In this venture, Google will be scanning copyrighted books into its database and making the content available to the user in much the same way as Google Scholar. This means that web searchers would only be able to see excerpts of the searched content but not the whole page, leave alone the entire book. According to Google, they plan to scan copyrighted work that is already out of print and they would also be “seeking the publisher’s permission to digitize books that are available in books stores.
”(Delaney, 2005) Google has reassured publishers that this venture will not affect book sales but would instead further increase their knowledge in the public domain due to the increased publicity from the search engine excerpts. Publishers on the other hand are worried, that researchers would be able to find all the information they may need from the Print Library Project therefore making it unnecessary to purchase the book. (Band, 2005)
The major divide in the two parties that has set the stage for a Herculean legal battle is the fear that Google can scan the copyrighted material without the holder’s consent but the company presents two reasonable arguments. The first one is the publisher or author has the choice to “opt out” of the project; the same rights they have in the Print Publisher Program. In this program, the publishers give Google digital copies of their books plus the bibliographic information and text abstracts (or pages) to include in the search parameters.
The publisher can easily opt out of this arrangement whenever he feels like it. While the Print Library Project is a bit different in that Google can copy the published material without the holder’s consent, the financial risks the publisher will expose himself to by opting out makes it highly unlikely because they cannot risk having their competitor’s books being easily accessible on the internet. The “opting-out” process has to be a collective one. The second argument falls in the legal doctrine of what can be defined as fair use.
While publishing companies have the legal right to restrict viewing and ownership of their material so as to protect the author, they are also required by law to enable accessibility of such material to the general public. Besides, what was the point of writing a book if only a few people would know of its existence? The Print Library Project leans more towards the second argument in justifying its existence. (Band, 2005) Google’s Justification for Print Library Project The fact that Google has stated that it will mostly focus on out-of-print works hasn’t softened the Publishers’ stance.
They (the publishers) are fully aware that for the search engine spiders to be effective, Google would have to follow the same route as the Google Scholar. This means that entire books will have to be copied for the search engine to be effective; including currently printed copies. The difference in opinion does not occur from the search engine results were only a few sentences will be seen with regards to the search content. The publishing companies are fully aware of that. What they have a problem with is entire books will be scanned and be used for commercial purposes by Google and this will be exploitative.
It will be regarded as exploitative in that the full contents of the books will be searchable and Google neither asked for permission nor partook in the writing process of the book. Google does however argue that is the only way they can ensure complete results from the search parameters. Furthermore, they add that the Print Library Project would be beneficial to the book industry. Readers would be exposed to a wide variety of books that may contain the information they are looking for.
Some readers confess that the major drawback with going to the library is not knowing which books will contain the specific information they require. Finding this particular book is usually a time consuming process which may not materialize in some occasions. This project creates a bridge to a process that had been a hindrance to most readers. Google is also aware that anything more than a few abstracts of the searched texts would be a killer blow to the publishing industry since scholars would prefer to conduct their research online which is much faster instead of purchasing a book.
Google does present a much stronger case in the Print Library Project. The major concern for publishing companies may be the fear that their revenue sources might decline but this should not be squarely blamed on Google’s ventures. The search engine giant has never denied at any point that it seeks to rake in profits from this undertaking and it is also willing to share them with the major players in the market like in its Print Publisher Program. Here, the publisher would get a share of the revenue accrued from any advertisement that appeared in their books.
In the Print Library Project, the company is even more likely to incur more costs since they are the ones undertaking the measures of digitizing the books unlike in the Print Publisher Program where they are simply handed ready made copies. This means publishing companies stand to increase their profit margins if they choose to adapt the Print Library over Print Publisher. What Google is undertaking is no different to its web search engine business arm.
They copy millions of sites (without the owner’s consent) into their database and if a company doesn’t want its website to be included in the search engine’s radar, they can “use an exclusion header, a software “Do Not Enter” sign, which most search engine firms respect. ”(Band, 2005) The same option is available in the Print Library Project. If you do not want your copyrighted material to appear in the search engine’s database, simply “opt-out” Conclusion The obvious advantages of the Print Lab Project to the publishing world make it hard for one to understand why the publishers are vehemently opposed to it.
This is because we are not looking at the situation from their point of view. Even though their major concern might appear to be the protection of copyrighted material, what we must not overlook that these are companies like any other and they must turn a profit each year so as to stay afloat. The biggest threat to their profit margins might appear to be firms like Google but in fact it is other similar publishing firms. First of all, when you key in specific text in your search engine, you will get a list of books that are related to this topic. Most people start analyzing which books are the most relevant from the top of the list.
Once they find the particular book, they automatically stop searching. The greatest fear for these publishing firms is probably the pecking order for books on the search engine’s list. Books on top of the list will obviously have an unfair advantage to books in the 13th or 14th page of Google’s search pages. The reason why Wikipedia pages pops up in almost every searched parameter is because of the numerous hyperlinks its pages contain to other pages. This “extended coverage” to numerous sites in the World Wide Web increases its availability in almost every searched parameters.
Is it fair to say that these publishing firms will resort to search tactics to stay at the top of the list? It’s certainly not beneath them. (Balas, p 30) Still remaining on this issue, it’s even much riskier business-wise if a publishing opts out and its books features nowhere in the search engine’s parameters. Their books will be out of the public domain’s radar unless they are looking for a specific book. Competition amongst publishing firms would certainly increase with the implementation of the Google Print Library Project and the challenge to appeal to every reader is a contest that would work to the consumer’s advantage.
However, inclination towards Google Scholar is likely to increase. Journals are not cash cows for publishing firms and protection of their intellectual rights is mostly done to maintain the uniqueness and originality of the respective materials. Books on the other hand are a demanding affair which publishing firms take a huge risk in when they buy the rights from the authors. On top of paying the author, the book has to hit a certain number of minimum sales so that the publishing firm can break even and return the costs incurred in mass producing it plus other charges.
Opposition to Print Library Project will continue because the increased competition poses a threat to book sales especially in the more established publishing firms. (Balas, p 32) Works Cited Baksik Corinna. Fair Use or Exploitation? The Google Book Search Controversy, John Hopkins University Press, 2006, pp 399-415 Balas J L By digitizing, are we trading future accessibility for current availability? Computers in Libraries, 2007, 27(3), 30-32. Band Jonathan, 15th October 2005, “Features – The Authors Guild vs. The Google Print Library Project”, E-Commerce Law & Policy, Retrieved on 8th June 8, 2009,
http://www. llrx. com/features/googleprint. htm Byrd Gary, Bader Shelley, and Mazzaschi Anthony J, October 2005, “The Status of Open Access Publishing By Academic Societies,” J Med Library Association, Retrieved on 8th June 2009, http://www. pubmedcentral. gov/articlerender. fcgi? artid=1250315 Delaney Kevin J, Trachtenberg Jeffrey A, 1st November 2005, “Google Will Return to Scanning Copyrighted Library Books”, The Wall Street Journal, Retrieved on 8th June 2009, http://online. wsj. com/public/article/SB113081241343684922-tag_Zei4g5jxU22aJJNLTBogj3w_20061031. html? mod=tff_main_tff_top
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