'Orphan' Tug of War

Inside Higher Ed


Penned by Pamela Samuelson, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, the letter says its signatories have the same goal that a number of advocacy groups and institutions argued for when they filed briefs supporting the settlement in September: They want the millions of books in Google’s database to be as available as possible.

But the letter says that the infrastructure of the project proposed by the settlement, which has been amended since September, was designed with an eye to profit, not access. It blames the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers, the two major entities with whom Google is trying to settle, for collaborating with Google on a model that would withhold free access to the unclaimed “orphan works” that are believed to make up about 20 percent of its database -- instead putting them behind a subscription pay wall.