Saturday, November 01, 2008

For the Public Good

It's nice to post something where tech will directly benefit society in a very big way and that something is the Google Book Search Settlement Agreement finally hammered out between Google and the Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers and significant others.

"Under the agreement, 20% of any work not opting out will be available freely; full access can be purchased for a fee. That secures more access for this class of out-of-print but presumptively-under-copyright works than Google was initially proposing. And as this constitutes up to 75% of the books in the libraries to be scanned, that is hugely important and good. That's good news for Google, and the AAP/Authors Guild, and the public.

It is also good news that the settlement does not presume to answer the question about what "fair use" would have allowed. The AAP/AG are clear that they still don't agree with Google's views about "fair use." But this agreement gives the public (and authors) more than what "fair use" would have permitted. That leaves "fair use" as it is, and gives the spread of knowledge more that it would have had."
- Lawrence Lessig

The beneficial impact on Public Domain cannot be underestimated because content previously prohibited from being digitized and made available to the people now goes live to enrich our lives for the better.

Book worms of the world, unite!
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