Sunday, August 9, 2009

Op-Ed: Is Google playing by the book?; Christian Science Monitor, 8/7/09

Op-Ed: Christian Science Monitor; Is Google playing by the book?:

The search giant is on its way to becoming the world's digital library, but a private monopoly raises questions.:

"The idea of digitizing the world's written record and making it freely available to everyone is exhilarating. The ability of a student in Alabama or Albania to have access to the contents of the world's libraries online at their fingertips, for example, is a powerful concept and just one of the ways a free and open Web can lift humanity.

But history shows that when a company – even one with talent and good intentions – acts like a monopoly, it is subject to abuses. Despite the potentially monumental effects of this settlement, it has had little public scrutiny. Yet it needs a rigorous examination.

If it stands, the agreement must include long-term safeguards that allow public access to the full collection at reasonable cost, maintain the rights of copyright holders, and ensure the necessary privacy of those who use the service."

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