11/5/09 – Google’s Got Issues
Last week my roommate came to me in a panic. He had a paper due the next morning but he hadn’t bought the required books. His problem, like many of today’s, was solved with a simple answer. Google it! Of the three books needed for his paper, my roommate was able to find two on Google books. It wasn’t the prettiest solution but it was enough for him to earn an A minus.
Google books is an example of how advances in technology impact other aspects of society, and I don’t just mean student’s grades. Google’s effort to digitize library books, beginning in 2004, is making impacts across the world. Primarily these impacts are being felt in the fields of publishing and copyright law. Google is now involved in what time magazine calls “a ferocious legal free-for-all spanning the globe.” A year ago, Google made a legal settlement with groups representing authors and publishers. But recently, this settlement has come under fire as cases like Authors Guild et al. vs. Google Inc. have dragged the dispute across seas. Some publishers weren’t consulted during Google’s first settlement while other parties fear the lack of competition Google would face as a book seller. (The traffic from Google books is already a major boost in traffic.)
The dispute has attracted major attention. Some, like Angela Merkel the chancellor of Germany, have criticized Google’s actions and apparent neglect. Others, like Amy Tan, have supported Google’s attempts. Regardless of the outcome there will be a major impact on traditional forms of book distribution. Which means authors and the publishing industry might do well to adapt.
Don’t Forget to take the Black Board Quiz
Time Magazine Article
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