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Re: Google books

On Wed, Jan 6th, 2010 at 11:32 AM, Dora Smith <villandra@austin.rr.com> wrote:

> I'm afraid that, for once, I'm with Google on this one.   Information
> belongs to everyone and not only to those willing and able to pay big bucks 
> for it. 

You might be able to argue that about the raw data. Certainly most journals 
seem to allow you to 
download supplimental information for free, even if the article itself isn't 
freely available.

However I'd argue that many authors probably wouldn't want their hard work to 
be just given away. 
Researching a book can be a long and thankless task, and refining the prose to 
be as clear and concise 
as possible - while also being engaging to the reader - is a skill that 
certainly shouldn't be under-
valued. If Google were summarising or paraphrasing information then they could 
legally distribute it as 
they saw fit (that's basically the premise behind most internet sites). However 
giving away copyrighted 
works verbatim without explicit consent is, in my opinion, stealing. 

There are plenty of publications out there that are out of copyright, and no 
doubt many authors would 
have no problem with allowing Google to reproduce and disseminate their older 
works. Convincing 
publishers to allow recent publications (or those still in active print) to be 
disseminated for free would 
probably be difficult though - and the lawyers they can afford are often little 
more than pit-bulls in 
suits. Of course, Google itself isn't exactly stapped for cash when it comes to 
hiring aggressive lawyers.


Dann Pigdon
GIS / Archaeologist                Australian Dinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia               http://home.alphalink.com.au/~dannj