kottke.org on Google Print

October 21st, 2005

I’m trying to follow as much of this [tag]Google[/tag] Print news as possible (and I hope readers aren’t bored) and I’ve come across an interesting post on kottke.org about an email he received.from author Meghann Marco who thinks that the lawsuits by publishers against [tag]Google Print[/tag] are a bad idea.

I beg to differ.  Google Print will just be the beginning.  While Google Print in of itself might not harm authors and might result in increased sales and exposure for some authors.  The problem is, if Google gets the go-ahead to do this then the floodgates will open and others will follow.  Eventually, through five or ten or fifteen outlets, entire copyrighted works will be available.  Why?  Because this isn’t going to be a controlled system like the music industry use to control samples of tracks (first 20 seconds or so) where there’s no risk of the whole thing being available through legitimate means, this will be an uncontrolled system where third parties control how they interpret copyright and when to ignore it (for the greater good of course, doing no evil).

I also need to go on the record and say that I support Amazon’s "Search Inside the Book" feature – it’s great for readers to be able to get a look at the beginning of the book, a sample of text and the index, but that system works with the consent of the publishers, not by trampling on the intellectual property of others.

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