…In the Wall St. Journal on the topic of Google Print. In it (paid reg is required), Google’s CEO makes the case for why he and his company believe Google Print is fair use, and that the folks suing him (the Author’s Guild) are misguided. From the op ed piece:
Imagine the cultural impact of putting tens of millions of previously inaccessible volumes into one vast index, every word of which is searchable by anyone, rich and poor, urban and rural, First World and Third, en toute langue — and all, of course, entirely for free. How many users will find, and then buy, books they never could have discovered any other way? How many out-of-print and backlist titles will find new and renewed sales life? How many future authors will make a living through their words solely because the Internet has made it so much easier for a scattered audience to find them? This egalitarianism of information dispersal is precisely what the Web is best at; precisely what leads to powerful new business models for the creative community; precisely what copyright law is ultimately intended to support; and, together with our partners, precisely what we hope, and expect, to accomplish with Google Print.
I agree with Eric on this one. Steve Langdon, a press relations fellow at Google, also pointed me to
this piece in Slate, with which I also agree. In it, the author points out the tension between authorial control and exposure to the author’s work. He also reminds folks that you can’t rip off a book via Google Print – it’s not Napster. I think this relates to the whole Craigslist/Oodle dustup, and I’m brewing a post on that, though it ain’t quite ripe, yet. This is a major issue in our culture, and one worth more consideration by us all.