April 4, 2009
Google book plan facing opposition
U.S. Internet search engine giant Google should not be allowed nearly exclusive rights to out-of-print books for its online publishing venture, critics say.
Academics and public interest groups alike are threatening to file legal briefs to block a lawsuit settlement that may give Google the rights to millions of out-of-print texts whose publishing rights are owned by unknown or missing sources, The New York Times reported Saturday.
Harvard University Library head Robert Darnton said if the settlement of the lawsuit brought by publishers and authors is approved, it would give Google a monopoly regarding research library texts.
Open Content Alliance founder Brewster Kahle said the settlement, which still needs court appeal to be finalized, allows for the rewriting of copyright rules without proper legislation.
They are doing an end run around the legislative process, Kahle said of Google.
Google attorney Alexander Macgillivray defended his client's efforts, telling the Times the publishing plan will increase the availability of hard-to-locate books for the general public.