In re: Google Print Debate

Yesterday was the first day of the seminar I am taking on IP & the internet, which seems like it will be a very interesting class. The class doesn’t use a textbook, which seems logical as it would be old news anyway and will be using a class blog, to keep up with the readings and to create debate (see here http://ipinternet.blogspot.com) Anyway, in our first class we watched a bit of the Wired/NY Public library debate over Google Print (to understand the situation read here) The debate is quite good and surprisingly entertaining and I recommend to those who don’t mind sitting still for a bit as it goes on for a while (see the debate here, requires quicktime i think)
I side on the Google side of the argument, and I like generally what Lawerence Lessig has to say. However the fundamental debate is whether it is a fair use to store complete scanned books inside a server somewhere, which end users won’t see (Google Print only shows a sentence or two). Generally scanning a whole book would be a violation of a copyright if you are copying it in certain ways. The Supreme Court and other courts have said though that certain times it is fair use, such as the Betamax case, where copying a whole TV show to ‘timeshift’ is okay and is fairuse. It seems a pretty strong argument (in my view and all the other arguments about profits, the good for society etc. are a bit of a sideshow to this issue).
The side issues are compelling though, and the audience questions bring up some that I really want to shoot down. The one that irked me the most was the argumentative women who hypes up Thomas, of the Library of Congress as so good you don’t need Google. This however I feel is a bit backward, because, full text search of every book adds something, it might only help one person, one time, but this capability would still be a useful creation, as long as it is fairuse, which I would argue it is.

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One Response

  1. Big E, why don’t you post this on the class blog?

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