The race is on and those of us in the Trademark Productions office are quietly betting on who will get knighted first, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg or the head of Google. It’s an esteem thing, really. Facebook allegedly wants to know everything about you in order to sell it to third parties so that they can target you with ads to buy things you don’t need and wouldn’t bother with anyway and Google? Well, Google is still out to get their hands on anything in print that can be scanned in and cataloged.
Their intention is the purest of the pure. They scan in every book they possibly can and share it with the world. Why? Because some of these books are more difficult to find than others. Some are even out of print. And the rest? They’re in print. But, they want to share it with all of you! Poppycock. Yes, poppycock. And they were sued for their grand idea because someone read the fine print and saw the overall bigger picture.
This isn’t really about sharing with the peasants of the world so much as it is about control. It might even be considered a form of piracy. Musicians don’t like their work being available for free? What makes Google think authors like that idea any better? Now, to be fair, Google did some negotiations with the Author’s Guild and the Association of American Publishers and developed a settlement. Why the Guild and Association agreed to it is a bit of a mystery unless they realized it simply wasn’t going to get any better than what was offered.
Regardless, while book copyrights would be respected and only tiny sections of those books would be made available, it would essentially be left up to publishers and authors to make sure Google was following its own rules. Let’s hear it for a resounding “Uh, NO.” The judge hearing the case didn’t like that particular point or the amount of power the entire endeavor gave the Search Engine giant. Plus, when it comes to books that are out-of-print, yet still fall under copyright, self-interested parties have no real business presiding over them.
The legal battle has gone on for six years now and based on Google’s response about considering their options, a giant doesn’t like to be told “no.” That word will just make them more determined than ever.