After an initial look at the newest version of the Google Book Search Project settlement (others have reviewed it in much more detail than I), my impression is that this project is going to be much less than it could have been.
The class of books included in the newest version of the settlement, for instance, seems much narrower than that in the original project goal: to search the world’s books. And the negotiations regarding access to “orphan” works remain muddled through the necessity of dealing with an arbitrary group of rightsholders created out of nothingness by the Author’s Guild and the Association of American Publishers. Much more broadly, however, I am disappointed that current copyright and antitrust laws intended to create and promote social value seem to have become, in practice, impediments to achieving that value.
Much of the controversy surrounding and delaying the resolution of the Google Book Search Project concerns revenues: either who will receive what portions of revenues from digital books right now, or who will receive what portions of those revenues in the future. While such concerns are not unimportant, they are also, given current circumstances, indeterminable. The future of the information marketplace is clearly a target that is moving too rapidly for lawyers and their briefcases to hit. Yet, even with the consequences of their aim uncertain, the slings and arrows of legalities continue to fly.
Here’s basically what I want to know: If new technology allows me to search the world’s books, why can’t I?
Could someone at the Department of Justice explain that to me?