Google pays small change to open every book in the world

Is there such a thing as a ‘win-win’ situation? Journalistic cynicism says no. What the phrase usually means is that some people get more than they deserve and others get less – but not so little that they scream blue murder. The big puzzle about the ‘ground-breaking settlement’ announced last week between Google and its legal opponents, the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers, is whether it really is – as all parties claim – a victory for everyone.Four years ago, Google embarked on a stupendous project to make digital copies of some of the world’s largest university library collections and incorporate the texts into its vast web index. The goal was to enable anyone, anywhere, to tap into huge academic libraries, some with texts dating back centuries.

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