Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Google and Michigan block access outside U.S.

Klaus Graf has pointed out that Google Book Search and the University of Michigan's MBooks (based on Google scans) both block access to users outside the US.

His test case is Emanuel Geibel's Gedichte, published in Stuttgart in 1873. (Geibel died in 1884.) As Klaus observes, the book is in the public domain in every country on Earth and US users have free online access to the full text.

Comment. When Klaus told me this by email a few days ago, I asked some friends outside the US to click on the link and tell me whether they got a book or an error message. So far, they report no access from Australia, Canada, England, Finland, France, India, Nigeria, and Paraguay. How many report access? None. (Thanks to many friends in many places for rapid turn-around on this informal survey.)

When denying access to non-US users, Google gives this error message:

Page images and the full text of this item are *not available* at this time due to *copyright restrictions*. (Why?) However, you may search within the text of this item to determine the frequency and location of specific words and phrases.

I join Klaus in calling on Google and Michigan either to restore access to non-US users or to explain what copyright problems bar access to this public-domain book.

Update (9/11/06). The book is not accessible in Nepal or South Africa either.