Jon Krause

Une bibliothèque universelle

MELBOURNE – Les universitaires rêvaient depuis longtemps d’une bibliothèque universelle contenant tout ce qui a jamais été écrit. Puis, en 2004, Google a annoncé qu’il allait débuter la numérisation de tous les ouvrages détenus par cinq bibliothèques de recherche majeures. La bibliothèque de l’utopie semblait soudain à portée de main.

En effet, une bibliothèque numérique universelle serait peut-être même mieux que ce que n’importe quel penseur d’un autre temps aurait pu imaginer, parce que toutes les ouvres seraient disponibles pour tous, partout, à tout moment. Et la bibliothèque pourrait comprendre non seulement des livres et des articles mais aussi de la peinture, de la musique, des films et toute autre forme d’expression créative susceptible d’être numérisée.

Mais le projet de Google avait un défaut. La plupart des ouvrages détenus par ces bibliothèques de recherche sont encore protégés par des droits d’auteur. Google a déclaré qu’il numériserait l’intégralité du livre, indépendamment de son statut par rapport aux droits d’auteur, mais que les utilisateurs recherchant un document encore soumis à ces droits n’en verraient qu’un fragment. Cette manière de procéder, selon Google, constitue « une utilisation équitable » - et donc autorisée selon la législation des droits d’auteur, de la même manière que l’on peut citer une phrase ou deux d’un ouvrage dans le cadre d’une critique ou d’une discussion.

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