Saturday, September 5, 2009

Google brought to book over digital library; Times, 9/5/09

Mike Harvey via Times; Google brought to book over digital library:

"A US district judge named Denny Chin is on the verge of becoming one of the most important men in the history of publishing. On October 7 in a New York courtroom he will preside over a “fairness hearing” for a deal between Google and US publishers and authors to put millions of books online.

The 55-year-old Hong Kong-born judge presided over the trial of Bernard Madoff, sentencing the fraudster to 150 years in prison. The Google books settlement case is likely to send shockwaves even further afield.

Google yesterday launched a staunch defence of its plans to become the world’s librarian and bookseller. The internet giant is in the middle of a project to scan and index the world’s literary heritage. It has already digitised more than 10 million volumes in more than 100 languages and has agreements with libraries around the world to scan millions more.

Google says that the project will make a treasure trove of forgotten and out-of-print books available to anyone with an internet connection. Critics say that mankind’s “last library” should not be in the hands of a commercial enterprise."

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