This Infoweek piece rounds up recent and continuing resistance to Google Print, portions of which are currently on pause, from publishing and library organizations. Some strong language and saber rattling, inasmuch as these folks have sabers to rattle.
“Google, an enormously successful company, claims a sweeping right to appropriate the property of others for its own commercial use, unless it is told, case by case and instance by instance, not to,” the AAUP board said in a statement. “In our view this contradicts both law and common sense.”
The ALPSP was the first of the three groups to indicate publicly that it was ready to go to court.
“We call on Google to hold an urgent meeting with representatives of all major publishing organizations, in order to work out an acceptable pragmatic way forward and to avoid legal action,” Morris said.
I’ve asked to speak to someone at Google about this, because this sure sounds like a lawsuit is the next step, if Google does not do more to appease them.
I’ve said in the past that I think this ain’t Napster. Let’s hope the book industry thinks so too.
3 thoughts on “Google Print: More to Come”
This is ludicrous. As an author, I cannot wait for folks to search on my back catalog, especially since Google is pointing those links directly at pages where folks can BUY the book. If many other writers realized how connected they could be to their potential audiences, they’d be livid at the idea that publishers were dragging their feet on this. (At least, that’s my admittedly naive hope.)
While the merits of copyright law are certainly debatable, for Google to decide in its infinite non-evil wisdom to change copyright consent from opt-in to opt-out is a) illegal and b) places the burden of opting-out on the publishers/authors. The right to choose how your works could be used was reserved for you Joe, &/or your publisher, to decide when you signed your copyright assignment agreement with your publisher. International law protects that right.
If you choose to opt-in, so be it. Bear in mind though, that some authors might insist on getting paid for the act of Google’s scanning &/or insist on a portion of Google’s advertising revenue derived from people searching for their content, which may actually generate more money than royalty checks BTW.
Authors and publishers should be demanding that Google explicate their long term business model and revenue motivations are for doing this instead of proceeding blindly down the “just trust us, we’re not evil” Google aisle.
Clearly Google see this endeavor as profitable in the future, why should Google not compensate authors and publishers for their works by sharing in the profits?
Regardless of Google’s motivation, it is wrong legally and ethically for Google to usurp author and publisher rights and assume consent to their works being digitized and monetized according to Google’s grand plans.
A number of years ago a magazine reprinted a humorous rant I had posted to Usenet, but it somehow (probably unintentionally) omitted my name on the piece. I was, of course, flattered, but after I had spent $4.95 for a copy of my own words I was a bit miffed. It wasn’t so much the loss of commercial value of the work (the usual standard for copyright violations), but the transformation into for-profit content that irked me.
At the time some people argued that said magazine was “an extension of the internet” and entitled to publish whatever bits it saw fit. Google’s actions seem to stem from a similar hubris.
For all their good intentions Google doesn’t devote much effort to putting up a firewall between their search and advertising operations. Their search results now include paid-only content (eg portal.acm.org), and there’s plenty of reason for authors to worry if their free content will be used for commercial purposes.