Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Google and Book Scanning

Coming out of my comprehensive examination preparation last week, I had to reach out to friends to figure out what the deal is with Google and book scanning.

If you don't know already, Google is attempting to scan in the contents of libraries for various reasons. (I don't know them all, and I am not sure anyone does truly). Here is the issue.

Google is scanning in some copyrighted books, along with works in the public domain. How has Google not been shut down for violating copyright? There are certain provisions in the Copyright Act for libraries, Section 108. I would call attention to this section as it seems that Google is violating the copyright arrangements since Google is neither a public library, a non-commercial entity, not open to the public, nor has the format of the book become obsolete.

Thought I do not know what Google plans to do with the vast amount of information it has already scanned, the section I call attention to seem to show that it is not protected and is infringing on copyright. Google has recognized this in some ways by attempting to reach agreements with publishers.

Joyfully, my comprehensive examination did not have a question about Google book scanning or the copyright implications. Though I would have loved to take a stab at answering the question.

In the library profession, it seems there are three facets to the Google book scanning situation. First, is the group of librarians that love the idea. It will keep libraries relevant. How will it keep libraries relevant if patrons can simply go to Google.com and find all the books.. Second, is the group that Google is evil and stealing away from the public, while also breaking the law. I somewhat agree, but by virtue of this being my blog, I am in a third group. Those who see that the Google book scanning project has issues pertaining to libraries, copyright, and various other issues.

So I am interested in seeing Google move forward, only to see how the situation develops for all those involved.

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