How else to describe a post (this one) that combines two of our favorite obsessions — Google and fair use?
Business Week online reports that Google’s announced plan to to scan millions of the world’s books and make them searchable online is, not surprisingly, a little scary to some people. No, not the people who are afraid of free access to books and information. Rather, the people who are “all about” that very thing — but who are a little worried about “free” in the economic, not the freedom, sense of the word.
According to Business Week, “In a May 20 letter, the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) blasts Google’s so-called Print for Libraries program for posing a risk of “systematic infringement of copyright on a massive scale.” Evidently, according to the report, a number of publishers have also expressed some concern. “We don’t see how a for-profit company compiling this would be considered fair use,” a spokesman for the Association of American Publishers — the principal trade organization of the book publishing industry — told Business Week.
Well. But it would depend in no small part on how much of a work is being made available on line (as the article notes), as well as on the development of third-party liability for hacking that leads to unauthorized access of infringing material beyond what Google anticipates making searchable, or accessible from search results.
It’s getting to the point where we’re taking the Googlization of the known world for granted. We shouldn’t. It’s an incredible phenomenon.