This, from the BBC: the Association of American University Presses (AAUP), which represents 125 non-profit-making academic book and journal publishers, has accused Google of infringing copyright if it puts university libraries online. This will, the AAUP claims, have financially troubling consequences and could undermine sales of works in which publishers own the rights.

Last December Google announced deals with four leading universities, Oxford, Harvard, Stanford and Michigan. At a cost of $200m (£110m) Google aims to put 15 million volumes online from four top US libraries by 2015. It will also scan in out-of-copyright books from the UK's Oxford University. The idea is to make millions of important but previously inaccessible texts available to researchers everywhere.

The AAUP seeks clarification of 16 questions and claims the book-scanning scheme "appears to involve systematic infringement of copyright on a massive scale". Its members, who depend on book sales and other licensing agreements for the majority of their revenue, are worried that if users can get the information they want from its books by searching them online, they won't buy them. Further opposition has come from France, where there are fears that the Google project will enhance the dominance of the English language and of Anglo-Saxon ways of thinking. France and several other European countries recently got European Union backing for a separate book-scanning project for works not in English.

The IPKat is delighted at Google's plan, having suffered enough at the hands of several publishers and librarians over the years. Merpel's pleased too: she recalls how the introduction of printing threw 30,000 scribes out of work in Venice alone, and remembers the squeals of outrage from English publishers when copyright was introduced in 1710 in the Act of Anne. No-one has a divine right to make money out of books that are out of copyright anyway.

Greedy publishers here
The Act of Anne 1710 here
GO FOR IT, GOOGLE GO FOR IT, GOOGLE Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, May 25, 2005 Rating: 5


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