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Copyright 2.0 and a welcome sign of resistance to Google and Microsoft

I’m as sick of hearing and reading the numbers “2.0” as you are, but that’s what the article I’m posting here has been titled. The article is a blog post I wrote about a panel at the Global Information Industry Summit in Berlin last month and it’s being published by the Copyright Clearance Center to accompany the podcast of the panel. In the post, I wrote about creativity and the right to attribution as well as about the amazing technologies on display, so it’s relevant to a news item I wanted to point out, Libraries Shun Deals to Place Books on Web::

Libraries that agree to work with Google must agree to a set of terms, which include making the material unavailable to other commercial search services. Microsoft places a similar restriction on the books it converts to electronic form. The Open Content Alliance, by contrast, is making the material available to any search service.

Given that Berkshire is experimenting with an open-access release of our titles, at Exact Editions, you might be surprised that I am so vehement about copyright. But there’s no conflict between wanting to see great content reach a wide audience and to make sure that the creators benefit. I am certain that it’s going to be helpful to prospective customers to be able to browse the books online. That doesn’t mean I feel obliged to give the books away, or provide free access forever. And I’ve been quite miffed, as an author even more than as a publisher, by the way Google, in partnership with some major libraries, has taken for granted that they owe nothing to the creator of the books they hold, scan, and then use to drive advertising traffic. I wrote two pieces about this for the UK-based Google Debate, and blogged about it here.

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