Publishing industry settles

The following is a reply I added on John Degen's blog to his article Industry News -- Google settles.

As always, there are multiple ways to look at the recent agreement.

You could think that Google settled (your idea), or that the publishing industry settled. It all depends on what you saw as the problem, and then what came out as a solution.

I believe the problem was that even in this day-and-age of print on demand that the concept of "Out of Print" still existed. I consider it ludicrus that I would be prevented from getting a license on *any* work under copyright, under reasonable rates and terms, and in a digital format compatable with the technology I own.

That, and not infringement, is the top issue facing copyright today.

The publishing Industry wasn't offering that, so Google stepped in and pushed the envelope. Sure, what they did could be claimed to be infringing, but I don't have a problem with that as long as we eventually get to a good outcome. Infrngement of the established methods has been the only way to deal with the need to change the copyright system throughout the history of copyright.

What do we now have? An eCommerce site that allows you to search for and purchase more books than we could in the past.

Sounds like a win-win for Google, their customers/audience/etc and the print media industry. While I may see this as the publishing industry caving into Google's attempt to solve the real problem (copyright holders not offering their works for sale in a new medium), in the end it doesn't matter. The publishers can claim they won all they want, whether fact or fiction.

It does look like some people simply don't get it. You can look at the response from Viacom whose answer isn't to offer reasonable licenses/formats for their content, but to try to take it down from everywhere. I hope Google continues to push this issue until the real problem (which is not infringement) is solved for each type of human creativity that can be published digitally.

While I know some copyright holders see Google as the enemy, all evidence I see is that they are the best ally that creators have right now.

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Some good articles...

It is worth noting some good articles on this.

Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) consultant.