We've never quite understood why some people have so much trouble understanding why it's a good thing when search engines point people in their direction. Lately it's been all about those Belgian newspaper publishers, but the big fight before that was with book publishers. As you probably recall, Google began an ambitious project recently to scan a bunch of books, in order to create the equivalent of a huge online card catalog. It seemed like a great way to help people find books the same way they found web pages. Unfortunately, a bunch of publishers freaked out and sued Google, complaining that it was illegal for Google to point people to their books. They're accusing Google of harming their business with copyright infringement, despite the fact that no one can use Google Print or Google Library to actually read more than a small snippet (back in the day, we used to call that "fair use") of a book, and it makes it that much easier for people to find and buy books. Luckily a few publishers have realized how this can be beneficial, and they're now speaking up to say that Google's Book Search has helped to "significantly" increase sales. This really shouldn't come as a surprise. After all, just like with the web, making it easier for someone to find you and your content tends to drive more business. Yet, mainly due to jealousy that they're not getting an upfront payment, many publishers will continue to protest this service that would otherwise help them.
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