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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

A last post on GBS

There is so much coming out about the Google Book Settlement court decision that it seems redundant now to repost links here on FGI. I did think it might be useful to weed through so many and post a few highlights here and that’s what I have been trying to do (here and here and here and here).

Even though most of the GBS controversy is over copyrighted materials and most government information is not copyrighted, I believe that this issue is relevant to government information. That relevance relates to who will control information access and how we will build our digital libraries. The Settlement and the trends it was promoting were not good for the public, for privacy of reading, or for libraries. As google relentlessly blocked full access to most scanned government publications, the HathiTrust made most of those same publications publicly available. The press has repeatedly referred to what google was building as a “library” and continues to do so now, even though the judge explicitly said it was not (“The Google Book Search initiative envisioned in the [agreement] is not a library… It is instead a complex and large-scale commercial enterprise in which Google — and Google alone — will obtain a license to sell millions of books for decades to come.”) Google transformed what it originally described as indexing (in the same way that it indexes web-pages) — and therefore fair use, into a giant bookstore in which it would sell access to individuals and sell and limit access to libraries.

What happens next may turn those trends around and give us a better chance of going beyond google’s avowed policy of making money without doing evil, to a more enlighted policy of actually doing good for our communities.

In that spirit, here are a few more links on the GBS decision.

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