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Harvard Backs Out Of Google Book Scanning After Reading Settlement Fine Print

This story was written by Staci D. Kramer.
Harvard University Library was one of the first to sign on to Google's academic book scanning project, but officials say it won't take part in the copyright portion in response to the search company's $125 million settlement with authors and publishers. University spokesman John D. Longbrake told the Harvard Crimson that the library might still take part if the settlement terms are more "reasonable." The library had yet to allow any in-copyright scanning, sticking to copyright-expired works while the Association of American Publishers ran its course.

The Crimson posted excerpts from a letter to library staff from University Library Director Robert C. Darnton explaining concerns: "As we understand it, the settlement contains too many potential limitations on access to and use of the books by members of the higher education community and by patrons of public libraries. The settlement provides no assurance that the prices charged for access will be reasonable, especially since the subscription services will have no real competitors [and] the scope of access to the digitized books is in various ways both limited and uncertain."

The settlement has yet to be approved by a New York district court.

By Staci D. Kramer

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