|Weekly News Digest
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Open Book Alliance Urges a Public Guardian for Digital Book DatabaseóNot Google
In advance of the Feb. 18 final fairness court hearing for the proposed Google Book settlement, the Open Book Alliance (www.openbookalliance.org) has called on Congress to help establish a digital book database operated by a neutral, nonprofit organization (www.openbookalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/OBA-Congressional-Letter-FINAL.pdf). The letter asks legislators to set up a neutral system that provides greater access to books, respects the rights of authors and publishers, and doesn't grant undue power to any single company.
The letter outlines the way to fully maximize the potential of the mass digitization of books:
- Open Process: Only an open and deliberative conversation in Congress will appropriately weigh the concerns of all stakeholders and create bright-line laws that apply equally to all consumers, companies and stakeholders.
- Public Guardian: To ensure the widest participation by content holders and greatest public benefit, the digital book database should be entrusted to a neutral, civic, not-for-profit organization. Respected librarians, like Harvard's Robert Darnton, have suggested a public guardian that is a not for profit or public sector library, such as the Library of Congress. In a similar vein, the governments of France and the Netherlands have entrusted public institutions with the administration of digital libraries.
- Public Interest: Any successful digitization effort must not be exclusive to a single for-profit company as a result of legal arrangements delivering unfair monopoly. It also must uphold the rights of authors and copyright.
Source: Open Book Alliance
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