in Sandy's and other list members' reactions to 
the question of whether academic authors and publishers might not 
do better that the Google settlement route by taking the open 
access route for scholarly monographs.

Case in point.  James Boyle's new book has just been released 
under a Creative Commons license by Yale University Press. 

According to publicly available sales statistics, it's doing 
quite well.

According to Amazon, yesterday, its Sales Rank was: #3,103 in 
Books (See Bestsellers in Books) Popular in these categories: 
(What's this?)

#1 in   Books > Professional & Technical > Law > Intellectual Property
#1 in   Books > Nonfiction > Law > Intellectual Property
#4 in   Books > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology > Culture

So, is that an aberration?  If so, why?  If not, why doesn't this 
point the way to a more profitable future for the public and 
university presses?


Michael W. Carroll
Visiting Professor of Law
American University, Washington College of Law
4801 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20016
(202) 274-4047 (voice)
(202) 730-4756 (fax)

Research papers: http://law.bepress.com/michael_carroll/
blog: http://www.carrollogos.org/
See also www.creativecommons.org
From: owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu [owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu] On Behalf Of Sandy Thatcher [sgt3@psu.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, December 02, 2008 10:44 PM
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: 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