Tuesday, July 28, 2009

An Open Workshop at Harvard Law School: 7/31/09; Alternative Approaches to Open Digital Libraries in the Shadow of the Google Book Search Settlement

An Open Workshop at Harvard Law School: 7/31/09; Alternative Approaches to Open Digital Libraries in the Shadow of the Google Book Search Settlement: Sponsored by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, the Harvard Law School Library, and Professors Charles Nesson, John Palfrey and Phil Malone:

"Scope and Goals

The proposed Google Book Search settlement creates the opportunity for unprecedented access by the public, scholars, libraries and others to a digital library containing millions of books assembled by major research libraries. But the settlement is controversial, in large part because this access is limited in major ways: instead of being truly open, this new digital library will be controlled by a single company, Google, and a newly created Book Rights Registry consisting of representatives of authors and publishers; it will include millions of so-called “orphan works” that cannot legally be included in any competing digitization and access effort, and it will be available to readers only in the United States. It need not have been this way.

This workshop seeks to bring a fresh, unique perspective to a complex and widely debated topic. It will focus not on the specific merits and demerits of the settlement itself, or the particular antitrust and privacy and other objections that have been raised. Instead, it will examine the idea of possible alternative universes and offer specific proposals for scenarios that may arise whether or not the settlement is approved. What can libraries, or universities, or non-profits, or Congress, do in the current landscape? And how might these possibilities help us to define a better world than the one that we have today and, more importantly, than the one that will exist if the Google settlement is approved in its current form? Regardless of what happens with respect to the Settlement, what alternative possibilities could lead to a richer, more open and better information ecosystem than the one we have today or might have tomorrow with the Settlement?

By exploring these alternatives, this workshop seeks, in the end, to help inform the debate over the Settlement and its terms and to illuminate some of the key policy considerations that are at stake. Its ultimate goal is to develop a series of options and proposals that could improve on the status quo in novel ways.

Proposed Topics

Here are some tentative topics for beginning discussion at the workshop. We welcome feedback on these suggestions and encourage you to contribute your own proposals. We'll choose several of the topics to be incorporated into our agenda...

What might truly open access to orphan works look like
What might a truly “open” digital collection created by major libraries look like
What might a truly “open” global library look like
What would a truly “open” digital library look like
What might truly open access to and use of an online digital library look like
What might online, digital publishing and access look like going forward
Are all of these the same? Within the open environment what is closed?
Intellectual Freedom = Unrestricted Access to Information + No Monitoring of Use (MarcEPIC)
Payment of processing (author) fees to publishers of journals and monographs
How could the proposed Google Books settlement change the landscape for alternative projects like the Internet Archive? How should such projects adapt so as to remain a viable alternative? "

Post-deadline Submissions

How can we ensure that digital libraries maintain the same privacy protections that non-digital libraries have worked hard to build and preserve?


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