If Google Print is illegal, so is Google

From Lessig Blog:
Google has been sued by the Authors Guild, and a number of individual authors. (…)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.
(…)Google wants to do nothing more to 20,000,000 books than it does to the Internet: it wants to index them, and it offers anyone in the index the right to opt out. If it is illegal to do that with 20,000,000 books, then why is it legal to do it with the Internet? The �authors�� claims, if true, mean Google itself is illegal. Common sense, or better, commons sense, revolts at the idea. And so too should you.
This is a point I always make: the fact that Google caches sites is illegal (at least accepting the restricting copyright rules that are currently valid). Google by caching is doing a copy of my site and it has no right to do the copy (no copyright). Then, is Google cache a valuable service? Absolutely, I used it very often. Is it fair use? I think so, other may think differently. Google does not get sued about copying sites because is so big now. Google Print is not yet so big and Author Guild is trying this preemptive attack.
Well, Lessig says it better, so read Lessig post or even better read Lessig’s book “Free culture” or even better listen Lessig’s book “Free culture”.

3 thoughts on “If Google Print is illegal, so is Google

  1. Francesco Bellomi

    Sure, your (and Lessing’s) argument is witty, but if you want to change the world you need to take into consideration the concerns of your opponents, rather than dismiss them as silly… saying “If Google Print is illegal, so is Google” does nothing to convince publishers and authors that letting Google make their work available online is The Right Thing To Do.

    As for me, I would start from academic works, since academic authors do not sell the rights for their pubblications, but give them away for free to journals that, in fact, restrict their availability.
    (Nowadays, one does not “publish” a paper to a journal to make it available to a wider audience, but merely to make it authoritative by passing through a formal review process.)

  2. paolo

    You are absolutely right.
    WikiBooks in in fact an interesting idea.

    What I wanted to say is that attacking Google and have the public opinion think of it as a Copyright Infringer would be much harder for the Author Guild than attacking a “normal” person. In this sense, having Google on your side (at least in this battle) is surely a positive fact.

    … and why one publish a paper in a journal? To add it to her publication list, nothing more, nothing less. Of course if you want to get hired by Google or Yahoo! (and in future, I hope, get a position to teach about the Web at Stanford) is much better if you coded Zimba.com than if you published 20 papers (nobody will ever read).

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