Thursday, February 18, 2010

Asia in war of words over Google Books

Much has been made already about Google's book digitization project, which aims to scan and digitize almost all books published worldwide, making them searchable online. But as this ambitious yet equally controversial project prepares for a crucial hearing in a United States court on February 18, the global crusade against Google Books is intensifying.

Following stiff opposition from publishers and authors from primarily the Western world, India, too, threw down the gauntlet this month when 15 Indian authors and publishers filed objections with a New York District Court. With this, India became the second - after China - country in Asia to red-pencil the Google Book plan.

However, libraries, copyright holders and countries like the US, France, Britain, Germany, Canada and Australia and even consumers are analyzing the ramifications of this audacious venture. Many are unsure whether Google's promise of a global digital library will really change the face of information access in the world. Or will it be the end of the 150 year-old concept of copyright and intellectual property rights? In 2004, Google began scanning millions of books under copyright protection by reaching an agreement with several universities in the US. Under the initiative, known as the Google Library Project, Google digitized snippets from these books and put them online.

Full report here Asia Times

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