by Mike Masnick
Tue, Oct 20th 2009 7:04am
Sometimes you just shake your head and wonder what people are thinking. Just as German Chancellor Angela Merkel came out against the Google Book settlement, European Commission Information society and media commissioner Viviane Reding declared that Europe needs to speed up digitizing books. Except if Google is doing it. Why? Well, as Copycense points out, it seems that some Europeans are trotting out the moral rights issue. Moral rights on copyright are not accepted under US copyright law, but are standard in Europe. But, again, this seems to show the problems of bringing morality into copyright law. Europe wants to get books digitized. The fastest way to do that is to let Google keep doing what it's doing (and feel free to do separate digitization projects as well -- but Google has a nice headstart). So, how is it "moral" to keep more books offline and unsearchable? According to German academic Roland Reuss in that Publishers Weekly story above about moral rights, "academics have gotten by just fine for the past 500 years under the old system of publishing." Yes, and people were fine having to walk everywhere or ride horses before cars came along too. Who knew progress was immoral? Ned Ludd is alive and well apparently.
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