September 23, 2005 | By Donna Wentworth

Patry Reverses Course on Google Print Library Project

William Patry, a highly respected copyright lawyer, law professor, and former copyright counsel to the US House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary, has decided he was too hasty when he criticized the Google Print library project:

My initial, negative reactions to Google's project reflected, as it should not have, partisan jockeying. The legal issue remains the same, however: whether copying of an entire work without authorization is an infringement where the ultimate user is able to see only a few sentences of the original. Since fair use is an unconsented to use, the fact that publishers object doesn't matter, regardless of the chutzpadik way Google may have handled the issue (The Second Circuit is divided on whether bad faith is a fair use factor).


So in the Google project, why should we care if there are server copies? The purposes for the copies in connection with the Print Library project is to give people access to knowledge about the existence of the book as well as a tiny amount of text. That is of great help to researchers and hopefully to authors and publishers of the books too. It in no way harms copyright owners unless the project becomes something else, namely a full-text service which then is a market substitute.

We agree.

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