Friday, October 21, 2005

What's the Mathematical Algorithm for Lawsuit?

From BBC News:

The Association of American Publishers, which includes firms such as Penguin, has filed a suit in New York claiming Google will infringe their copyrights.

As part of its Print Library Project, Google plans to index and scan millions of books from five major libraries...

...Once the texts are digitised, users would not be able to download or print the whole book, but would be able to view a few sentences from each.

Copyright holders have until 1 November to contact Google and get their titles removed from the list of those books to be scanned.

However, the publishers say that does not go far enough and want the whole process to stop and have called on the court to grant them an injunction claiming they are suffering "continuing, irreparable and imminent harm".

On the one hand, I can see why publishers would react in this fashion. Even if Google's making "a few sentences" available, it's still courting infringement to have an author's work digitized and potentially available for pirating.

Still, has this arm of the entertainment industry learned nothing from its film and music brethren? Your work is going to get online. It's inevitable, at this point. Instead of fighting change reactively, why not work with Google to insure your copyrights are protected, and use this as a springboard to begin offering your authors' texts online legally?


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