Cornell University Library Submits Comments to Court on Google Books Settlement

Contact: Gwen Glazer
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Letter Supports Agreement with Reservations

ITHACA, N.Y. (Sept. 10, 2009) – In a letter to the New York District Court, Cornell University Library stated its support for the proposed settlement in the Google Books Search case. The Library believes the agreement is an efficient mechanism to provide access to the content of books, creating an inestimable benefit to researchers while at the same time compensating rightsholders.

Digital access breathes new life into older material,” said Anne R. Kenney, Carl A. Kroch University Librarian. “Our Library is committed to making our extensive collections available to as many people as possible. Google Books brings formerly inaccessible books to the public at large, and we support that ideal both in principle and in practice.”

The Library recommended that the court approve the settlement, which resolves a dispute between Google and authors and publishers who claim the company violated copyright law by digitizing and displaying snippets of their work without permission. Judge Denny Chin will decide the fate of the agreement after an Oct. 7 fairness hearing.

The Library also specified potential problems with the agreement, however. One of those concerns centers on the potential for exploitive pricing of the Institutional Subscription that would allow research libraries to access the entire full-text database of Google Books material. A second concern relates to the need for academic representation in the governance of the proposed Books Rights Registry, which would manage compensation to authors and publishers.

Cornell University Library will continue its project to digitize at least a half-million books with Google over the course of six years. The company is seeking to make approximately 10 million digitized books available online through a searchable database.

Cornell’s partnership with Google began in August 2007. To date, Cornell has provided Google with 150,000 public domain and copyrighted items, including books on agriculture, environmental science, applied economics, and natural and biological sciences.

As a pioneer in digitization and preservation efforts, Cornell University Library has long supported broadening access to historical materials through its digital collections and has also partnered with the Internet Archive, Microsoft and Amazon to increase the availability of its holdings.

“This initiative supports the university’s goal to increase the impact of Cornell beyond campus boundaries,” said Kent Fuchs, Cornell University Provost. “Cornell University’s mission is to be a learning community that serves society by educating the leaders of tomorrow and extending the frontiers of knowledge. As New York’s land-grant university, Cornell applies the results of its endeavors to its alumni, the community, the state, the nation, and the world.”

About Cornell University Library
One of the leading academic research libraries in the United States, Cornell University Library is a highly valued partner in teaching, research and learning at Cornell University. The Library offers cutting-edge programs and a full spectrum of services, rare books and manuscripts and a growing network of digital resources. The Library’s outstanding collections – from medieval manuscripts to hip hop and from ancient Chinese texts to comic books – preserve the past and pave the way for future scholarship. To learn more about Cornell University Library, visit

Letter Supports Agreement with Reservations