Library associations release guide to Google Book Search amended agreement

The American Library Association (ALA), the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) announce the release of “A Guide for the Perplexed Part II: The Amended Google-Michigan Agreement.” The amendment represents important additions and this guide provides an overview to help librarians better understand the revised terms.

The University of Michigan, one of the original participating libraries in the Google Book project, recently entered into an amended agreement that will govern the relationship between Google and Michigan if the proposed Google Book Search settlement is approved by the judge.

Jonathan Band, author of “A Guide for the Perplexed: Libraries and the Google Library Project Settlement,” has provided a concise description of the Google-Michigan amended terms. The document highlights some rights and responsibilities of participating libraries, including the following:

  • Michigan and any partner library can initiate a review of the pricing of the institutional subscription to determine whether the price properly meets the objectives set forth in the settlement agreement.
  • Google must provide to partner libraries information on books, such as whether Google is treating the book as in the public domain and whether a book is being excluded from any display uses for editorial or non-editorial reasons.
  • Google will provide Michigan with a free institutional subscription for at least 25 years.
  • Michigan is permitted to provide digital copies of the public domain books to academic institutions and research or public libraries for non-commercial research, scholarly, or academic purposes, as long as the library uses reasonable efforts to prevent bulk downloads of the copies.

Last month, ALA, ARL, and ACRL filed a brief with the Court in the Southern District of New York, identifying specific concerns that the court could address through vigorous ongoing oversight over the implementation of the settlement provisions.

The deadline for authors to opt out of the settlement and for groups to submit comments to the court has been extended to Sept. 4, 2009.