You authors are saps to resist Googling


The LATimes has An Editorial by BoingBoing's Xeni Jardin. She writes: "
If the paranoid myopia that drives such thinking penetrates too deeply into the law, search engines will eventually shut down. What's the difference, after all, between a copyrighted Web page and a copyrighted book? What if Internet entrepreneurs could sue Google for indexing their websites? What if the law required search engines to get clearance for every Web page? Even a company as large and well-funded as Google couldn't pull that off because what's on the Internet, and who owns that content, changes constantly.

As one author told me, "fear of obscurity, not digital indexing, is what keeps most authors awake at night."


Google Print has caused me to buy at least one book. I ran a search for Eielson using Google Print. I lived in Alaska for four years at Eielson AFB. I was curious to see what came up when I did a search on the name of the base.> was the result that I obtained. I bought the book Land of the Radioactive Midnight Sun: A Cheechako's First Year in Alaska after finding that the book was contained extensive refrences to Eielson.

After looking further down the search results I found another book. This one is called I Always Wanted to Fly: America's Cold War> Without Google Print I would have most likely not found this book becuase the keywords I was interested in were in the text not in the title ro even the summary. I think I am going to buy the book.

"What if Internet entrepreneurs could sue Google for indexing their websites? What if the law required search engines to get clearance for every Web page?"

Why not? As a webmaster I have often pondered this issue. It would at least reduce the number of pointless pages produced by people who have not the slightest clue how the net works. It's not even as if this would be difficult to implement (robots.txt).

I think that google book is cool. It sold my library a book too. But that's beside the point. They are flagrantly overstepping the bounds of "fair use" (or in Canada, "fair dealing"), and they need to be told to stop. Yes the technology is cool, and yes, it's great for authors, but Google needs permission. That's why they're called permissions!

That's what I've said. Technology exists to set license and other conditions for everything. And, it should also get some laws in place that you believe the author of the page - who takes liability for anything on it...

-- Ender, Duke_of_URL

They are flagrantly overstepping the bounds of "fair use"

I disagree with this statement. There are two categories o items that Google will be scanning. Items already in the public domain and items that are under copyright. Items in the public domain are fine to copy because copyright does not apply. For items with a copyright Google is only going to display a portion of the text. By doing this they will be able to meet the "Fair Use" exception. I am sure Google has a pile of Intellectual Property attorneys. If this was a flagrant violation of copyright the Google attorneys would put a stop to the program. Since Google is going ahead with this I am confident that they have a reasonable "fair use" argument to make.

You're absolutely right that the public domain content can be scanned and made available. Of course, thanks to Sonny Bono, there's less of that than you might think (maybe google should move the project to Canada!).

While presenting a small number of pages to the searcher might be deemed to be "fair", I would argue that when google "reproduce[s], store[s] within a retrieval system, or transmit[s], in any form or by any means," entire books then they are overstepping the bounds of fair use by quite a bit. (quotation taken from t.p. verso of my 3d ed of Fowler's modern English usage).