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Google Government

It's Surprisingly Easy To Make Government Records Public on Google Books (fastcompany.com) 11

From a report on FastCompany: While working on a recent story about hate speech spread by telephone in the '60s and '70s, I came across an interesting book that had been digitized by Google Books. Unfortunately, while it was a transcript of a Congressional hearing, and therefore should be in the public domain and not subject to copyright, it wasn't fully accessible through Google's archive. It's not surprising that Google might be cautious about making documents available, since its book search project resulted in over a decade of controversy over copyrights, with authors and publishers arguing that the search giant was exceeding its rights, and users clamoring to see the full texts of books, especially those that are in public domain.

But, as it turns out, Google provides a form where anyone can ask that a book scanned as part of Google Books be reviewed to determine if it's in the public domain. And, despite internet companies sometimes earning a mediocre-at-best reputation for responding to user inquiries about free services, I'm happy to report that Google let me know within a week after filling out the form that the book would now be available for reading and download.

It's Surprisingly Easy To Make Government Records Public on Google Books

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 12, 2018 @06:05PM (#56427457)

    It's rare to have a customer service department with such a reputation.

    The one time it isn't a pain in the ass to deal with them, it makes the news.

  • Great. Just implement a similar automated system for FOI requests as a big Fuck You to the government.
  • TFA says that government records that are supposed to be public, are public. I'm happy that that is the case, but I'm curious why anyone would write a "report" about it. That was five minutes of my life that I'll never get back.

  • > filling out the form

    Yeah, sure, but there are *millions* of such documents. There's probably one guy who's job this is. This isn't going to solve the problem.

    And it's not just US government works. It's also Canadian government works, and I assume every other government as well.

    And everything that's fallen into public domain, which is also "preview" only, or less.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      And it's not just US government works. It's also Canadian government works, and I assume every other government as well.

      Not all Canadian government documents are actually free to view. There is such a thing called Crown Copyright that holds the copyright to basically everything written by government (it doesn't automatically fall into public domain). To see if you can make copies of a document, you must contact the agency or department that produced the document for permission.

      The only exception to this are

Think of it! With VLSI we can pack 100 ENIACs in 1 sq. cm.!

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