Siva in Chronicle of Higher Ed: A Risky Gamble with Google
by SIVA VAIDHYANATHAN
Chronicle of Higher Education, publication date: 02 December 2005
via Siva's blog
"And it dangerously elevates Google's role and responsibility as the steward --with no accountability -- of our information ecosystem. That's why I, an avowed open-source, open-access advocate, have serious reservations about it.
It pains me to declare this: Google's Library Project is a risky deal for libraries, researchers, academics, and the public in general. However, it's actually not a bad deal for publishers and authors, despite their protestations.
So the copyright-infringement suits brought by authors and by publishers against Google Library will present the courts with an interesting dilemma: Should they favor the norms of the Web (opt out) over the norms of the real world (opt in)? Google is clearly asserting the right to do what it has always done in the Web world — copied without permission for the purpose of providing an important commercial service that rides free on others' copyrighted work. The courts will have to decide if that is a bit too presumptuous and disruptive in the real world.
So I worry. We need services like that provided by Google Library. But they should be "Library Library" projects. Libraries should not be relinquishing their core duties to private corporations for the sake of expediency. Whichever side wins in court, we as a culture have lost sight of the ways that human beings, archives, indexes, and institutions interact to generate, preserve, revise, and distribute knowledge."