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August 24, 2011

Google Books contract with the British Library

Thanks to the persistence of Javier Ruiz of the British Open Rights Group, you can now read [pdf] the contract between the British Library and Google Books. Google has shrouded its book digitization contracts in non-disclosures wrapped in lead sheathing that is then buried in collapsed portions of the Wieliczka salt mines. It took a Freedom of Information Act request by Javier to get access, and Google restricts further re-distribution.

Javier points out that the contract is non-exclusive, although the cost of re-digitizing is a barrier. Also, while the contract allows non-commercial research into the scanned corpus, Google gets to decide which research to allow. “There is also a welcome clause explicitly allowing for metadata to be included in the Europeana database,” Javier reports.