Wednesday, May 25, 2011

'Demise of Google Newspaper Archive Shows Need for National Digital Library Policy' ... today at Beyond Chron

Demise of Google Newspaper Archive Shows Need for National Digital Library Policy

by Irvin Muchnick

Google last week suspended its gargantuan project to scan and archive the historical content of all the world’s newspapers. The Boston Phoenix explained the development in detail.

A federal court has already thrown out the Google Books class-action settlement, which was negotiated by a publishers’ trade group and the sellout, private-spirited Authors Guild. Meanwhile, the world waits … and waits … and waits … for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to rule on objections by myself and others to an even worse sellout – really, a giveaway – by three writers’ organizations to just about the entire periodicals industry. (The case was known at the Supreme Court as Reed Elsevier v. Muchnick when the justices last year kicked it back to lower courts for adjudication of the merits.)

Google’s abandonment of its newspaper archive plan is one more illustration of why the new publishing landscape needs clear information superhighway rules of the road.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Waiting for the Second Circuit's 'Freelance' Decision

We continue to wait for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision on the merits of the Freelance settlement objections.

I expect the ruling to be in our favor, but emphasize that I have no inside information to that effect. The recent decision on the Google Books case at the U.S. District Court level by Judge Denny Chin is not any kind of official precursor. Judge Chin now serves on the Second Circuit but he is not on the three-judge panel considering Freelance. The two cases do have certain striking similarities, and we've commented on them.

I've moderated a comment by an anonymous reader who listed names and phone numbers of people to call at the court, and suggested calling them directly to lobby for a decision sooner rather than later. I don't agree that that would be constructive. We don't know why the court hasn't ruled yet and we don't control the timetable of the judicial system.