University of California Libraries Statement Regarding the Federal Court Decision on the Proposed Google Books Amended Settlement Agreement
March 23, 2011
The University of California Libraries have contributed more than three million volumes to the Google book digitization project whose proposed Settlement a federal judge rejected yesterday. The decision does not dim our hope that a path can be found for public access to out-of-print works. Many academic fields are dependent on this cultural record, and its conversion to digital form is the necessary basis for future innovation in scholarship.
The proposed Settlement Agreement would have made millions of out-of-print books available to a wide audience for reading, consultation, and large-scale computational research, including services for print-disabled users. We recognize that the proposed Settlement the judge reviewed had many stakeholders, each with a different perspective. The sheer number and complexity of issues that the Settlement brought forth is itself a testament to the importance of the written record in our national and intellectual life. The Settlement’s attempt to creatively address many of these issues should spur new efforts to reach a national consensus on such intractable questions as the legitimate use of in-copyright works and the status and permissible use of works whose rights holders cannot be located. Faculty on UC campuses have led the search for such solutions, and our libraries will be talking with them about next steps.
While this national conversation continues, the UC Libraries remain committed to the digitization of our important research collections for current and future generations of students and scholars. Many of the activities that we would have undertaken in the context of the Settlement—assisting rights holders in opening up their works to broad digital uses, advocating for "orphan works" legislation, providing appropriate services for the print disabled, and championing the Fair Use provisions in copyright law—are ones that we will continue to pursue. In the meantime, a searchable corpus of the digitized collections held securely by the UC Libraries and other major research libraries across the country obtained in large measure through the Google partnership is available to users today via the HathiTrust at http://www.hathitrust.org/.