When a federal judge threw out the class-action settlement in the Google Books case last week, he brought an end, at least for now, to one of the boldest initiatives the search giant has ever undertaken.
Back when he was still a grad student at Stanford in the late '90s, co-founder Larry Page began planning a "library to last forever," filled with digital versions of virtually every book ever published.
By 2005, when he and Sergey Brin had built Google up into the most successful company on the planet, Page began to put his plan into motion. Google made deals with leading academic libraries to begin scanning books, including many rare and out of print books, at a rapid pace -- to the point that today they have scanned a total of some 15 million books.
The Google Books settlement has become a hot issue at the intersection of intellectual property law, libraries, and electronic publishing. Join the conversation or get up to speed on the future of publishing tonight with what is guaranteed to be an interesting panel at the Commonwealth Club's "Future of Books" event (595 Market Street, 2nd floor, 5:30p check-in, talk at 6). The panel lineup features Berkeley professor and intellectual property law powerhouse Pamela Samuelson; Dan Clancy, engineering director at Google; and Brewster Kahle, co-founder of Archive.org. David Hellman, Associate Librarian at SFSU, will moderate. Tickets are $18 for non-members and $7 for students.