microsoft enlists big libraries but won’t push copyright envelope

In a significant challenge to Google, Microsoft has struck deals with the University of California (all ten campuses) and the University of Toronto to incorporate their vast library collections – nearly 50 million books in all – into Windows Live Book Search. However, a majority of these books won’t be eligible for inclusion in MS’s database. As a member of the decidedly cautious Open Content Alliance, Windows Live will restrict its scanning operations to books either clearly in the public domain or expressly submitted by publishers, leaving out the huge percentage of volumes in those libraries (if it’s at all like the Google five, we’re talking 75%) that are in copyright but out of print. Despite my deep reservations about Google’s ascendancy, they deserve credit for taking a much bolder stand on fair use, working to repair a major market failure by rescuing works from copyright purgatory. Although uploading libraries into a commercial search enclosure is an ambiguous sort of rescue.

One thought on “microsoft enlists big libraries but won’t push copyright envelope

  1. bowerbird

    would you rather have
    “an ambiguous sort of rescue”
    or none at all?
    some research indicates the u.s. government
    is spending $177 million _per_day_ in iraq,
    yet somehow cannot find the fundage to pay
    the one-time cost of $250 million to scan
    the 10 million unique books in our libraries.
    that’s right, the $354 million that evaporates
    off the desert floor of the mideast every 2 days
    would build us quite an impressive cyberlibrary.
    so let’s be glad for our “ambiguous” rescuers…

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