Google Takes More Heat For Digital Library Plans
A coalition of U.S. library associations has organized itself in a collective effort to force Google to keep access to its in-the-works digital library cheap. The library collective has already petitioned the federal Justice Department to monitor the project’s development and ensure that the Internet giant doesn’t charge too much for institutional subscriptions.
Together, the American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries and the Association of Research Libraries have requested that the federal government use its regulatory power to stymie any potential attempts by Google to charge prices that it deems too high for its digital library services.
A Paris court has ruled that Google is breaking French law with its policy of digitizing books, and has fined the company $14,300 a day until it rids its database of the literary extracts.
A French publishing executive said the ruling “shows Google that they are not the kings of the world and they can’t do whatever they want.” He added that French publishers would still like to work with Google to digitize their books, “but only if they stop playing around with us and start respecting intellectual property rights.”
Google plans to appeal the decision.
If you walk past the gift shop of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, or Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles, or Cheeseburger Baby in Miami, the chances are that you will see a sticker in the window that has a Google Maps logo and a one-inch-square with a series of pixelated black-and-white cubes called a QR Code.
In the coming weeks, Google plans to send out 100,000 of these stickers, each with their own QR code, to a new demographic of businesses Google is calling “Favorite Places”. These favorites are based on search results from users interacting with local business listings on Google Maps.
This week's podcast looks forward into the past with a replay of archival audio of President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressing the US Congress after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The dateline for this episode is the 78th anniversary of the event.
Also presented in the podcast was a brief discussion of the late-breaking story of Comcast's attempt to acquire a controlling interest in NBC Universal. There was originally going to be discussion of remarks by Rupert Murdoch concerning why news online should never have been free in the first place. The Comcast-NBC matter took precedence.
FDR's speech at Archive.org
This installment of Profile America
MSNBC reporting on the Comcast-NBC matter
Greg Sandoval at CNET discussing the Comcast-NBC matter
One Reuters story on the Comcast-NBC matter
Another Reuters story in the matter
Discussion at the Erie Looking Productions blog of the recent coverage of remarks by Rupert Murdoch
MSNBC relaying an AP report on Google's new attempt to restrict how users can reach news sites
Linux Outlaws, a show produced by Sixgun Productions
They say all politics is local. Search can be local, too: An Angeleno is less likely to search for information about the T than a Bostonian. For some local flavor, Google found these popular searches unique to specific U.S. cities. Library related searches show up on 12 cities.
Amid criticism from media companies that it is unfairly profiting from news content, Google is closing a loophole that allowed some motivated newshounds to read large numbers of articles on subscription-based sites without paying for them.
The company’s “First Click Free” program, which publishers of pay sites can choose to participate in, is designed to allow readers to get a taste of a site’s content. For example, a person who finds a Wall Street Journal article through Google News can read it free, but if they try to reach other articles from that page they are asked to buy a subscription.
Rolling Back The Clock
By Stephen Michael Kellat, Erie Looking Productions
1 December 2009
As a podcast presenter, I do listen to other programs out there. While the astute observer would note that LISTen: An LISNews.org Podcast leans right, my own listening does not lean always that way. One program originating from public service television TVO in the Canadian province of Ontario is called Search Engine.
This program is unique as it started out as a radio program with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, became a podcast hosted by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and now is a podcast hosted by TVO. In many respects Search Engine is a program fairly similar to LISTen but originates from Canada and lacks the focus on library and information science applied issues LISTen has. The program's most recent episode is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike 2.5 Canada license which would make it appropriate to be burnt to audio compact disc for distribution to library patrons as previously discussed on LISTen in a sort of variation on slot radio.
It being Tuesday, Search Engine host Jesse Brown released another episode. This episode discussed the recent remarks by media mogul Rupert Murdoch. Although Murdoch was incorrectly identified as a citizen of Australia, which has not been the case for decades. Murdoch was bound by law to hold United States citizenship alone if he wanted to own television stations there. The Adelaide native recently presented what seemed like startling ideas. Murdoch is against cost-free content online and wants to challenge the validity of the fair use doctrine in court. Murdoch also indicated he felt that his lawyers would persevere.
Throughout the course of the episode, Brown puzzled through the matter with a guest as to what it might mean for the Internet. To a student of librarianship, this is not as troubling as it might have seemed to Brown and his guest. Indeed, Rupert Murdoch was not proposing anything new for the knowledge ecology. What Murdoch instead proposed was essentially the turning back of the clock to a time when search engines like Google and Yahoo did not exist and you had to search first with Lexis-Nexis and/or the venerable DIALOG where your access times were metered and next to nothing was free in the databases there.
Lexis-Nexis is not gone as a search tool for news stories let alone legal information. DIALOG still exists and still has quite active databases like World News Connection, produced by the CIA's Open Source Center that derives intelligence from openly published rather than covert sources, that are the public releases of data that already inform leaders like President Obama. The paradigm that Murdoch seeks is to impose the ways of DIALOG and Lexis-Nexis on the rest of the Internet. Even there, this more harkens back to the early days of information services like Prodigy and America Online/AOL than to today's Internet.
What does this mean for the future of the knowledge ecology? Unfortunately it means little until actual action is taken. Until then the order of the day is speculation.
Rolling Back The Clock by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at erielookingproductions.info.
Over in the blogs at ZDNet, Tom Foremski raises an interesting point. While conventional thinking would paint as folly the statements by News Corp about pulling out of the Google search infrastructure, Google may lose far more than News Corp might in the matter.