The Google Book Project is an attempt on the part of Google and several libraries in the United States to digitise printed material and make it available to a broad audience. To date Google has digitised 12 million titles, many of them still under copyright protection. Participating libraries (none in Canada) will receive preferential access to the content, while others (public institutions, private individuals) will pay access fees of varying amounts. In addition, Google will have the ability to offer digitised titles for purchase. In a separate agreement with publishers and copyright holders who objected to Google’s profiting from their intellectual products, a Settlement Agreement was proposed in 2008 (subsequently amended in 2009) that offered compensation to rights holders. The amended agreement was presented to Judge Denny Chin of the US District Court, Southern District of New York. The Judge rendered an opinion on 22 March, 2011.

Judge Chin ruled that the Settlement Agreement does not meet the test of being “fair, adequate and reasonable”.(2) The proposed settlement does not address the concerns of copyright owners and would create an unfair advantage to Google over any possible competitors. The proposal was challenged by several authors or their successors, publishers, academics, the governments of the United States, several states and foreign governments (500 in all). Moreover of the class of ‘persons’ party to the settlement, more than 6800 opted out of it, signifying their disproval of its terms. Of the many objections three stand out: the implied reversal of onus for making copyrighted material available, the approach taken to ‘orphan works’, and the rights of foreign copyright holders.

The Settlement Agreement sought, in the words of Alessandra Glorioso, to reverse the copyright onus which requires the party seeking to publishing material obtain permission to do so; instead, Google proposed that copyright owners would need to register with an agency established under the Settlement to secure their legal rights.(4)

‘Orphan works’ are those materials for which a copyright holder cannot be identified or contacted. The Judge was of the opinion that rights regarding orphan works were “matters more appropriately decided by Congress than through an agreement among private, self-interested parties.” (23).

The governments of France and Germany (and the Canadian Association of University Teachers) were leaders in objecting to the Settlement with respect to foreign works. They argued that it provided Google the opportunity to digitise works produced in those countries and housed in the United States under the reciprocal provisions of the Berne Convention in contravention of international treaties and domestic laws. The Judge agreed, stating that the matter regarding copyright be left to Congress. (44)

The Judge concluded that the Settlement is not fair, adequate and reasonable and determined that the Settlement Agreement be amended to provide for an ‘opt in’ procedure rather than an ‘opt out’ one which would result in a reduced Google Book Project.

 See the judgement at

This week’s featured place name and Irving K. Barber Centre room is Slocan.  Slocan can refer to a number of geographic features- Slocan Valley, River, Lake, or City. This region is in the West Kootenay area of British Columbia.

We are using Slocan to highlight our Japanese-Canadian resources, because the village of Slocan (commonly known as Slocan City) was one of the sites of the Japanese Canadian internment camps during the Second World War.

The photographs below are from the Japanese Canadian Historical Photograph Collection, which is digitized and available freely online. There are a number of photographs of the Slocan internment camp in the collection, including photographs of Japanese Canadians arriving at the camp, as in the first photo, and of daily life in the camp, as in the second photo, taken in the dining hall.

Japanese Canadians being processed in Slocan

Japanese Canadians being processed in Slocan, JCPC 24.008

Group photograph in dining hall in Slocan Camp

Group photograph in dining hall in Slocan Camp, JCPC 17.005

Textual records related to Japanese Canadians in Slocan can be found in the Japanese Canadian Research Collection, in the Yamaga Yasutaro fonds, and also in the Jack Duggan fonds. Jack Duggan was a supervisor for the R.C.M.P. at the Slocan camp.  Author Joy Kogawa (whose archives are located in Rare Books and Special Collections) and environmentalist David Suzuki (whose archives are located in University Archives) were both sent as children to the Slocan camp in 1942.

In the Barber Centre, the Slocan room is part of the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies (SLAIS). Specifically, this room is a study area frequented by SLAIS’s doctoral students. You can read about the doctoral students and their research interests here.

Sign for SLAIS

Sign for SLAIS, photograph courtesy of School of Library, Archival and Information Studies

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

UBC Library





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