A story this morning in the New York Times: that Google is placing adverts in print media all around the world, large and small, trying to find the owners of copyrights, as part of its agreement with publishers to handle in-copyright material.
As part of the class-action settlement, Google will pay $125 million to create a system under which customers will be charged for reading a copyrighted book, with the copyright holder and Google both taking percentages; copyright holders will also receive a flat fee for the initial scanning, and can opt out of the whole system if they wish.
But first they must be found. Since the copyright holders can be anywhere and not necessarily online — given how many books are old or out of print — it became obvious that what was needed was a huge push in that relic of the pre-Internet age: print. …
The almost comically sweeping attempt to reach the world’s entire literate population is a reflection of the ambitions of the Google Book Search project, in which the company hopes to digitize every book — famous or not, in any language, published anywhere on earth — found in the world’s libraries.
I had wondered whether Google was pushing forward with Google Books, now that Microsoft has pulled out of Live Books, but it seems so. Very good news. And this, remember, is for books that are in copyright.
Thanks to Slash.dot for the tip.