Thursday, November 10, 2005

Is Google Print fair use?

With Google Print finally live the debate about whether the service is fair use or actually infringes international copyright law has begun again in earnest...


Google Print goes live amidst controversy...

Forbes calls the initiative "Google's Stumble" (via the Unofficial Google Weblog), while the Motley Fool has an even more stark warning for Google's executives, claiming that the new Amazon Pages programme, where you pay-per-page will be the winning business model. Now that's a scary thought...

Update: So is Google Print really all about Google's book rental business?

1 comment:

  1. It's not fair use if you copy the entire book, no. Whether you happen to share the entire book to other people is not relevant. You have no "Right to Copy" the entire work.

    Open any book. Turn to the copyright page. Chances are that you will see a passage like this [from "The C Programming Language", 2nd ed, Kernighan and Ritchie]:

    "Copyright (c) 1988, 1978 by Bell Telephone Laboratories, Incorporated. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher."

    Google are reproducing it, storing it in a retrieval system, and transmitting it by electronic means. The fact that they only show "snippets" to other people does not make this action any less legal. They are illegally copying the full work into their systems, when they do not have any "Right to Copy".

    I can't say that I disagree with what they are doing: I strongly agree with it, and feel that copyright law is unpeasant in very many ways.

    But that doesn't mean I don't understand the authors' ire at Google flaunting the law like this.

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