“Google Library”: Some Copyright Infringement Concerns in China

A library is a collection of resources, and services, and the structure in which it is housed; it is organized for use and maintained by a public body, an institution, or a private individual. In the more traditional sense, a library is a collection of books. It can mean the collection, the building or room that houses such a collection, or both. The “library” has itself acquired a secondary meaning: “a collection of useful material for common use. According to the definition “library”, this article assumes “Google library” will provide the netizens with his digitalized books for free finally. This is the difference between “Google Book Search” and “Google Library.” Google is a private-owned corporation, so if we have to pay for “Google Library,” Google will be the last and biggest digitalized bookseller, but not a library.

“Google Library” is a project, which means that the participating libraries agree that Google can scan their collection without the author’s permission. When you click on a search result for a book from the “Google Library,” you will see basic bibliographic information about the book and, in many cases, a few snippets—a few sentences showing your search term in context. If the book is out of copyright, you will be able to view and download the entire book. In all cases, you will see links, which guide you to online bookstores where you can buy the book and libraries where you can borrow it.

The library project’s aim is simple: make it easier for people to find relevant books—especially books they would not find by any other way, for example, those books that are out of print—while carefully respecting authors’ and publishers’ copyrights. The ultimate goal is to cooperate with publishers and libraries to create a comprehensive, searchable, virtual card catalog of all books in all languages and helps users discover new books and publishers discover new readers.

Now, Google has made the “Google Library” agreement with five well-known universities.

With more than 15,000,000 books collection in the library, Harvard University supplied 40,000 public domain books at the project. It may increase the quantity in the future.

Stanford University supplied thousand of public domain books, but the Stanford University may scan all his books collection (total 7,600,000) in the future.

The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor will participate in this project with all of his books collection (total 7,800,000), but some of his collections are copyrighted.

The University of Oxford in England which has 6,500,000 books collection will supply all his books collection that is published before 1990.

The New York Public Library which has 20,000,000 books collection plans to supply 10,000 public domain books and the library.

“Google Publisher” uses opt-in policy, which means that the users participate in Google’s plan at their own will, but “Google Library” uses opt-out policy, which means “Google Library” will include public domain books and copyrighted ones without the authors’ permission in advance.

As we mentioned before, the US Authors Guild (AG) sued Google for the copyrighted books in “Google Library.” The works of those authors that AG cannot contact with are collected in “Google Library”. Google has made a disproportionate control over the digitalized books. But after two years long litigation, both parties acknowledged that such litigation will not only be time consuming, but also failed to the end for them. Hence, they started to negotiate a settlement (See footnote 1).

The other corporation who also want to set a digital library may be obstructed by the huge compensation that Google pays to the copyright owners, and as a result, Google will be the largest and last digital library in the world. This is the reason why Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft fight against “Google Library.” On the other hand, the actual library worries that the scanned files and pricing right will be under the control of Google.

The academia worries that Google will be the last digital library, and then in the future, for example, after 100 years, will the scanned files manager be Google or other else? There will be high risk if all the digital books are controlled by a private-owned corporation.

The legalist worries about privacy, “Google Book Search” can record what pages the readers have visited and their favorite through the option “Add to my library,” so you may not be able to protect your privacy in the last digital library. But the readers will be happy to see that their search will be brought into the marrow in the history of human knowledge when they do their online search.

20.4 Google Book Settlement

Google has emphasized that the original privacy policy will extend to its settlement with the publishers; therefore, the copyright registration agency will have no access to their netizens’ personal information and Google will also not sell their netizens’ reading record. Everyone in the world can use the Google Books (including Google Library) without setting cookie. Google will record the personal information only if the users use the service of Google Books after logging in their Google account.

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