Monday, December 26, 2005

The Battle Over Books -- Google Print (Google Book Search) Debate at the New York Public Library

"Tonight, we have a contentious smackdown at the New York Public Library."

I just finished listening to an MP3 of a recent debate at the New York Public Library over the legality of Google Print (now Google Book Search). The debate featured Authors' Guild president Nick Taylor, Google VP David Drummond, Stanford Law prof Lawrence Lessig, Association of American Publishers VP Allan Adler, and Chris Anderson of Wired as the moderator.

The MP3 and video torrent can be downloaded here. An analysis at mediabistro is here.

A description of the event:
Last December, Google launched its Print Library Project to scan books from the collections of several major libraries: Harvard, Michigan, Stanford, Oxford, and the New York Public Library.

Google explained: "Our ultimate goal is to work with publishers and libraries to create a comprehensive, searchable, virtual card catalog of all books in all languages that helps users discover new books and publishers find new readers."

Sounds like a win-win-win-win for readers, authors, publishers, and libraries alike, right? But as we have seen with other media migrating to the Internet, such a project raises a number of questions about intellectual property rights, fair use, piracy, access, ownership, distribution, compensation, and control. This fall, the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers filed lawsuits against Google, citing massive copyright infringement.

The NYPL and WIRED Magazine present a provocative discussion about the competing interests and issues raised by the Google Print Library Project, and whether a universal digital repository of our collective knowledge is in our future.
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