U.C. Professors Air Google Book Search Settlement Concerns
Eighteen faculty members for the University of California say they are concerned about the Google Book Search settlement. Though the professors aren't opposing the deal, they are seeking changes that will prevent price-gouging, as well as mechanisms to let academic authors of orphan books license their books to the public domain or Creative Commons. They also share the privacy concerns voiced earlier by the ACLU and EFF.Is Google's support system crumbling for its Google Book Search settlement? Faculty members for the University of California, which publicly supported the deal when it was announced in October 2008, are concerned the deal does not adequately satisfy the needs of academic authors, and that the Authors Guild that agreed to the deal terms with Google negotiated to maximize profits over access to books. The professors want some changes to the deal that they consider to be more friendly to academic authors.
"Specifically, we are concerned that the Authors Guild negotiators likely prioritized maximizing profits over maximizing public access to knowledge, while academic authors would have reversed those priorities," the authors wrote in an Aug. 13 letter to the New York district court slated to review the settlement.
When patrons of brick-and-mortar libraries use information resources in libraries to search for and access books of relevance to their inquiries, they have not typically been personally identifiable in respect to those books (except insofar as they checked the books out, and user privacy interests as to patron check-out records are closely protected by libraries under the ALA code). In digital networked environments, however, every query can reveal very significant information about the user and the inquiry in which he/she is engaged. The potential risks to user privacy in digital networked environments are thus far greater than in traditional library contexts.They ask that Google should be required to give notice to users about requests for disclosure of such information and to provide the users with an opportunity to object to the disclosure as an unwarranted invasion of readers' privacy.