ACRL, ALA, and ARL File Comments about Google Book Search Settlement

The American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries, and the Association of Research Libraries have filed comments with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York regarding the Google Book Search Copyright Class Action Settlement.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Representing over 139,000 libraries and 350,000 librarians, the associations filed the brief as members of the plaintiff class because they are both authors and publishers of books. The associations asserted that although the settlement has the potential to provide public access to millions of books, many of the features of the settlement, including the absence of competition for the new services, could compromise fundamental library values including equity of access to information, patron privacy, and intellectual freedom. The court can mitigate these possible negative effects by regulating the conduct of Google and the Book Rights Registry the settlement establishes.

"While this settlement agreement could provide unprecedented access to a digital library of millions of books, we are concerned that the cost of an institutional subscription may skyrocket, as academic journal subscriptions have over the past two decades," Erika Linke, President of ACRL, said. . . .

Jim Rettig, President of ALA, said the proposed settlement "offers no assurances that the privacy of what the public accessed will be protected, which is in stark contrast to the long-standing patron privacy rights libraries champion on behalf of the public."