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googlibrary

as an aspiring (soon to be published!) writer myself, i am really flummoxed by the flap over google's plan to scan books and make them available for free.

yesterday, the american association of publishers officially filed a lawsuit against google to stop it from making books available for free. making books available for free is an admirable goal, because everyone should read, but not everyone can afford to buy a lot of books. it also helps authors rather than hurts them, because it allows books to be seen by a wider audience.

this is one of these cases where people seem to get in an incredible uproar over something because there's technology involved and for no other reason.

for all those of you who might be tempted to say that the publishers taking google to court are motivated by trying to protect the rights of the authors whose works they distribute, let me ask you this: how would you feel if they started trying to shut down libraries? aren't they doing the same thing?

here's a wonderful letter from author meghann marco, who wants her book published through google, but can't get her publisher to cooperate.

Comments

The main problem as I see it is copyrights. After all, why buy the book when you can just go online and read it? I mean, I would certainly like to be paid if I'm publishing, but letting Google just come in and giving it away to everybody is not a happy thought for me... and they didnt want to ask permission, so thats a bit of a problem, as far as copyrights are concerned...
flora_mundi said…
good point, but once again, i return to the example of libraries. the existence of libraries does not prevent me from buying books, even though i could easily read them for free. i don't necessarily buy into the argument that people will refuse to buy a finished product if they can get the content for nothing.

i download music as well, but that still doesn't stop me from buying it. if i download and don't buy it, it generally means that a) i can't find it or b) i didn't like it enough to buy it to begin with. either way, the decision to download music doesn't have any bearing on where i put my money.

that said, there are a lot of people who would like to "scam" people who put work into things like books. the question is how big a proportion of the population are they and how do we deal with them?

as long as you're here, why not read more?

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