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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Google Book Search Agreement

Google scans many books for their book search program but you can’t access everything due to copyright restrictions. Now after years of discussion Google struck a deal with the Authors Guild and Association of American Publishers. BBC writes:

Google will establish a non-profit Book Rights Registry to ensure copyrighted works receive compensation via subscription services or ad revenue.

The registry and settlements will cost Google $125m (...)

However, the deal still needs approval from a US district court to resolve the pending lawsuits.

Google on their page on the subject says (my emphasis):

Once this agreement has been approved, you’ll be able to purchase full online access to millions of books. This means you can read an entire book from any Internet-connected computer, simply by logging in to your Book Search account, and it will remain on your electronic bookshelf, so you can come back and access it whenever you want in the future.

If I understand the model Google describes right, then out-of-print books are automatically purchasable (but copyright holders can opt-out), whereas in-print books aren’t (but copyright holders can opt-in).

Not sure, but all that still sounds like there’s DRM involved even when you bought a book. And gelocation as well, as this agreement only affects US users for now, with bad luck for the rest of the world in at least the beginning:

Because this agreement resolves a United States lawsuit, it directly affects only those users who access Book Search in the U.S.; anywhere else, the Book Search experience won’t change. Going forward, we hope to work with international industry groups and individual rightsholders to expand the benefits of this agreement to users around the world.

[Hat tip to Hebbet, Mike Yang and Andy Baio.]


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