Google, which acquired the rights to create an online library in 2008 as the outcome of a lawsuit against them for copyright infringement at the cost of $125 Million, is being taken on by the Open Book Alliance. Google aims to use the rights to create an online Book Rights Registry
Although it is not yet official, Microsoft and Yahoo have confirmed, and Amazon is also expected, to join the OBA which is headed by the Internet Archive, a non-profit free online library and a vocal opponent of the bill. The library would allow authors to register works with Google who would receive 30% of the profits from sales with the remaining 70% going to the authors. Google would also gain the right to works with unknown rights-holders. The deadline for comments is Sept. 4th. The class-action suit will be reviewed by a New York judge in October.
Brewster Kahle founder of Internet Archive commented, “Google is trying to monopolize the library system …If this deal goes ahead, they’re making a real shot at being ‘the’ library and the only library.”
Critics of the proposal are focused on the issue of the amount of trust placed in Google’s hands if the library proceeds as planned. The Consumer Watchdog advocacy group in conjunction with both The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU of Northern CA wrote to Google asking them to, “assure Americans that Google will maintain the security and freedom that library patrons have long had: to read and learn about anything… without worrying that someone is looking over their shoulder or could retrace their steps”
Google said in a statement, “The Google Books settlement is injecting more competition into the digital books space, so it’s understandable why our competitors might fight hard to prevent more competition.”