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Old 06-16-2005   #1
dannysullivan
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Google Library Agreement With University Of Michigan Published

Looks like Everyman's request over in the Something fishy with Google library project came through. The University Of Michigan has just posted its agreement with Google. It's here, in PDF format: http://www.lib.umich.edu/mdp/um-goog...-agreement.pdf, and general info about the project there is here, http://www.lib.umich.edu/mdp/. I haven't yet read through it myself, but please, everyone take a look and comment.
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Old 06-17-2005   #2
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I have some observations after reading this thing. Either the U of M decided that Google deserved a big fat Christmas present last December, or U of M's lawyers all had hangovers from a Christmas party.

Google gets to do anything it wants with the public domain material it digitizes, and U of M cannot do anything with this material other than use it on their own website, assuming that measures are taken to prevent crawling, scraping, or other types of automatic retrieval. As for copyrighted material, Google decides what is "fair use" and what isn't, and U of M is out of the picture.

The only place where I saw the word "privacy" in the agreement is here:

"4.5.2 Google shall maintain on its website a privacy policy that governs collection and use of information that Google obtains from a user of the Google Search Services."

That is absolutely worthless. We know this because every privacy policy Google has published on their website is absolutely worthless. Every single one is full of loopholes, assuming you can find anything concrete in them to begin with.

This was interesting:

"6.3 Confidentiality (Exceptions) Google understands that U of M, as a public institution, is subject to the Michigan Freedom of Information Act, and any disclosure of Confidential Information required by that statute will not constitute a breach of this agreement."

The whole agreement was confidential. The U of M is the only one of the five libraries that is not private, and subject to government regulation. Clearly, Google was hoping that no one would notice. They were almost right -- it was nearly five months before I decided to search for "freedom of information" and "university of michigan." Shame on me, and shame on the American Library Association, who should be on top of this. But the most shame on Google and the U of M, who should have taken one look at the situation and decided to abandon all the confidentiality language from the start.

This is, after all, clearly a public policy issue. Remember, Google is on a mission from God to organize all the world's information. That's just about as public as you can get.
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Old 06-17-2005   #3
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I like the name of the file: um-... Sounds like they didn't know what to call it

4.5.1 Gives Google Carte blanche, but 4.4.* seems abit more restrictive.

Hmmm... while I think the idea is a goodish one, it is a bit frightening that only one place (Google) will have all the data, and the various Universities only there own stuff.
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Old 06-18-2005   #4
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"4.4.1 ... U of M shall restrict access to the U of M Digital Copy to those persons having a need to access such materials and shall also cooperate in good faith with Google to mutually develop methods and systems for ensuring that the substantial portions of the U of M Digital Copy are not downloaded from the services offered on U of M's website or otherwise disseminated to the public at large."

Interpretation:

1) You can only use it on your website.

2) Keep out all automated retrieval, and prevent redistribution by third parties.

3) And also (this is the portion quoted above), make sure your website remains a wimpy website with insignificant traffic, or we'll sue your ass.

A picture is worth a thousand lawyers:

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Old 06-18-2005   #5
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LOL. Nice pic

I don't like the implication taht the various Uni's programmes can't be amalgamated as a project outside of Google, i.e. we can't create our own Uni search based upon a consolidation of all sets of data.

That seems a bit, not sure of the word. Unfair combined with unfortunate combined with icky. Interesting...
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Old 06-18-2005   #6
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Interesting coverage of the issue at Cnet:
http://news.com.com/Privacy+issues+w...l?tag=nefd.top
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Old 06-18-2005   #7
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I predict that the University of Michigan's current intention of providing their entire seven-million-book collection to Google will not stand. This will be true even though the logistics of the digitizing process are locked in until 2009, and the terms and conditions of use of the digital files are perpetual, according to the language in the contract.

In the first place, Google does not have the right to challenge the University, if the library simply says that certain types of material are unavailable for digitization. The University has an "easy out" in this respect. It's almost the only item in the contract language that wasn't conceded to Google by the University.

The University of Michigan is wide open to a restraining order over copyright issues. UM is the only one of the five libraries to openly brag that they expect their entire collection will be digitized by Google. Stanford has insinuated as much, but is also more inclined to work with Google incrementally, and wait to see what happens further down the road. This is the impression I get from reading the public statements of University and library officials at UM and Stanford. The other three libraries, Harvard, the New York Public Library, and Oxford, are not willing to hand over copyrighted material to Google.

There are copyright issues that Google must deal with once they own the digital files. These involve the definition of "fair use." But at this point, this aspect of copyright law is not the potential show-stopper. The immediate question is, does the University of Michigan have the right to turn over copyrighted material to Google for the express purpose of digitization by Google? That's the show-stopper.

Put it this way: You walk into the library down the street with a big bag full of quarters. You take a book down from the shelf, one which is copyrighted and cannot be checked out, and you start copying from page one. Many librarians would be nervous about allowing you to do this under current copyright law, even if they choose not to stop you.

This is exactly what Google is doing, except that they have seven million bags of quarters, and the University is telling Google, "Wonderful, here's the next cart of books for you! Can we be of further assistance?" It's not going to fly in the long run. The Association of American University Presses will probably not file suit, because their member organizations are from campuses, where anti-copyright librarians hang out. No one likes internal wars. But Google has also sparked the interest of major for-profit publishers. It would not take much to make the University of Michigan sufficiently nervous over liability issues, so that they decide to withhold all copyrighted material from Google until this matter is resolved.

But I dwell on copyright issues only because it's the weakest link for the University of Michigan. Other issues are very important, even if they don't have a similar level of legal support. Even if Google can't get any copyrighted material from libraries, they can still get the public domain material. There's a lot of public domain material that Google would love to acquire. That's the point at which these other issues will become more interesting.

First, we have the cultural issue and the censorship issue. If Google has a near-monopoly on digitized books, which books will they choose to make available through web search services? Mostly English or lots of languages? Is Karl Marx okay? What about a book on explosives? How about that glowing biography of Osama bin Laden that's in the public domain? I defer to Europe on this issue, because they're more aware of the implications than I am.

Second, we have the monetization issue. Google will not impose a "direct charge" for access to their digital books, but we all know that there are dozens of ways to monetize their asset indirectly. Some of these are intrusive, and an insult to our cultural heritage and our self-respect. Will Google care, as long as they are making money and their stockholders are happy?

Third, there is the privacy issue. This is the issue that interests librarians. You'll be hearing more about this, I hope. However, there's almost no "legal juice" behind the privacy issue, even though it's an issue that, unlike the other issues, will cause many librarians to have second thoughts about Google's project. Even the House of Representatives voted this past week to curb the FBI and Justice Department from the access to library and bookstore records that was granted under the USA Patriot Act.

There are a lot of people who "get it" when privacy issues are connected to intellectual freedom, and librarians are in the lead on this. Right now most of them think a cookie is something you eat, not something that Google plants on your browser. I hope that will change.

-- Daniel Brandt
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Old 06-22-2005   #8
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I believe that many interested people are unable to access that bloated 1.7 meg PDF image file that the Univ. Michigan posted. Even if you can access it, you still cannot do keyword searches on it. I had it on my site for a few days, and then noticed in the logs that most people who tried to access it had to try two or three times, and the byte count in the log was different each time -- and my server has good connectivity! The web isn't ready for bloated PDF files like this.

I printed out the PDF file and created a HTML file by doing OCR and also GIF files on the 12 pages.

If I were Google, the mere fact that I took the trouble to do this means that I own the copyright on this new version of their contract. However, I decided to be generous, and this HTML file is the only file on all my sites that does not have a NOARCHIVE meta in the headers. That means Google is free to violate my copyright on this file with its crawlers, and offer this file as a cache link.

I'm generous with Google's secret contracts!
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Old 06-26-2005   #9
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Ms. Sally Churchill
Vice President and Secretary
University of Michigan

June 26, 2005

Dear Ms. Churchill:

Because you are the most-direct representative of the Board of Regents at the University of Michigan, I wish to advise you that yesterday I sent, by fax and first-class mail, a letter to President Mary Sue Coleman.

This letter points out two pieces of evidence about the University's relationship with Google Inc., which show that at this moment in time, the University is in violation of U.S. copyright law. The letter asks Ms. Coleman to instruct the library to withhold all copyrighted material from Google.

The two pieces of evidence are as follows:

1) http://www.lib.umich.edu/mdp/overview.pdf

This file was created by Mr. John Wilkin on December 13, 2004. He is the University librarian who is in charge of the Google Library Project on your campus. It includes a screen shot that proves the library is aware that Google has a commercial interest in obtaining access to the University's copyrighted material.

2) http://www.lib.umich.edu/mdp/um-goog...-agreement.pdf

This is the agreement between Google and the University. It shows that two digital copies will be made. Google gets one copy and the University gets the second copy.

Section 108 of U.S. copyright law makes it illegal for the University to provide Google with access to copyrighted material owned by the University, in the manner detailed in either of these two pieces of evidence.

In a University press release dated December 14, 2004, Ms. Coleman is quoted as follows:

"We are exhilarated to join a partnership with Google that perfectly advances our mission as a great public university to share knowledge within the academic community and far beyond it. This project signals an era when the printed record of civilization is accessible to every person in the world with Internet access. It is an initiative with tremendous impact today and endless future possibilities."

In view of the enthusiasm with which Ms. Coleman supports the agreement with Google, I expect that my letter will be disregarded. Therefore, I request that this matter be placed on the agenda for the next meeting of the Board of Regents.

A copy of my letter to Ms. Coleman is available at:
http://www.google-watch.org/busted.html

Thank you,
Daniel Brandt
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