“Just because they are taken out of the agreement doesn’t mean Google will stop scanning their books,” Pam Samuelson, director of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, said of the works from the other countries. “Google has already scanned many of their books.”
Samuelson and other critics are worried that as a result of Google having the only comprehensive collection of out-of-print books, there will not be competitive pressure on the company to keep prices fair. “The risk of price gouging over time is very high and universities in particular have experienced excessive increases in prices of scholarly journals over the last few years,” she said.
Samuelson reiterated her concerns about pricing at the Commonwealth panel event, adding that she doesn’t think Google will price gouge in the immediate future, but that it could happen in the longer term. Clancy made no assurances but mentioned something about there being alternatives, like physical books, and that “the platform is there to provide the protections.”