In Perpetuity: UC’s Agreement with Google

The UC agreement with Google is now public.

Key provisions are in Section 4, which restricts the University’s use of the digital copies, and Section 8, which says those prohibitions are forever (“survive expiration or termination of this agreement.”) UC is essentially barred from entering into pooling agreements with other universities, and other provisions ensure that no entity other than Google or UC may develop an alternative search engine or finding aid.

The library community knows, or should know from the Showtime deal, that perpetual restrictions on the use digital copies are not in the public interest.

More coverage in the Chronicle of Higher Education, which was one of the parties that made an open records request to UC. The article has a nice quote from Brewster Kahle: “We want a public library system in the digital age, but what we are getting is a private library system controlled by a single corporation.

3 thoughts on “In Perpetuity: UC’s Agreement with Google”

  1. Perhaps I have missed something in the contract, but I interpret its clauses in section 4 to only restrict UC’s ability to redistribute the “University Digital Copy” provided to the university by Google. See especially 4.9

    Unless I have just overlooked the appropriate clause, this means that UC can enter into all manner of other pooling agreements, provided they re-scan the books.

    While I’m not a fan of the restrictions Google has placed on the university, it would seem understandable that Google, as a corporation, would want to guarantee that, after all the effort of scanning the materials up, libraries or other entities cannot immediately turn around and use those same scanned images and OCR data to create a free and competing service.

    If my interpretation is accurate then we cannot compare to the Showtime deal, where access is restricted and the freedom of other efforts such as the Open Content Alliance to digitize materials will not be hampered other than by a university’s opposition to having its materials repeatedly scanned and OCRed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *