GBS: Brevia

Peter Osnos, Why the Long Lost Google Book Pact Still Matters, The Atlantic (Jan. 25, 2011):

In certain respects, however, technology and commerce have overtaken the original dispute. Digitized books can be programmed so that they cannot be copied or printed more than once, which limits the notion of a free-for-all in which authors and publishers lose control of the material. Many books in the public domain (the vast majority of works that have been digitized) are increasingly available from a variety of sources, which reduces Google’s omnipotence. Given the extraordinary growth in the use of eBook reading devices (which were barely a factor when the lawsuits against Google were originally filed), the interests of authors and publishers have shifted to getting a fair share of revenues rather than the prospect of receiving no revenues at all.

Busca Inc., News and Views from ALA 2011 Midwinter, Busca Inc. Blog (Jan. 21, 2011):

The recent launch of Google ebooks has been deemed a flop. The 3 million titles are either in the public domain already or are older titles that have no demand. Sales are very low. I feel that this is a preview to problems that Google will have if they ever launch their larger Google Books Project. On top of these problems many prominent authors have withdrawn from the settlement. What remains unique in the database are orphan books which probably have little demand. Figures from the legal case have hinted at a $55,00.00 cost for initial hookup to the Google books database if it ever becomes available.

Andrew Albanese, At ALA Midwinter, Brewster Kahle, Librarians Ponder The E-book Future (Jan. 10, 2011:

It was Kahle’s concerns about the developing e-book market that seemed to resonate most with librarians. “The e-book thing isn’t happening,” Kahle, noted “it has happened.” Kahle, who founded the Open Content Alliance, and Open Library project, a digitization program, offered a strong message to librarians: don’t let a few powerful corporations take control of the digital future. He expressed his longstanding concern over Google’s efforts to scan collections “and sell it back to us,” and urged libraries not to give up their traditional roles. “What libraries do is buy stuff, and lend it out,” he said, suggesting that libraries “digitize what we have to, and buy what we can,” but not to let the promise of licensed access turn libraries into agents for a few major corporations. “We do so at our peril.” He also urged more dialogue with publishers and vendors about the future of digital content and the role of libraries—but he also urged bold action.

More from Andrew Albanese at Publishers Weekly: Digital Book World: E-Books and Libraries? No Problem, Panel Says, January 27, 2011.

According to the Contra Costa Times, Brewster Kahle has also purchased a warehouse to hold 3 million books, videos, and audio recordings. Kahle is quoted in the article as saying that the Internet Archive would like “to hire as many as 500 to 1,000 locals to scan documents into the digital archive.” There is no indication how many of those three million titles are in-copyright books, but it is easy to assume that the Internet Archive will soon have the largest in-copyright digital lending program in the world.

Why is it “easy to assume”that it will be “the largest in-copyright digital lending program in the world”?

Surely an organisation that is partly publicly funded (and also is exempted from paying tax ) would have to be like Caesars wife, carefull when it comes to matters of citizens commercial rights?