"Google has been sued by the Authors Guild, and a number of individual authors. This follows similar threats hinted at by the American Association of Publishers. The authors and the publishers consider Google’s latest fantastic idea, Google Print — a project to Google-ize 20,000,000 books — to be “massive copyright infringement.” They have asked a federal court to shut Google Print down."I've been waiting to offer my opinion on this whole mess until I've thought it through, I've been reading a lot of other, much more informed peoples' opinions, and this is what I come up with.
First, information is power. If Google does not get this information out, someone else will. This is not an issue of the founders of Google sitting gleefully on their piles of money bags (Scrooge McDuck style) and wondering, "how can we cheat poor publishers out of their hard-earned money? I know! Let's publish their books on our Evil Search Engine and then no one will ever buy them! Cackle, cackle, cackle!"
Second, it's a fair use issue. Google is not talking about publishing the entire works of a particular author; just a tiny snippet, maybe some bibliographic information, and that's it. Think of a card catalog here in your public library. From the Official Google Blog:
"Let's be clear: Google doesn’t show even a single page to users who find copyrighted books through this program (unless the copyright holder gives us permission to show more). At most we show only a brief snippet of text where their search term appears, along with basic bibliographic information and several links to online booksellers and libraries."
Thirdly, anything that is legitimately attempting to give people more access to literary works is all right by me. As an English major, I plan on using Google Print to search authors past works, find connections I hadn't thought of, and yes, probably buy some books. I'm not going to be reading whole works on my 'puter (just think of the eye strain), but Google will be making them, through fair use and lots of other legal convolutions, available.
What do you think about this? Let's talk about it in the forums.