Three Hundred Years Since the Statute of Anne, from 1709 to Cyberspace
Edited by Lionel Bently, Uma Suthersanen and Paul Torremans
Chapter 19: Google Book Search
Harjinder Obhi* INTRODUCTION The Google Book Search project is perhaps the archetypal paradigm of a modern digitization initiative. This paper, based on a presentation given by the author in June 2009 at the ALAI Congress, London, will examine and discuss two aspects of it: the Google Book Search project in Europe; and the proposed settlement agreement in the USA relating to the class action proceedings concerning Google Book Search. Readers should note that this paper was written in September 2009 and by the time it is published some of the information in it may have been superseded. 2 GOOGLE AND BOOKS: WHY? It is worth starting off by asking a couple of questions: ● ● Why is Google interested in books? What is Google’s philosophy about Book Search? To answer these, it is necessary to go back in time to around the mid 1990s, before Google existed. At that time, Larry Page and Sergey Brin (who both later became co-founders of Google) were conducting PhD research in computer science at Stanford University, California. Part of their work was on research supported by the Stanford Digital Library Technologies Project. The dream was to devise technology that would enable people to search the content of books in a useful way: for instance, to enable a reader to identify a specific, interesting and relevant book out of a huge number of books. The technology that Larry Page and Sergey Brin created for books inspired them to produce an internet search engine, which they later named...
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