New From Google: The Library of Babel
My God, Google’s acquired rights to the long tail.
On Tuesday, the search sovereign said it’s resolved a copyright dispute with the publishing world that will allow it to scan millions of in-copyright books and make them searchable online. Under the terms of its proposed settlement with The Association of American Publishers and the Author’s Guild, Google (GOOG) will pay $125 million to end the legal actions pending against it and establish a Book Rights Registry through which copyright holders can receive payment for books included in its Book Search program.
“This agreement is truly groundbreaking in three ways,” Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond said in a post to the company blog. “First, it will give readers digital access to millions of in-copyright books; second, it will create a new market for authors and publishers to sell their works; and third, it will further the efforts of our library partners to preserve and maintain their collections while making books more accessible to students, readers and academic researchers.”
Quite a coup for the publishing industry, which now has in Google a savvy and powerful business partner, instead of the hubristic antagonist it once faced. And a coup, as well, for Google, which has essentially just succeeded in licensing the longest tail of all: a searchable library of all (or most) the world’s books.