The lawsuit against Google filed by the Association of American publishers, that includes Pearson, Simon & Schuster, Penguin and McGraw-Hill for copywright infringement on scanning books is a very big deal. The creation of intellectual property is absolutely critical as we move into toward a creativity-based economy. The publishers are saying that when Google digitizes and scans entire books that are already protected under copywrite into its new Google Print online library, it’s breaking the law. And should be stopped. Authors of books, by and large, support their publishers’ position against Google.
So we have yet again a classic struggle of two ideals: making information available to as many people as possible vs. compensating the creators of that information who wouldn’t do it for free. Music. File-sharing. We’ve been here before. Except that Google stands to make lots of money from taking authors’ books and sending them out to everyone around the world. Kids didn’t profit from their file-sharing.
I’ve spoken to Chinese designers who have left China to work in the US because all they are asked to do is copy US, European and Japanese products. They hate the idea of not being original. They want to create the new. They come to America to do that. We need to make sure that those who create can benefit from their work and not be exploited. Is Google behaving like an Asian knock-off firm that takes the innovation of others for free and sells them for its own profit? Should Google be considered for this year’s Plagarius award?
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