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ALPSP-Sally Morris Statement Re. Google Digitizing

Of possible interest.  This statement can be found on the ALPSP Web site, 
at:  www.alpsp.org


Google Print for Libraries – ALPSP position statement ALPSP is the
international trade association for notforprofit publishers (learned
societies, university presses and others). ALPSP also represents others,
including commercial publishers, who work with nonprofits in the scholarly
and professional information chain. ALPSP currently has 340 members in
more than 30 countries of the world, between them publishing between
onethird and onehalf of the world’s peer reviewed journals; the majority
also publish books.

ALPSP has maintained close contact with Google during the development of
Google fulltext indexing and Google Print for Publishers. Indeed, the
Association has encouraged members to enable fulltext indexing of their
online publications, and published in April 2004 an ‘Advice Note’ on
‘Enabling Google to Index your Fulltext Content’, written for us by Kiran
Bapna and Anurag Acharya of Google. We also encouraged participation in
‘Google Print for Publishers’, mentioning it frequently in our members’
newsletter ALPSP Alert, and have reported the experience of those members
who do participate in either initiative.

Both of the above initiatives, however, are carried out in the context of
explicit agreements with participating publishers; thus, the copying and
resultant indexing of content which they entail is done with publishers’
permission and therefore does not infringe copyright. Publishers are free
to choose whether or not to participate, and to define the parameters of
their participation.

‘Google Print for Libraries’, on the other hand, was apparently developed
without any consultation with publishers. It entails making complete
digital copies of publications, including – in the case of some of the
participating libraries – works which are still in copyright. Irrespective
of whether the results may be damaging or beneficial to the copyright
owners, the fact remains that copying on such a scale is in clear
contravention of copyright law and is not covered by any exception in any
relevant legislation. Permitting publishers to ‘opt out’ is not an
acceptable substitute for proper licensing in the first place; while we
appreciate that publisherbypublisher negotiations could be impractical, by
working through representative trade organisations, or even collective
licensing agencies, it should be possible to negotiate a workable
licensing framework.

In our discussions with Google, a practical way forward has been found to
protect the sometimes very considerable investment of publishers who have
already digitised some of their publications (including outofcopyright
works, such as back runs of journals); such works may be included by the
publisher in the ‘Google Print for Publishers’ program, thus enabling them
to specify a source from which the content may be purchased, and to
control the extent to which the content may be displayed to the user.
ALPSP has publicised this solution to its members.

However, Google’s representatives do not yet seem willing to arrive at a
practical way forward in relation to incopyright works which the publisher
has not yet digitised. Google has variously stated that it wishes to
collaborate fully with publishers; that it believes that the copying
involved is covered by Fair Use/Fair Dealing (which we absolutely
dispute); that the precedent of Kelly v ArribaSoft is applicable (which we
also dispute); and that the copying is justified by the beneficial nature
of the resultant use (which is no defence, in our view, against a
copyright infringement).

The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers calls on
Google to cease unlicensed digitisation of copyright materials with
immediate effect, and to enter into urgent discussions with
representatives of the publishing industry in order to arrive at an
appropriate licensing solution for ‘Google Print for Libraries’. We cannot
believe that a business which prides itself on its cooperation with
publishers could seriously wish to build part of its business on a basis
of copyright infringement.

Sally Morris
Chief Executive, ALPSP
July 2005