The Chronicle of Higher Education – “Google has been quietly slowing down its book-scanning work with partner libraries, according to librarians involved with the vast Google Books digitization project. But what that means for the company’s long-term investment in the work remains unclear. Google was not willing to say much about its plans. “We’ve digitized more than 20 million books to date and continue to scan books with our library partners,” a Google spokeswoman told The Chronicle in an e-mailed statement. Librarians at several of Google’s partner institutions, including the University of Michigan and the University of Wisconsin systems, confirmed that the pace has slowed. “They’re still scanning. They’re scanning at a lower rate than the peak,” said Paul N. Courant, Michigan’s dean of libraries.”
FOX News – “Con enthsba! Look familiar? Those confusing semi-words you retype to buy Rolling Stones tickets on TicketMaster.com or sell an antique lamp on Craigslist might not read as real words, but they are. They’re actually images from the pages of books — and thanks to reCAPTCHA technology, they’re a key reason Google has digitized more than 15 million books since 2004. The Google Books project has vastly improved the quality of digitized text, thanks in part to those curvy, sometimes colorful words on the web that are filled out 200 million times a day, explained Carnegie Mellon University computer science professor Luis von Ahn, the inventor of the reCAPTCHA system.”
Inside Google Books – “If you’re an avid reader like me, you probably are always eagerly awaiting the next book by your favorite author, or new books on the topic you’re interested in. However, you might not always find out about those new books when they come out. Starting this week, you can set up a Google Alert for books and receive email notices when new books that match your interests become available.”
Chicago Tribune – “Google Inc. and authors and publishers groups have about nine more months to untangle their six-year-old legal dispute over plans to create the world’s largest digital library, a federal judge said on Thursday. Manhattan federal court Judge Denny Chin told lawyers at a hearing that he was “still hopeful” they could reach a settlement though “you’re essentially starting from scratch.”
Bloomberg – “Three French publishers dropped a 9.8 million-euro ($13.8 million) lawsuit against Google Inc. (GOOG) over books scanned by the search-engine company. Editions Albin Michel SA, Editions Gallimard SA and Flammarion made the decision in order to resume negotiations to reach a deal on scanning copyright-protected works for Google’s digital library. “Google suspended negotiations” when the suit was filed, Brice Amor, Gallimard’s legal director, said today. The publishers dropped their claims “with the goal that the negotiations might resume.”
NYT – “France has caused plenty of headaches for Google. Its politicians have denounced the U.S. Internet giant as a cultural imperialist; its publishers have called it a copyright cheat. Yet France is suddenly the only country in the world in which Google has managed to achieve a longstanding business goal. A few days ago Google signed an agreement with the publisher Hachette Livre under which tens of thousands of French-language books will be pulled out of ink-on-paper purgatory and provided with a digital afterlife.”
ZDNet – “J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore effort has a new parter: Google Books. Google has announced that it will be working with Rowling and Pottermore to bring the Harry Potter eBooks to consumers via the open Google Books platform. Once the books are purchased via Pottermore, customers will be able to store them on Google Books or transfer them to compatible devices running the Google Books app. (In case you had forgotten, Pottermore will have exclusive selling privileges to the eBooks.)”
Globes – “A lawsuit has been filed against Google Books with the Jerusalem District Court, with a request to recognize it as a class-action lawsuit. The petitioner, Yonatan Brauner, the author of “Things you see from there” (in Hebrew), claims that the project infringes authors’ copyright “on the greatest scale in human history”.
Brauner claims that Google continuously scans, collects, copies, and makes publicly available millions of books, thereby grossly and systematically infringing copyright without first obtaining the authors’ consent. He said it was not yet possible to estimate the damage caused to authors because he lacks precise figures about the quantity of creations affected or the extent of the copyright infringement for each work, but he provisionally estimates the damage at “tens of millions of shekels or more”. “
WSJ – “The recent court ruling rejecting a settlement between Google Inc. (GOOG) and authors and publishers over the Internet giant’s effort to scan all the world’s books shows the need for Congress to take up the issue of mass digitization, the head of the U.S. Copyright Office said Tuesday.
Acting Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante said lawmakers should decide if creating digital copies of all books is in the country’s interest and whether it should just benefit the public or become a profitable enterprise.
“The first issue is really, is mass digitization a national goal that Congress feels legislation is warranted for, and if so, for what beneficiaries,” Pallante said at an event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.”
Mercury News – “Last month federal Judge Denny Chin rejected a settlement between Google (GOOG) and a group of authors and publishers, curtailing the Internet giant’s ambitious goal to digitize a vast collection of books. While the court’s decision is in line with U.S. copyright law, the plan to bring the works of the printed world to the online masses should still be an aspiration for our digital society.
Google’s dream originally envisioned by Larry Page, one of the company’s founders and soon to be chief executive, was to “unlock the wisdom imprisoned in the world’s out-of-print books.” The decision now leaves Google with the option to seek congressional legislation, a move that would open the realm of building digital libraries and publishing orphan works to all.
If Google’s intentions to bring the world’s knowledge to the masses are altruistic, then it would be the ultimate philanthropic move if it decided to partner with universities, foundations or with the Library of Congress to make the digitized library dream of its founder a reality.”