Great Whining and Wringing of Hands

The Google copyright heist?

Excuse me.  They negotiated with the copyright holders and worked out a deal.  This is a heist how?  And as to working out remuneration--the present copyright laws are so thoroughly draconian and so thorough antithetical to at least on of the purposes of a properly drafted copyright law (promoting the arts) but I shouldn't be surprised to see piracy become the norm.  When the law has gone out of its mind, no one will abide with it.  It's high time that we threw Mickey Mouse to the sharks and instituted good and reasonable copyright laws.  Laws that allow expiration at 20 years or the author's lifetime, whichever is longer.


  1. Well, strictly speaking Google did not negotiate with copyright holders. They negotiated with the Author's Guild in the US, who doesn't even have legal standing to speak for the owners of OOP works. Hell, they don't have standing to negotiate on behalf of publishers or authors of in-print books, either. And Hachette has no legal right (if French copyright law is anything like US copyright law) to scan and give to Google the OOP books in their library, as the electronic reproduction rights to those books no longer belong to Hachette. So yes, theft. On a grand scale.

  2. Dear Mr. Bailey,

    I will defer to your great understanding. But I stand by the essential which is, so long as copyright seeks a stranglehold on all use for as long as they intend to continue extending it, you can expect this approach to digitization. And--for OOP works, I half applaud it. Not for the works of living authors--for whom it is a crime against their livelihood--but for those for whom there is no recourse--their estates no longer have interest in keeping the works in print, this will rescue some valuable properties from oblivion.

    Naturally, it comes at cost. I don't see this as so much a heist as the only way one can reasonably try to negotiate so massive an effort as the attempt to archive all that has been written.

    It is controversial, and it is difficult--but the only ones, in my mind, who have any basis for complaint are those living authors whose OOP works have been so negotiated--and then normal legal recourse is the proper path even if in class action mode. In the meantime, preserve the others--those books no one has paid attention to or which are cared for by any others than specialists.

    But thank you kindly for the correction of my misunderstanding. Copyright is one of those matters about which I am passionate and present law distorts out of all recognition the original purpose for a copyright to start with. Unlike present law it was never meant to be a right in perpetuity. Presently, it is in all but name.



  3. It's high time that we threw Mickey Mouse to the sharks and instituted good and reasonable copyright laws.

    Strong words, given your geographical and professional locations in life.


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