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
    Freedom, 6 Nov 2007 @ 10:31am

    Copyrighted VS Non-Copyrighted Work...

    If I am late to the party and missing something, please forgive me my ignorance in advance ...

    I see two issues, one is for copyrighted work which the author should have a fair and reasonable method of revenue sharing for their 'product' which would be available via Google. If not, what is the incentive for producing the work in the first place?

    The second is for older works that are out of copyright and can be effectively used for free. In these cases, all that material is free game for Google. If Google can distribute better and cheaper than the book publishers then I see no reason why they shouldn't - a better solution is a better solution even if it hurts an existing business model.

    As a society and person, how great would it be to have effectively free access to any work older than x years. As long as there is still incentive for those to create the works in the first place, then I see this as a long term win win.

    The next hurdle is going to be software. Why shouldn't we have access to the full source code of any commercial application after x years?

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