Leggo My Ego - GooglePrint and the other culture war

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Anonymous Patron writes "One from Slate: Tim Wu asks Consider what it would mean, by analogy, if map-makers needed the permission of landowners to create maps.
The critical point is this: Just as maps do not compete with or replace property, neither do book searches replace books."

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Interesting... and, of course, Google copyrights their maps:

Map Information

Map information provided through Google is intended for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic conditions or other events may differ from the map results.

You may not delete or in any manner alter the copyright, trademark, or other proprietary rights notices appearing in map information, including photographic imagery.

[...]

By using Google Maps, you do not receive any, and Google and/or its licensors (if any) retain all ownership rights in the imagery. The imagery is copyrighted and may not be copied, even if modified or merged with other data or software.

Google Local Help

My understanding of how copyright works is that everything that someone creates is automatically protected by copyright law, even without the statement posted by Google. That statement only educates people. You can not "copyright" something, you can only waive the ownership rights of copyright that always exist, whether stated or not.

I think Tim Wu overlooks some other, important, aspects of Google Print that are at the very least, extremely worrisome.

The Google Print booksearch, for example, gives copyright owners an "opt-out." As on the web, if you don't want to be searchable, you don't have to be. If you're really embarrassed about your first novel, you can tell Google, and make it unfindable. That's not enough for some, like the Author's Guild, who demand that the owner give permission before Google acts, not vice-versa. But with devices with opt-outs—which may be critical to Google's fate in court—we can respect authorial wishes without making everyone's work hard to find. Slate

The problem is, what if you dont' know your work is on Google? Opt-in is the only way to make sure that the wishes of the author are respected right out of the block. Just because it may make for more work for Google, does not mean that it should be opt-out only.

Secondly, and a point that Mr. Wu does not address, when you use Google Print, and conduct a search, you get the "Sponsored Links" on the results page. Try putting in Harry Potter into Google Print, and you will see sponsored links on the right-hand side of the browser. Now, why should Google make money off of the scanning of the full text of books if they don't have the author's permission?

Maps are often copyrighted. One tactic is to place an invented feature or town in your map. My mom grew up near such a "town." It's the representation that is copyrighted, not the features themselves, just as a photograph or painting of a public building can be copyrighted.

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