Bringing the power of Creative Commons to Google Books

Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 10:16 AM

Today, we're launching an initiative to help authors and publishers discover new audiences for books they've made available for free under Creative Commons (CC) licenses. Rightsholders who want to distribute their CC-licensed books more widely can choose to allow readers around the world to download, use, and share their work via Google Books.

Creative Commons licenses make it easier for authors and publishers to tell readers whether and how they can use copyrighted books. You can grant your readers the right to share the work or to modify and remix it. You can decide whether commercial use is okay. There's even an option to dedicate your book to the public domain.

If you're a rightsholder interested in distributing your CC-licensed book on Google Books, you have a few different options. If you're already part of our Partner Program, you can make your book available under CC by updating account settings. If not, you can sign up as a partner. You can select from one of seven Creative Commons options, and usage permissions will vary depending on the license.

We've marked books that rightsholders have made available under a CC license with a matching logo on the book's left hand navigation bar. People can download these books in their entirety and pass them along: to friends, classmates, teachers, and so on. And if the rightsholder has chosen to allow people to modify their work, readers can even create a mashup--say, translating the book into Esperanto, donning a black beret, and performing the whole thing to music on YouTube.

In return, people who download these books agree to use the work only in ways specified by the license, like giving proper credit to the author on any remixes or further public distributions.

This is just the beginning of this initiative. As authors and publishers tell us which works they want to share on Google Books under CC licenses, we'll be turning on the option to restrict your search to books you can share. In addition, representatives of the Book Rights Registry intend to allow rightsholders to distribute CC-licensed works for free (pending court approval of the settlement).

In the meantime, a few authors have already made their CC books available for you to download on Google Books, including:

55 Ways to Have Fun with Google by Philipp Lenssen
Blown to Bits by Harold Abelson, Ken Ledeen, Harry R. Lewis
Bound by Law? by Keith Aoki, James Boyle, Jennifer Jenkins
Code: Version 2 by Lawrence Lessig
Democratizing Innovation by Eric von Hippel
Federal Budget Deficits: America's great consumption binge by Paul Courant, Edward Gramlich
The Future of the Internet -- And How to Stop It by Jonathan Zittrain
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
A World's Fair for the Global Village by Carl Malamud

We look forward to working with Creative Commons, authors, and publishers to bring even more content online for you to search, enjoy, and remix.

Update from the Google Books team: For those interested in dedicating works to the public domain, please refer to the CC0 FAQ for more information. We've updated this post to more clearly refer to CC0 as an option for authors and publishers.


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