Caroline Vanderlip believes the escalating debate over Google Inc.'s plans for a vast Internet library of copyright-protected literature will yield enough compelling material to fill a book.
That's one reason why SharedBook Inc., a 5-year-old company run by Vanderlip, has set up a Web site so the supporters and opponents of Google's digital book project can more easily post their opinions about a legal settlement that will help fulfill or possibly derail the Internet search leader's ambitions.
The site is http://www.gbs.sharedbook.com.
Using SharedBook's annotation tools, anyone will be able to comment on the complex settlement and other key court documents in a class-action lawsuit filed four years ago by authors and publishers. New York-based SharedBook plans to turn the dissertation into a book that will be sold "at cost," Vanderlip said.
"We think this debate is a very important for the publishing industry," she said. "There are enormous number of people discussing the pros and cons of this settlement."
If the settlement wins federal court approval this fall, Google will emerge with the right to make digital copies of millions of copyright books no longer in print.
While Google and its backers argue the settlement will help the publishing industry and society by making obscure books more accessible, critics contend it will concentrate too much power with a single company.
The misgivings about the settlement have piqued the interest of the U.S. Justice Department, which is examining whether Google's expanded control of digital books would thwart competition.
Spurred by the protests about Google's book settlement, U.S. District Judge Denny Chin in New York has extended the deadline for objecting until Sept. 7. A hearing to approve the settlement is scheduled for Oct. 12.