Friday, October 02, 2009

Recent Google Book Settlement Links

For GBS junkies, a few recent pieces of note (Thanks for the links Mary):

Peter Brantley has a piece appearing this evening on Huffington Post: "GBS: Right Goal, Wrong Solution"
"The DOJ has raised the alarm, and now it is time for Congress to assume its rightful place in this debate - convening interested voices and arbitrating on behalf of public good. Standard Oil's price fixing conspiracy with the railroads inspired Congress to pass the Sherman Act because they recognized that control over critical transportation and fueling infrastructure could be wielded to impact virtually every aspect of American life. In the modern day, the Internet is the railroad and search technology the coal that powers our cultural, commercial, academic and social existence. Allowing a powerful cartel of commercial actors to possess control over these fundamental elements of networked information promises to create a modern day Standard Oil."
Law professor Timothy Wu takes a very different tack in Slate, "Save the Google Book Deal."
"A delivery system for books that few people want is not a business one builds for financial reasons. Over history, such projects are usually built not by the market but by mad emperors. No bean counter would have approved the Library of Alexandria or the Taj Mahal....

"If you want to put Google in its place, the book project is the wrong way to do so. It is Google's monopoly on Internet search that is valuable and potentially dangerous, not a quixotic project to provide access to unpopular books. So hold on to that sense of wariness, but understand that in this case, it's misplaced. To punish Google by killing Book Search would be like punishing Andrew Carnegie by blowing up Carnegie Hall."
Alexis Madrigal, a researcher and writer, comes to the project's defense, based on his experiences researching a book, in Wired, "A Writer's Plea: Figure Out How to Preserve Google Books"
"So, as we sort out the various privacy, competitiveness and profit issues, let’s not just assume the status quo was the best of all possible information-distribution worlds. It wasn’t — and we know that because Google Books showed us how the system could be better."
And, finally, from the ARL, a summary of the court filings, in a handy set of tables, drawn from the Public Index. If you've been following the filings, there's not much here to learn. But if you haven't been following them, you might find the (somewhat crude) summation of filings of interest or otherwise useful. Interesting, for instance, that the foreign filings by class members outnumber the domestic ones by more than 3 to 1.

"Who is Filing and What are they Saying?" By Brandon Butler.

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