Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Google Library Digitisation & Copyright

The announcement that Google would start to digitise and disclose the libraries of several major (university) libraries made a big splash. Some concerns over copyright were immediately raised, the head of the French National Library feared the domination of Anglo-Saxon language publications, but little more has been reported on the project. The Harvard Crimson now has a nice little article on the copyright woes that Google and the university libraries (may) encounter.

A chief executive of a publishers association has let know that:
"The law does not permit wholesale copying (which is what digitisation is) by a commercial organisation of works that are still in copyright. It is also illegal to make those works available digitally once they have been copied."
She wants Google to obtain permission for every digitisation through collective licensing organisation. Harvard professor Jonathan Zittrain thinks that there is no copyright infringement involved in the project, being covered by fair use.

The article provide a little insight on the (copyright) struggles Google and Harvard and the likes faces in the digitisation process. It's worth the reading, only if it was for the last paragraph, in which the Director of the Harvard University Library gives his vision on what copyright law is all about:
"Copyright laws are written for companies like Time Warner and Disney instead of research libraries like Harvard. [These laws are] not aimed at us."

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