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Google Inc. wants the digital rights to millions of books badly enough that it’s willing to take on the U.S. Department of Justice in a court battle over whether the internet search leader’s book-scanning ambitions would break antitrust and copyright laws—a battle with important implications for students, teachers, scholars, and researchers.
The stage for the showdown was set Feb. 11 with a Google court filing that defended the $125 million settlement of a class-action lawsuit the company reached with U.S. authors and publishers more than 14 months ago.
Google’s 67-page filing includes a rebuttal to the Justice Department’s belief that the settlement would thwart competition in the book market and undermine copyright law. The brief also tries to overcome a chorus of criticism from several of its rivals, watchdog groups, state governments, and even some foreign governments.…Read More
Students who are blind, have low vision, or have a learning disability that requires computer-generated speech and highlighted text soon will have more resources after publisher Flat World Knowledge announced Dec. 14 that it will make its content available to Bookshare, the largest web-based library for people with print disabilities.
Bookshare, which has 75,000 members worldwide, will add 11 new digital textbooks to its online library, which has been bolstered in the past year by contributions from colleges and universities hoping to bring reading material to students who can’t see standard print or can’t turn a page.
The first Flat World Knowledge peer-reviewed textbooks on Bookshare will be for economics and business. The partnership is expected to produce about 50 more books–covering algebra, genetics, sociology, and a range of other subjects–that will be released over the next two years, according to an announcement from Bookshare, which launched in 2002.…Read More