Putting Google Library Into Historical Perspective

from the information-is-a-good-thing dept

Reader Jon writes in with a link to a fascinating New Yorker article that really puts Google's book scanning project into historical perspective. While there are all sorts of ongoing legal scuffles about the efforts to scan and make books and information more widely available, when viewed in the context of history, the legal arguments look even more ridiculous. The benefits to making content more widely available and more easily accessible are so big that it almost seems crazy not to do it. The article goes through all the struggles cultures have had over the ages just trying to classify and organize all sorts of books and information to make it usable -- and here we are with the tools and ability to go beyond everything that's been possible in the past... and we're stymied by a disagreement over copyright law? That just seems sad.

Filed Under: book scanning, google library, history, information
Companies: amazon, google, microsoft


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  1. identicon
    Casper, 6 Nov 2007 @ 10:30am

    Re: Re: Libraries violate copyrights

    Your library model isn't accurate.

    This is how it's different...

    The google model promotes infinite access to materials. Libraries work on a fixed supply of a title, and an allotted limit of time for usage of the title.

    That scarcity, and the constraints placed on the usage of the book, forces a segment of the market to pursue acquiring the book via purchase.

    I have a hard time buying the "reality" argument. The true reality is that there are copyright laws that govern usage and distribution of media, those copyright laws then funnel the acquisition of the media through revenue generating transactions that return money to the creators of said media.

    The "reality" that you propose only occurs in a deregulated market. So it's not a reality at all, its merely a theory on an economic model.

    You are acting as though scarcity was an intended component of libraries, when in fact, it is a by product. Same concept with the check out time frame, it is only in place because they want to be able to get the book back and give someone else a chance to check it out. If they could, they would operate like Googles proposed system. They just happened to be the best solution for a time before digital media.

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