code • words • emotions

Daniel Janus’s blog

Google Books

2 January 2009

Yesterday, upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, over a renowned volume of the olden lore (and specifically, upon one of the problems contained in the Polish translation of the first edition), I suddenly felt a need to consult the original version, to check whether there are no mistranslations or unincluded corrections for my copy. So I headed for Google Book Search, and apart from finding what I needed, I followed a link that sounded interesting. Quoth the link, “Groundbreaking Agreement”.

Basically, what it all boils to is two pieces of news — you guessed it, a good one and a bad one. The good news is that Google have come to agreement with several major U.S. publishers that will allow them to provide online access to digitized copies of out-of-print but still copyrighted books. Lots of books, and even though the service is not going to be free, that means all this richness will be at the fingertips — no more need to travel half the world to the Library of Congress to get one of the rare copies we’re after. Sounds cool, huh? Well, here comes the bad news: it will only be available to U.S. citizens.

Or will it?

I wonder how are they going to check for this precondition. IP-based geolocalization springs to mind. And unless they blacklist some IPs or restrict the credit cards used for payment, all I will need is some proxy on some server physically in the U.S. Say, a shell account on someone’s Linux box. I remember reading a Polish blog post about gaining access to American-exclusive content of some website ( I believe it was) in a similar way. Hmm, hmm. We will see.

So, anyone got a shell account to spare?