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NYLS Launches Google Book Settlement Wiki

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 11:24 AM EDT

James Grimmelmann and a team of students at New York Law School have launched an elaborate web site called “The Public Index” to facilitate conversation about the proposed settlement of the Google Book litigation. As the site’s home page explains:

Here, you can browse and annotate the proposed settlement, section-by-section. … In addition, you can:

  • Study our reading room of lawsuit documents
  • Join the conversation in our forums
  • Draft an amicus brief to the court on the wiki

This is a potentially exciting venture on two fronts. First, it may foster dialogue about the fiendishly complex settlement, which could have a huge impact on the shape of copyright law and the public domain for years to come. Because it is so complicated and doesn’t include much flash (and perhaps because so much attention is going to health care, climate change, Jon & Kate, and other pressing issues of the day), the settlement has not been as widely debated as it should be. Second, it will be another experiment in using the tools of the interactive internet to promote true civic engagement and debate.

But whether it will work depends in large part on whether people participate, so go check it out. The links posted on the site’s Introduction are a good place to start.