Open Books : Google Vs Amazon, Microsoft & Yahoo

I would be surprised if you have never visited Google Books to read a book, or at least a part of book. You can browse online books, some are available in full, others are protected by license, but, still you can read a part of it. These books became a part of Google from the Partner Program and the Library Project. Some books are available in the public domain, can you believe that you can download Hamlet in PDF form and read it later or email it to some one who wants to have a digital copy.

Now Google offer downloads in EPUB format, a free and open industry standard for electronic books. It’s supported by a wide variety of applications, so once you download a book, you’ll be able to read it on any device or through any reading application that supports the format. That means that people will be able to access public domain works that we’ve digitized from libraries around the world in more ways, including some that haven’t even been built or imagined yet.

The downside of all this is that Amazon, Microsoft and Yahoo! joined with non-profit groups and library associations in opposing the legal settlement which would allow Google to digitize and sell millions of books.

The three technology heavyweights are among the members of a coalition called the Open Book Alliance which expressed concern about “serious legal, competitive, and policy issues” surrounding Google’s book scanning project.

Microsoft and Yahoo confirmed that they were participants; Amazon refused to comment. Earlier this summer, Jeffrey P. Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive, criticized the settlement.

Open Content Alliance has something to say about Google here.

No one elected Google to write copyright law for America. And the Author’s Guild and American Association of Publishers simply do not accurately represent the diverse cross-section of those communities. If Google is really interested in honoring our legislative process, let’s acknowledge that Congress is the path that our government chose to make copyright law and codify its exceptions — instead of crafting secret deals through class action settlements.

However, Google already has deals to digitize works at public libraries in the United States and with the Bodleian Library in Oxford. State libraries in France and Italy also are considering similar ventures with Google. Officials also highlighted the role that private companies like Google could play in helping financially struggling public authorities carry out the expensive task of digitizing materials like books.


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