he agreement reached by Google and US authors’ and editors’ associations to digitalize the books has been questioned by the US Justice Department, who fears Google Books service becomes essential for libraries, and libraries excessively depend on this search engine.
To study the effects of this service in the European market, the EU Commission has gathered with the people in charge of Google Book Search project, who have explained the service’s scope and Google’s intentions.
In view of the potential problems with author’s rights, Google added that they are only trying to digitalize discontinued works and works out of the commercial circuit. “You can discover information you didn’t even know that it was there”, explained Google Books engineering manager, Daniel Clancy. “It’s important that these books (discontinued) aren’t left aside. Helping people find books is Google’s interest”.
A more skeptical pressure group, sponsored by Microsoft, ICOMP, pointed out that Google’s plans to scan and publish all books would concentrate too much power in their hands. According to David Wood, ICOMP’s attorney, “Google is heading towards creating a durable monopoly in online books supply”.
EU Commission has backed Google’s project, as long as the author’s rights over the works are completely respected. Both Vivian Reding, Commissioner for Information Society and Media, and Charlie McCreevy, Commissioner for Interior Market, agreed that European legislators must create a regulatory framework that provides for the display of these services, “similarly” to what has been achieved in the US.
They said it’s all about trying to eliminate “the old stereotypes that hindered debate in the past”, and focusing on finding the best approach so that the current technology allows us “to give a new impulse to cultural creation in the digital era”.
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