Re: Another Viewpoint
That's a tough one.. As long as Google does the copying/digitising just for internal reference, as in : being able to provide those searchable snippets, then it may still be "fair use". Even if it's done on an "industrial" scale, the originals do not come in digitised format, and have to be processed to be used that way. At Google's own cost.
In a sense they're doing nothing else than "reading" the books, putting a classification system on it, and provide excerpts to those interested. Similar to how libraries use the Dewey Decimal system, with Uni libraries often offering the title + abstract in some format free of charge to see whether or not a certain book/article is indeed what you're looking for. It's simply that digitised books allow a wider range of offering abstracts/quotes/partial reproductions.
If they go as far as publishing the works in their database in whole, either as-is, OCR'ed or edited, then they'd need to make a deal with any right holders, obviously, but not before.
The court case in question clearly found that the way Google is going about things currently is within limits, although they're skirting the edge there. They may actually move on to actually publishing, either directly or through a subsidiary. There's a market in "legacy" titles, and quite a lot of books are only available as Antiques and damned. hard. to. find. let alone get access to, in fiction and non-fiction. Both from a viewpoint of preservation and availibility this would be a Good Thing. It's a massive undertaking, and only a giant like Google really has the resources free to pull this off. Someone needs to cough up the cash, technology and man-hours to do all this. May as well be Google. And yes, as far as I'm concerned they are welcome to a fair return on their effort on this. It's far preferable to me than datamining search habits while skirting privacy issues. At least this would class as actual "work" and "added value".