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Summary of the Google Book Settlement Session at ALA Midwinter Conference

Reproduced here via OITP’s Google Books Settlement site.

ALA’s Committee on Legislation and Office for Information Technology Policy hosted a panel session Saturday at the ALA Midwinter Conference in Denver. The session was called “Google Book Settlement: What’s In It For Libraries,”   and aimed to educate librarians on the initial terms of the settlement, hear from leading a few leading library and legal experts, and offer time for audience members to pose questions to the panel participants.

As mentioned in an earlier post, panelists included Dan Clancy, Engineering Director for the Google Book Search Project, Paul Courant, Dean of Libraries at the University of Michigan, Karen Coyle, Digital Librarian and Consultant, and Laura Quilter, Librarian and Attorney at Law.

Dan kicked off the panel by giving a brief overview of the main points of the settlement. He stressed that the agreement is a compromise, and settles the class action lawsuit between Google, the Association of American Publishers, and the Authors Guild. The explained that the settlement class includes anyone with copyright interest in a book before published before January 5, 2009.


Dan said that the settlement does not affect books in the public domain, and does not include journals, magazines, newspapers, and images if the rightsholder of the image in a book is different than the rightsholder of the book itself. The settlement also applies only to rightsholders in the United States.

Mr. Clancy explained that the settlement allows Google to continue to scan, index, and otherwise use non-display versions of books. This corresponds with the default status today for in print books. Currently, Google’s scan index the contents of books, allowing users to search the full text of works, but only displaying up to 3 snippets of text per work (a snippet is considered a “non-display” use).

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