Google Digitisation Project Thrown Out of Court

A Federal Court judge in New York has rejected an agreement between Google, publishers and a group of about 40 libraries. Google has been digitising books in these libraries - which include Stanford University and the University of Chicago - with a view to making them viewable and searchable online. The books Google has been digitising include out-of-print books and ‘orphan’ books - books still in copyright but whose authors are of unknown whereabouts. When publishers objected to the digitisation of these orphan books, Google offered to set up a fund of $125 million from which the authors of these books could derive income. This led to objections from two sources.

The judge agreed with the American Authors Guild that the Google agreement with publishers impeded the rights of authors to negotiate with publishers. The judge also agreed with Amazon and Microsoft that the agreement impeded their access to the books. The New York Times has a good run-down. Listen to National Public Radio’s All Things Considered story. Background articles on LA Times:

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