Google, UC, disclose library scan terms

The contract between Google and the University of California has been released to the public,

The University of California has released a copy of its contract with Google to have the search engine giant digitize millions of books from the university's libraries.

The document shines a light on the type of agreement Google is reaching with some of the world's largest academic libraries as part of its controversial project to scan portions of their collections.

The University of California decided to post the contract publicly to satisfy a "general interest" in the document, a university official said via e-mail. The disclosure follows a formal request to obtain a copy of the document filed by IDG News Service in mid-August with the university. The contract can be viewed at

The University of California announced earlier this month its agreement to make millions of books from its more than 100 libraries searchable on the Google Book Search service ( by joining the Google Books Library Project, which also includes the University of Michigan, Harvard University, Stanford University, Oxford University and the New York Public Library.

The library portion of the Google Book Search service has landed Google in hot water with some publishers and authors. The Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the Authors Guild separately sued Google over the program, alleging Google can't scan copyrighted works it obtains from libraries unless it gets permission from copyright holders.

The contract with the University of California grants Google "sole discretion" in its use of scanned material in its online services, subject to copyright restrictions that may apply to some scanned books. Google agrees that it and its "successors" will not charge end users for searching and viewing search results containing digitized material, nor for access to the display of the full text of public domain works.

The contract doesn't mention any dollar figures or details of financial arrangements. It is set to run for six years, but it can be terminated earlier. After six years, it will be renewed automatically every year until the parties agree to end the project.

During the agreement's duration, Google will provide "searchable access" to the scanned items at no charge to the university and its patrons via a Web site hosted by Google.

The university agreed not to charge or receive payment "or other consideration" for services it provides that use the scanned material, except for supplementary services, such as copying costs or access to annotations. The university is also forbidden from sharing, licensing or selling the material to any third party. It can distribute no more than 10 percent of the scanned material to other libraries and educational institutions for academic purposes.

The agreement calls for the university to provide no less than 2.5 million volumes to the digitization project. The university committed to providing Google with access to at least 600 books per day during the first 60 days of the project, and to later increase that number to at least 3,000 books per day.

The contract hints at the nitty-gritty process of removing items from the libraries, transporting them to the scanning facilities and returning them safely and unharmed back to their shelves. If the university determines that Google didn't return the books "in substantially the same condition," Google will have to either replace the affected items or reimburse the university. Google also generally commits to returning the books within 10 business days of retrieving them, and never later than 15 business days.

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Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
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