Archive for the 'Publishing' Category

"Google and the Proper Antitrust Scrutiny of Orphan Books"

Posted in Copyright, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Publishing on August 30th, 2009

Jerry A. Hausman and J. Gregory Sidak have self-archived "Google and the Proper Antitrust Scrutiny of Orphan Books" in SSRN.

Here's an excerpt:

We examine the consumer-welfare implications of Google's project to scan a large proportion of the world's books into digital form and to make these works accessible to consumers through Google Book Search (GBS). In response to a class action alleging copyright infringement, Google has agreed to a settlement with the plaintiffs, which include the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers. A federal district court must approve the settlement for it to take effect. Various individuals and organizations have advocated modification or rejection of the settlement, based in part on concerns regarding Google's claimed ability to exercise market power. The Antitrust Division has confirmed that it is investigating the settlement. We address concerns of Professor Randal Picker and others, especially concerns over the increased access to 'orphan books,' which are books that retain their copyright but for which the copyright holders are unknown or cannot be found. The increased accessibility of orphan books under GBS involves the creation of a new product, which entails large gains in consumer welfare. We consider it unlikely that Google could exercise market power over orphan books. We consider it remote that the static efficiency losses claimed by critics of the settlement could outweigh the consumer welfare gains from the creation of a valuable new service for expanding access to orphan books. We therefore conclude that neither antitrust intervention nor price regulation of access to orphan books under GBS would be justified on economic grounds.

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    European Commission Report: Europeana—Next StepsEuropean Commission Report: Europeana—Next Steps

    Posted in Copyright, Digital Libraries, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Publishing on August 30th, 2009

    The European Commission has published Europeana—Next Steps.

    Here's an excerpt:

    Europeana—Europe's online library, museum and archive—opened in November 2008 as part of the Commission's digital libraries initiative, aiming to make Europe's cultural and scientific heritage accessible to all on the internet. The European Parliament and the Council have highlighted the importance of Europeana both as a showcase of the cultural heritage of the Member States on the internet and to provide access for everyone to that heritage. At the same time they have underlined the economic potential of making our cultural treasures available online as a source for creativity and new products and services in areas such as tourism and learning.

    This document looks ahead to the next phase of development of Europeana and its orientation for the future. It sets out the main challenges for the coming years in relation to 1) enriching Europeana’s content with both public domain and in copyright material of the highest quality and relevance to users, and 2) a sustainable financing and governance model. The objective is to ensure that Europeana and the underlying policies for digitisation, online accessibility and digital preservation give European culture a lasting visibility on the internet and turn our common and diverse heritage into an integral part of Europe's information infrastructure for the future.

    In order to gather input on the best way to achieve this objective, the Commission is launching a consultation on the basis of a series of questions that can be found in the staff working paper accompanying this Communication. Interested parties are invited to submit their comments on any or all of the questions by 15 November 2009.

    See also "Questions for the Public Consultation 'Europeana—Next Steps'."

    Read more about it at "EU Divided over Google Books"; "EU Urges Google, Libraries to Cooperate to Put Books On-line"; "Europe's Digital Library Doubles in Size but also Shows EU's Lack of Common Web Copyright Solution"; and "Europe's Digital Library: Frequently Asked Questions."

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      The Google Books Settlement and the Future of Information Access Conference

      Posted in Copyright, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Privacy, Publishing on August 30th, 2009

      The University of California School of Information's Google Books Settlement and the Future of Information Access Conference was held on August 28, 2009. Below is a selection of articles and posts about the conference.

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        Open Book Alliance Outlines Arguments against Google Book Search Settlement

        Posted in Copyright, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Publishing on August 27th, 2009

        In "Opening the Book," Peter Brantley and Gary Reback outline the Open Book Alliance's objections to the Google Book Search Settlement.

        Here's an excerpt:

        The settlement is bad for libraries and schools: While a handful of large and well-funded university libraries participated in the Google book-scanning effort, many other educational institutions and libraries will be forced to pay monopoly prices for access to a wide swath of knowledge, straining already-stretched budgets and creating a system of haves and have-nots in our nation's education system. Community libraries would get at a single terminal to Google's private book database, and libraries serving our nation's children in K-12 schools would get absolutely nothing. The settlement widens the digital divide by limiting access to digital books in financially hard-hit communities that have budget-constrained libraries.

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          University of Texas Big Deal Contracts Released to Researchers

          Posted in Libraries, Licenses, Publishing, Texas Academic Libraries on August 27th, 2009

          The Texas Attorney General has ruled that the University of Texas’ contracts with Elsevier and Springer must be released to Paul Courant, Ted Bergstrom, and Preston McAfee (these researchers run the Big Deal Contract Project).

          Here's the ruling (also see the PDF version):

          Texas Attorney General Ruling

          Read more about it at "Texas Attorney General Orders ‘Big Deal’ Bundle Contracts Released."

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            Publishers Weekly Surveys on the Google Book Search Settlement

            Posted in Copyright, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Publishing on August 25th, 2009

            In "Unsettled: The PW Survey on the Google Book Settlement," Andrew Richard Albanese summarizes the findings of a survey of readers of Publishers Weekly newsletters about the Google Book Search Copyright Class Action Settlement.

            Here's an excerpt:

            If there is good news for the architects of the deal, it is that net support for court approval outweighs opposition—overall, 41% of respondents supported approval of the settlement, while 23% opposed the deal. Just weeks before the September 4 deadline for opting out or objecting to the settlement, however, it is notable that more than a third (36%) remain unsure of or indifferent to the settlement. Publishers (52%) support the settlement in the greatest numbers, followed by authors (42%) and librarians (29%).

            In "PW Survey: Librarians On the Fence Regarding Google Settlement," Norman Oder summarizes the findings of a survey of 225 librarians about the settlement.

            Here's an excerpt:

            Regarding court approval of the settlement, 37% said they were unsure, while 29% supported the settlement and 21.5% said they opposed it.

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              "Open Access Publishing on the Semantic Web"

              Posted in Open Access, Publishing on August 24th, 2009

              Richard Cave, PLos IT Director, has made his "Open Access Publishing on the Semantic Web" presentation available on SlideShare.

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                German Government to File Brief Opposing Google Book Search Settlement

                Posted in Copyright, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Publishing on August 24th, 2009

                In "Europe Divided on Google Book Deal," The New York Times reports that the German government intends to file a brief in the Google Book Search Copyright Class Action Settlement case opposing the settlement as "illegal."

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                  PLoS Currents = E-Biomed 2.0?

                  Posted in Open Access, Publishing, Self-Archiving on August 23rd, 2009

                  In "E-Biomed 2.0?," Richard Poynder discusses PLoS Currents in the historical content of the National Institutes of Health's ill fated 1999 E-Biomed proposal.

                  Here's an excerpt:

                  Looking back one is bound to ask: Was the E-Biomed proposal really so radical and, as some at the time argued, dangerous? As Varmus explained in his proposal, papers posted on E-Biomed would get there by one of two routes: "(i) Many reports would be submitted to editorial boards. These boards could be identical to those that represent current print journals or they might be composed of members of scientific societies or other groups approved by the E-biomed Governing Board. (ii) Other reports would be posted immediately in the E-biomed repository, prior to any conventional peer review, after passing a simple screen for appropriateness."

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                    "SCOAP3: A Key Library Leadership Opportunity in the Transition to Open Access"

                    Posted in Libraries, Open Access, Publishing on August 23rd, 2009

                    Heather Morrison has self-archived "SCOAP3: A Key Library Leadership Opportunity in the Transition to Open Access" in the SFU Institutional Repository.

                    Here's an excerpt:

                    The SCOAP3 consortium aims to transition the whole of High Energy Physics (HEP) publishing from a subscription to an open access basis. SCOAP3 currently has commitments for more than 63% of the projected 10 million Euros per year budget, from partners in more than 21 countries, including more than 50 libraries and consortia in the U.S. Full participation from the U.S., a leader in HEP research, is both essential and particularly challenging, as the U.S. does not have a national coordinating body that can make one commitment for the country, as many other countries do. While the work to undertake this commitment for the library should not be underestimated – figuring out subscription costs when journals are part of a big deal, often through a consortium – neither should the benefits be underestimated. In brief, the benefits are the optimum access that comes with open access—full open access to the publisher's PDF for everyone, everywhere; a model for transitioning to open access that involves no financial risk, as commitments are capped at current subscriptions expenditures, and SCOAP3 is addressing the issue of unbundling successful journals from big deals and reducing costs accordingly; future financial benefits as a transparent, production-based pricing model for scholarly communication introduces competition into a market where it has been lacking; gaining publisher acceptance of library advocacy efforts for open access by addressing a key concern of publishers (financing the journals in an open access environment) and perhaps most importantly, establishing a leadership role for libraries in a future for scholarly communication that will be largely open access. As Douglas (2009) explains, "To move forward in achieving open access, U.S. libraries that subscribe to any of the five journals that are considered 100 percent convertible to SCOAP3 (European Physical Journal C, Journal of High Energy Physics, Nuclear Physics B, Physical Review D, and Physics Letters B) need to participate". If this describes your library, please go to the SCOAP3 website, now, to learn more and participate in this innovative global collaboration that can be a model, not only for transitioning to open access, but also for how humankind can work cooperatively across borders to accomplish a great good that will benefit all of us.

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                      Microsoft, Yahoo, Internet Archive, Library Associations, and Others Forming Coalition to Fight Google Book Search Settlement

                      Posted in Copyright, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Publishing on August 21st, 2009

                      The Wall Street Journal and other news sources are reporting that a powerful new coalition is being formed to fight the Google Book Search Copyright Class Action Settlement. Amazon, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Internet Archive, Microsoft, the New York Library Association, the Special Libraries Association, Yahoo have been named as potential participants. Antitrust lawyer Gary L. Reback will work with the coalition.

                      Read more about it at "Google Rivals Will Oppose Book Settlement," "Tech's Bigs Put Google's Books Deal in Crosshairs," and "Tech Giants Unite against Google."

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                        "Why is the Antitrust Division Investigating the Google Book Search Settlement?"

                        Posted in Copyright, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Publishing on August 20th, 2009

                        In "Why is the Antitrust Division Investigating the Google Book Search Settlement?," noted copyright expert Pamela Samuelson examines the DOJ Antitrust Division's investigation of the Google Book Search Copyright Class Action Settlement.

                        Here's an excerpt:

                        My concerns about the competition-policy consequences of the settlement center on the market for institutional subscriptions. The settlement gives Google the right to have and make available the contents of a universal library of books. Anyone else could build a digital library with public domain books and whatever other books it could license from publishers or BRR. But no one else can offer a comparably comprehensive institutional subscription service because only Google has a license to all out-of-print books. Google's optimistic estimate is that only 10 percent of the books in the corpus will really be "orphans," but 10 percent is still roughly two million books. Suppose the real percentage of orphans is closer to 30 percent and another 20 percent of those whom BRR tries to sign up tell the BRR reps to get lost.

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