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Googling For Copyright
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Today must be stories about the publishing industry day. According to the article Google Delays Book Scanning:

Google Inc. has suspended some of its project to place a vast selection of books online, bowing at least temporarily to concerns of publishers who fear scanning material into the world's most powerful search engine will lead to unauthorized use and duplication of copyrighted material. Google launched its test service, Google Print, in October and later started its Google Print Library Project, an attempt to scan books in five libraries to make them searchable online. Mountain View, Calif.-based Google postponed further scanning of copyrighted books from libraries at Harvard University, the University of Michigan and Stanford University until November. Until then, copyright holders can opt out of the scanning by contacting Google directly, the company said.

My attitude, generally, is the more information available for free on the web the better. The easier it is to discover and buy books, via for example, the better. There's no way Mary and I could do the sort of research we do for our writing without the web. There's no way as many people could've found out about a series of historical mysteries from an indie publisher before the advent of the internet.

Issues of copyright and lost sales don't impress me much. I figure if you're so popular that enough people want to pirate your stuff, you already have plenty of money. Knowing my own preference through the years for used books, thanks to monetary constraints, I do sometimes wonder about Amazon's selling royalty free used copies cheek to jowl with new ones, but given my book buying history, I guess it would be hypocritical of me to complain too loudly.

What I do worry about is the effect, in the future, of too few corporations having too much power over our society's intellectual life. If the trend continues, conglomerates will be able to stamp out ideas they don't like as easily as they're eliminating indie book stores today.

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