Georgia Harper on the Google-AAP/AG Copyright Settlement

In "The LJ Academic Newswire Newsmaker Interview: Georgia Harper," Harper, Scholarly Communications Advisor at the University Libraries of the University of Texas at Austin, discusses the Google-AAP/AG copyright settlement and the part that research libraries played in it. Also see her blog posting ("Google Book Search—and Buy").

Here's an excerpt:

Brewster Kahle has chastised public libraries for working with Google under a cloak of secrecy. Can libraries realistically refuse NDAs?

I think Kahle’s point, and others raise this point too, is more about the deleterious effects of secrecy on the negotiation process itself. Secrecy tends to be isolating. If you don’t consult with your colleagues at other institutions, your leverage may be diminished. Of course, a library could also hire a business and/or legal consultant to help, and bind the consultant to the NDA. Yes, Kahle has identified a very thorny problem, but it’s one we can ameliorate. I don’t think it’s workable simply not to do business with companies whose assets are ideas and information just because they feel compelled to protect them through secrecy. Either way, consultation does increase information, and information is power—in fact, the power of information is also the source of the [NDA] problem in the first place.