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The Cost of Arrogance

In last weekend’s, John Timpane takes a local look at the ongoing GBS saga.  While acknowledging the benefits of a digital library – along with some dangers – the piece takes a close and cautionary look at what the proposed settlement could mean for authors and other copyright holders.

Timpane includes commentary from Swarthmore poet, Daniel Hoffman, who was party to the 2005 lawsuit against Google.  In an earlier opinion piece, the poet wrote that if Google becomes:

“The repository of the accumulated knowledge and literature of all civilization, won’t the firm attract many more advertisers? We authors, whose work can be read and, in many cases, reproduced by the touch of a key, won’t see five cents of this income. And to the extent that that income is based on illegal appropriation of our writings, neither should Google.”

Further on in the article, James Grimmelmann, associate professor at the New York Law School, highlights just how broad reaching the proposal is:

“This reverses the default of prior law,” Grimmelmann said. Usually, the publisher must seek out copyright holders and secure permission before publishing. “Some people are afraid that under such an agreement, no copyright is safe.”

While the practice of unilaterally rewriting copyright law would be galling for most companies, according to a recent Gawker article titled Six Delusions of Google’s Arrogant Leaders, this type if activity is increasingly par for the course with Google.

Originally posted on The Open Book Alliance Blog by admin.

Written by internetarchive

March 17, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Posted in internet archive

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