The American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries, and the Association of Research Libraries (the Library Associations) have penned an official endorsement of the Google Book Search settlement.
From the ALA, ACRL, ARL letter:
We believe that the settlement has the potential to provide unprecedented public access to a digital library containing millions of books. Thus,
the settlement could advance the core mission of the Library Associations and our members: providing patrons with access to information in all forms, including books.
We expressed our belief that but for the settlement, the services it enables would not come into existence in the near term. A class action settlement provides perhaps the most efficient mechanism for cutting the Gordian knot of the huge transaction costs of clearing the copyrights in millions of works whose ownership often is obscure.
The letter also includes an expression of concern that “the settlement could compromise fundamental library values such as equity of access to information, patron privacy, and intellectual freedom.” The letter goes on to request that the Antitrust Division exercise close oversight of the Books Registry and the subscription pricing.
Peter Brantley of the Internet Archive has already registered his displeasure, but I’m guessing he is not the only member of the broader library community who will not be pleased that our major membership organizations have officially endorsed the settlement.