Upload Complete : Google Books
In case you get bored spying on your neighbor with Google Earth, trying to find your own picture on Google Images, or with the ho hum sources found using Google Homepage, you can now access Google Book Search, “the twenty-first-century equivalent of the Library of Alexandria”, to read books online, search with in books for words and phrases, and read reviews of any book. For instance, if you type in “Google Books” in the Google Book search, “Googlepedia” pops up. On the right hand Sidebar, if you search “Copyright”, you are led to a page with a little quip on the end. It begins:
“As the Google Books Library Project goes about its business of scanning hundreds of thousands of library books, it’s important to note that Google is scanning those books without first seeking the approval of those books’ authors or publishers. That has caused a great deal of friction between Google and the publishing community-and at least one major lawsuit“. (Googlepedia). On one hand, Google has collected at little cost thousands of pages, documents, and books worth of information and opened it up to the public. On the other hand, Google’s new book store and library monopoly has the potential to overtake the efforts of the original authors, publishers, and venders of these books.
Whether or not you oppose Google’s efforts along with the Authors Guild, shy away from the Google Monopoly by hiding in the “Dark Age”, or subscribe to Open Minded Cosmopolitan Intellectual Rights and Utopian Ideals newsletter, you automatically qualify for the eighteenth century “Republic of Letters” bill of citizenship. The act of reading and writing is essential. “Writers formulate ideas, and readers judge them. Thanks to the power of the printed word, judgments spread in widening circles, and the strongest arguments won” (Google and the Future of Books). There fore, It makes sense to let the public deside whether or not they will use Google Books. Lets face it, in today’s economic downturn, who could afford to be apart of the imagined “Republic of Letters” let alone buy volumes of books. “Despite its principles, the Republic of Letters, as it actually operated, was a closed world, inaccessible to the underprivileged. Yet I want to invoke the Enlightenment in an argument for openness in general and for open access in particular.” (Google and the Future of Books). At the risk of uploading books with out permission, google has now provided people with the opportunity to view parts of books they probably never would have heard of otherwise.
Google isn’t the first to step on Copyright Law’s toes. It is not hard for anyone to download music, share files, take pictures, or even to check out a book from a library. Information is being shared and transferred at an incredible pace. Lawrence Lessig then raises the question, "What does it mean to society when a whole generation is raised as criminals? The creative practices of today's youth include a range of activities -- file sharing, most notoriously, but also the production of mashups -- that are illegal under the current copyright regime, but criminalization is having little success as a deterrent. Instead, the focus on "piracy" is changing our relationship to the law itself, which has come to seem arbitrary and unfair, and it's hampering creative and educational uses of new technologies.” It's time to consider, Lessig argues, whether the costs of this war are too high. Although Congress has passed 24 laws to correct copyright problems, it has failed to protect artists, businesses. It seems as if Congress and other authority are focusing on the wrong “intellectual rights” culprits. “While the public authorities slept, Google took the initiative”. (Google and the Future of books). Google is just moving along with our culture of open communication. We have come to expect easy access to information. Lessig points to a number of successful examples, including craigslist, Flickr, YouTube, and Slashdot, all of which combine a mode of community-based production with corporate services. "You create value by giving people what they want," Lessig points out; "you create good by designing what you're offering so that people getting what they want also give something back to the community.” (Remix) At the end of the day, Google is bringing back books to society and at the same time advertising lesser-known books for free.
Google and the Future of Books, http://www.nybooks.com/articles/22281
Miller, Michael. “Googlepedia”. http://books.google.com/books?id=sZPXICDPcKwC&pg=PA484&dq=google+books&ei=PEjMScWhC4vKNYenle4N#PPA512,M1
Ink Slinging http://blog.wired.com/sterling/2009/01/ink-slinging-wr.html
Lessig, Lawrence, “Remix: Making Art and Commerce thrive in the Hybrid Economy”.
Review of Lessig, Lawrence, “Remix: Making Art and Commerce thrive in the Hybrid Economy”.
*This is the second time I posted this blog : I'm not sure if it went through the first time