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Friday, June 15, 2007

Google tightens its terms for the CIC libraries deal

Questions Emerge as Terms of the CIC/Google Deal Become Public, Library Journal Academic Newswire, June 14, 2007.  Excerpt:

A copy of Google's most recent library book scanning deal with the 12 libraries of Committee on Institutional Cooperation hit the web this week and, as it goes with all things Google, generated no small amount of controversy. The most intriguing aspect of the deal: CIC libraries may not see digital copies of in-copyright books scanned by Google for a very long time, if ever.

Section 4.11 of the agreement states that Google will hold the "University Copy" of these works "in escrow," releasing them to the contributing libraries if the "in-copyright Work becomes public domain;" if the "library party has obtained permission through contractual agreements with copyright holders that includes the right to make a copy of the In-Copyright Work and to provide it to the CIC or Source CIC University;" if "well established case law exists that in-copyright works can be copied and held" by the libraries without infringing on the rights of a copyright holder; if Google is in "material breach of its obligations" under other sections of the agreement; or if the CIC and Google "agree in writing" that the release of particular in-copyright works is "legally supported and appropriate." The exceptions, however, are pre-existing terms in the agreements two CIC libraries, Michigan and Wisconsin, signed with Google that call for the company to provide copies of scanned works.

On his personal blog yesterday, Digital Library Federation executive director Peter Brantley suggested he wasn't about to hold his breath waiting for Google's escrowed copies to be released. "Pretty much, unless Google ceases business operations, or there is a legal ruling or agreement with publishers," he wrote, "in-copyright material...will be held in escrow until such time as it becomes public domain." Further, should an agreement with publishers resolve the issue of Google's scanning of in-copyright works, which many experts believe is a much more likely outcome that a court ruling, it is highly probable that any agreement would forbid the transfer of these copies to libraries. "I find it hard (not impossible, but hard) to imagine why publishers, as a community, would permit the CIC to obtain such copies," Brantley noted. "The 'library copy' is something that has deeply irritated them since the Google Book Search program started."

The deal also includes a clause (4.9a) that has libraries, the majority of which in the CIC are public institutions, indemnify Google, a multi-billion private company, should disagreements arise over copyright status....