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Thursday, September 8, 2005

Analysis of Google Print Library Project

Previous posts yesterday and on August 15th discussed Google’s Print Library Project.  While this discussion may begin to sound more like material for an IP blog, it is worth clarifying information in previous posts.  In an insightful piece, Jonathan Band clears up any confusion from press reports about the project.  For example, he explains that the project consists of two facets: the Print Publisher Program and the Print Library Project. 

Under the Print Publisher Program, a publisher controlling the rights in a book authorizes Google to scan the full text of the book into Google’s database.  When a user searches the database, the user sees the full page of the book containing the search term, and a few pages before and after.  A link brings the user to websites offering the book for sale.  Apparently, this aspect of the program is conducted pursuant to an agreement between Google and the copyright holder.

Under the Print Library Project, Google plans to scan materials from prominent libraries into a database.  This is the project that Google temporarily suspended in its August 11th announcement, allowing publishers to “opt out” by informing Google which books they do not want scanned into the database.  Users will be able to search this database and browse the full text of public domain materials.  For copyrighted materials, the sentence with the search term will appear in response to the search, along with a few sentences before and after. Mr. Band states that:

a full page of the book is never seen for an in-copyright book scanned as part of the Library Project unless a publisher decides to transfer their book into their Publisher Program account, in which case it would be under the agreement between Google and the copyright holder.

Because a search in the Print Library only calls up a few sentences, Mr. Band concludes that Google’s program “will not conflict with the normal exploitation of works nor unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of rightsholders.”

[Meredith R. Miller]

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