In this week’s exciting installment of Library Journal Academic Newswire, are these two articles: ALPSP joins Google Print battle, issues strong statement, and Google supporters plead their case.

Here’s the Association for Learned Professional and Society Publishers’ “strong statement”: Google Print for Libraries — ALPSP position statement. Strong like noxious, I would suggest.

Permitting publishers to ‘opt out’ is not an acceptable substitute for proper licensing in the first place…

Gosh, does that apply to ordinary people too? Is permitting consumers to opt out of, say, receiving credit card pre-approvals not an acceptable substitute for properly getting my permission to sell my name to credit card companies? If only it worked that way.

Here’s the Google supporters pleading: Don’t Stop Google, from the Cato Institute.

This piece has a nice explanation of the position that Google’s use of copyright materials falls under fair use. The problem I see here is that one of the four factors for determining fair use is the “amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole,” & Google scanning whole books clearly crosses that line. But the Cato Institute piece suggests that Google Print is a transformative use, which to me is a compelling counter-argument.

Someone please please do a study of the impact of the existence of an electronic version of books on print sales? And this has to be a really impartial, third-party study, not something sponsored by the AAP or the EFF or anyone like that. In his talk at UNC last year, Cory Doctorow said that the entertainment industry is dragged kicking and screaming to the money tree every time a new technology comes along. Of course, the ALPSP is noble, they don’t care about money, they just want to be good law-abiding corporate citizens:

Google has … stated that… the copying is justified by the beneficial nature of the resultant use (which is no defence, in our view, against a copyright infringement).

So if it were found that the existence of an electronic version of a book actually increases print sales, that the resultant use is actually beneficial to publishers, well, the ALPSP would still be issuing strong statements, no doubt.