Google to Post the Dead Sea Scrolls – Copyright Infringement Claims Unlikely


Google will not be accused of copyright infringement by posting the Dead Sea Scrolls unlike the current litigation about Google’s Books Library Project where Google is scanning millions of books to be freely available. Although the litigation continues, settlement looms on the horizon but the date for claims to be filed has been extended to March 31, 2011. The library partners include: Austrian National Library, Columbia University, Harvard University, New York Public Library, Oxford University, Princeton University, University Library of Lausanne, and many other famous institutions. Many notable scholars have weighed in that Google’s Library Project is great including Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig "[Google Books] could be the most important contribution to the spread of knowledge since Jefferson dreamed of national libraries. It is an astonishing opportunity to revive our cultural past, and make it accessible." On the other hand many authors believe the value of their copyrights will be lost or diminished if Google makes their writings available for free.

Dead Sea Scrolls

Computerworld announcement about the Dead Sea Scrolls is a monumental event in history:

Google is working with the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) to digitize the Dead Sea Scrolls and make them available online. The collection of documents consists of about 30,000 fragments of the scrolls, which are approximately 2,000 years old.... This is the first time that the collection has been photographed in its entirety since the 1950’s, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority, an Israeli governmental authority tasked with regulating excavation and promoting research.

The publication on Google of the Dead Sea Scrolls seems to fit into Wikipedia’s Vision Statement included in its Terms of Use: “Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That’s our commitment.” What an exciting time in the evolution of the Internet!

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