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
    A. Nonymous, 6 Nov 2007 @ 10:47am

    Re: Copyrighted VS Non-Copyrighted Work...

    Freedom, like you, I beg forgiveness if I misunderstand something here. I completely agree with your second point, but it seems your first point misses the mark a bit (as do the others).

    Google Books relies on the concept of Fair Use. While they may scan the entire book, you can't actually read the entire book online. For example, A Clockwork Orange is around 200 total pages, yet I could see less than 20 including the covers on Google Books. If I wanted to read the whole book, there is a handy link to Amazon on the right where I can buy the book (the revenue sharing you were talking about?).

    It is for this same reason that the library analogy is also false. When I check a book out from the library, while I am the sole person with access to the book, I have access to the WHOLE book. Regardless of how many people can simultaneously access copies on Google Books, nobody has access to the whole book!


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