As we approach the September 15th status update which could signal the end of the road for the Google Books Settlement (especially now that the Authors Guild has filed a lawsuit against HathiTrust, which is the consortium of libraries that has received book scans from Google), it’s worth a step back to take a look at the broader picture that has emerged since we began this process almost three years ago.
But once the delays started and people had a chance to think about what Google was really doing, they began to ask questions and peel back some of the layers, attitudes began to change. People began to realize that Google, being a public corporation, might be motivated by money, and that every time that Google moves into another vertical market (like Book Search) it’s really a new source of consumer information that it can monetize and use to strengthen its dominant position. Seven years removed, the cross section of consumer advocates, librarians, authors and publishers that have publicly opposed the settlement is indicative of how far the Google Book Search project has fallen.
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