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More Monopolistic Musings

An approved Google Book Settlement would deliver Google an online market free of competition.

That’s the conclusion of Technology Review’s Christopher Mims after parsing through University of Chicago Law professor Eric Fraser’s exhaustive paper on the GBS.

In distilling Fraser’s work, Mims notes that Google’s decision to copy first and ask forgiveness later means that no other organization can expect to compete on the same terms as those granted through the GBS.

Specifically, Mims reports that:

This means that under the current settlement, there is no reasonable expectation that a competitor to Google Books will or could ever arise. Because Google will be allowed to set prices more or less in collusion with publishers, this will give Google no effective competitors in this space. Google will be a de-facto monopoly. “The parties to the actual lawsuit–Google on the one side and authors/publishers on the other side–all benefit from the settlement agreement because it enables collusive pricing,” Fraser said via email.

Of course this is one of the myriad reasons that the Department of Justice and others opposed the revised settlement.

Meanwhile, while experts like Fraser chronicle monopolistic misgivings about the GBS, the folks at Google continue to crow about their ongoing book scanning.

On Thursday, Google engineering director James Crawford wrote about the project’s success at scanning, “more than 15 million books from more than 100 countries in over 400 languages as part of the Google Books project we started in 2004.”

Ironically, Mr. Crawford speaks to ongoing partnerships with librarians and authors as key to the project’s success.  Unfortunately, we know a few authors, librarians and publishers that would disagree.

Originally posted on The Open Book Alliance Blog by admin.
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Written by internetarchive

October 18, 2010 at 11:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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