Saturday, April 3, 2010

Google, Books, yeah.

"...If you care about the future of books, you need to understand the Google Book Settlement. It's a complicated legal document, but we've talked to some of its architects, detractors, and defenders - and break it all down for you. The Google Book Settlement could easily be the twenty-first century's most important shift in how we deal with copyright in the world of publishing. To understand it, you need a little back story on the previous giant shift in copyright law, which happened about twelve years ago...."

Personally I've used Google Books lots of times, especially when I didn't have the cash to buy books (read: always!) for my classes, or time to sit in a library.

However, I'm unsure about the implications of all this.  It seems there are both reprehensible prospects (point 4, having to do with censoring and restriction), as well as exciting prospects (point 5).  Furthermore, I sometimes find myself jumping from side to side on copyright issues, often angered at the Mickey Mouse laws and a proponent of open copyrights, yet at other times admitting that authors do have a right to their works and the meagre living which they sometimes provide. The idea that there would be a organization that acted like ASCAP in the literary world is NOT a happy prospect.  If only we were in ancient times when the poet was revered and had no need to eek out a living. The trouble here is in the very understanding of the nature and calling of the writer -- it has been lost.

Any thoughts on this article and the prospective laws?

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