I didn't see a post on this so I thought I'd share. Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, has written an op-ed for the New York Times called A Library to Last Forever
. He talks about books being destroyed in the past from "fires, floods and other disasters." My favorite point, though, is this:
Others have questioned the impact of the agreement on competition, or asserted that it would limit consumer choice with respect to out-of-print books. In reality, nothing in this agreement precludes any other company or organization from pursuing their own similar effort. The agreement limits consumer choice in out-of-print books about as much as it limits consumer choice in unicorns. Today, if you want to access a typical out-of-print book, you have only one choice — fly to one of a handful of leading libraries in the country and hope to find it in the stacks.
I wish there were a hundred services with which I could easily look at such a book; it would have saved me a lot of time, and it would have spared Google a tremendous amount of effort. But despite a number of important digitization efforts to date (Google has even helped fund others, including some by the Library of Congress), none have been at a comparable scale, simply because no one else has chosen to invest the requisite resources. At least one such service will have to exist if there are ever to be one hundred.
I've been a big fan of Google Books since it first appeared as Google Print. My excitement over the project has never really died down. To be able to search so many books instantly? Amazing. No one else has come close to making this happen. Copyright lawed is complex, cumbersome, and inhibitive to the point of being counterproductive. I think Google helps authors much more than it hurts. I know this issue has been raised time and again on these boards, Teleread, other tech blogs, the news, etc. No need beating a dead horse, of course. Everyone is pretty firm in their views on the agreement. But does anyone have any thoughts specifically about the op-ed?