Conference to discuss implications of Google Book settlement

Librarians, academics, and privacy advocates will gather on the University of California at Berkeley campus Aug. 28 to discuss the implications of Google’s proposed book-scanning settlement with publishers that, if implemented, will allow it to bring millions of books online, CNET reports. At issue are concerns over privacy, quality, and Google’s intent with the project, the only one of its kind in the U.S. to receive the legal authority to scan books that are out of print but under copyright protection. That’s estimated by the Internet Archive to comprise 50 to 70 percent of all books published since 1923. The settlement has drawn intense scrutiny from authors, library groups, industry associations, and even the Justice Department. Many are concerned that the settlement gives a private organization the sole right to create and control a public good–a digital library–without explicit responsibilities to maintain that public good outlined in the settlement. Google’s Dan Clancy plans to speak at the event, but much of the debate is expected to focus on privacy. "Is Google going to provide the same kinds of guarantees that users expect, the ability to access books with relative anonymity? The legal document is silent on these concerns," said Michael Zimmer, a professor with the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. "I know the people at Google. I trust them, they are good people, but these are serious things."

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