Time to Rethink Google Books?

is a wonderful idea that is having a hard time meeting legal requirements. That's the upshot of the latest round in the battle between the world's search leader and the people who actually create the content exploits for huge profits.

It should surprise no one that Google ran into legal challenges after it decided to suck all the world's books and magazines into its search engine. What's surprising, to me, is the project has been allowed to continue for so long. This is because it is easy to see value in the project, but hard to see how one company can be allowed to control it.

This is one of those cases of trying to make unbridled capitalism work for the public good when it simply may not be possible. But, we must give Google credit for trying.

There ought to be a way to digitize content that is fair to everyone. Yet, the latest proposed settlement raises and potentially would set Google up as the world's content czar, regardless of what content owners think. Or what others might want to do with the content.

I'd like to suggest a new approach: Take the profit out of the scheme.

If Google really wants to help preserve content and make it more widely available, as it claims, then how about forming a non-for-profit to run the project and contract with Google to manage it? Or maybe let the Library of Congress or some organization that already exists "own" the project?