NYT editorial: Google books "holds great promise"

I'm here at Howard University this morning for our Google Book Search event, but I came across this New York Times editorial today about the settlement that I wanted to share. We may not agree with everything in it (particularly on privacy and the settlement's approach to orphan works), but I appreciated that the Times editorialists recognized that Google Books "holds great promise for increasing access to knowledge." From the editorial:

Google's effort could create new interest in millions of out-of-print books, which would be made available at no cost at public libraries. That means that a student at a community college or a freelance writer could access the same books as a Harvard professor.

At a time when publishing's economic model is threatened, there is also an important financial upside for authors and publishers. Google would charge users for accessing copyrighted books from their own computers and sell online ads, and it would give writers and publishers 63 percent of the revenue. The settlement would create a books rights registry to distribute payments.

Despite the claims otherwise by some critics of the settlement, the Times also noted that "Google's access to most books would not be exclusive since Microsoft or Joe's Online Library could cut their own deal with authors and publishers and scan books as well." Here here.