Will All Books Be Digitized – And Free?
The free digitalization of books is coming. That’s because last week Google won a reversal of a court order that would have let authors challenge Google digitizing their books as a class action group. Google seeks to have the biggest collection of digitized books and has been working with libraries to copy all the works in them. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York won’t stop the Google Books Library Project so it seems like the free digitization of books is upon us.
What does this mean for authors? The jury is still out on where this could go, but if a song can’t me copied without permission, it’s safe to say a book has rights too. For now, although authors cannot sue as a group, but expect a couple of groundbreaking search cases to gain notoriety.
Google has already digitized over 20 million books and “fair use” doctrine will be important in deciding how authors can be paid. Books have an educational component most music (especially these days) doesn’t have and while you can’t argue with the ‘greater good’ theory Google is utilizing, everything costs. Expect this debate to drag on and become the subject of its own book- soon to be digitized by Google and challenged by the Authors Guild.