Saturday, January 9, 2010

[Podcast & Transcript] Google's Goal: Digitize Every Book Ever Printed, PBS NewsHour

[Podcast & Transcript] PBS NewsHour; Google's Goal: Digitize Every Book Ever Printed:

"GARY REBACK: People no longer see any big difference between Google and Google's competitors. They're in it for money. And we need to depend on the competitive system to protect us.

SPENCER MICHELS: Does that go for Amazon and Microsoft as well?

GARY REBACK: It absolutely does. In this case, for example, Amazon was digitizing books long before Google was. Microsoft wanted to digitize books. Neither of them got the same deal that Google got -- got secretly, but, if they had, we would be -- all be better off because of it.

SPENCER MICHELS: Questions like those are being debated around the world. At Stanford, top librarians met recently to wrestle with how to adapt to the new online book resources and whether to cooperate with digitizations of their collections.

And bookstores like Berkeley's Pegasus, already in competition with discount booksellers, have to adapt as well. This store now sells digital books through its Web site. Besides the competition from online books, store owner Amy Thomas also worries about privacy of digital book buyers.

AMY THOMAS: They have a right to read without being -- having their reading records subpoenaed for whatever reason. They have a right to this privacy. And we will hope that Google will maintain, zealously maintain, defend those rights.

SPENCER MICHELS: Pam Samuelson is equally skeptical of Google's privacy policies. She puts her trust in libraries.

For its part, Google says it has been a huge advocate for user privacy. Antitrust concerns, copyright law, competition and privacy are all at issue in a flurry of lawsuits, friend-of-the-court briefs and interest from the Department of Justice. They will come to a head in February, when a federal judge holds a hearing on the Google case in New York."

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