Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Google Settlement Opponents Ask Congress for Nonprofit Alternative; American Libraries, 1/19/10

Gordon Flagg, American Libraries; Google Settlement Opponents Ask Congress for Nonprofit Alternative:

"A month before the February 18 final fairness hearing for the proposed settlement of lawsuits challenging Google’s Book Search project, the Open Book Alliance called on Congress to instead help establish a digital book database operated by a neutral, nonprofit organization.

In a January 19 letter sent to members of Congress and digitization advocates, OBA cofounder Peter Brantley called for Google “to halt its current strategy, which focuses on fattening its profits and ensuring its continued domination of the Internet search market at the expense of broader social responsibilities.” Instead, he asked the parties to the proposed settlement to join a “new inclusive process” to develop a comprehensive digital public library that would “foster competitive instead of exclusive markets” and promote “long-term benefits for consumers … over isolated commercial interests.” Brantley asked that OBA’s proposed alternative “be done in a way that respects authors’ rights and copyright.”

The letter (PDF file) went on to say that such a library must result from “an open and deliberative conversation in Congress“ that would “appropriately weigh the concerns of all stakeholders [and that it] should be entrusted to a neutral, civic, not-for-profit organization … such as the Library of Congress” and “must not be exclusive to a single for-profit company.”
The OBA is a coalition of opponents of the settlement proposed by Google, the Authors Guild, and the Association of American Publishers. Its members include Google competitors Microsoft,, and Yahoo, as well as the Internet Archive, the National Writers Union, the Special Libraries Association, and the New York Library Association."

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