I've been listening to Lawrence Lessig giving an interview to Digital Village and part of it is about the current arguments around Google Print.

I have a slightly different take on this. Most of the arguments from both sides and from commentators have been about copyright and copyright law and focusing on fair use. I think this is a red herring. I think what's really happening here is horse trading in public between Google and the publishers. And the publisher's real worry is that Google is creating a new form of their product which they really should be doing themselves. In a few years, Google will hold a digital copy of the publisher's product and the publishers won't. And at some time in the future after that, the publishers will want to buy a digital copy from Google rather than create one themselves. At which point it may be rather more expensivethan they would like because Google will have sole control.

One point in the copyright arguments that I find particularly interesting is that fair use of the written word is fairly well understood and has a long history. Provided you give attribution where you can and limit what you quote, it's held to be entirely reasonable to include a snippet of text from a copyrighted work in your work and then do whatever you like with it, including to sell it. However there appears to be no equivalent fair use for any other form of media and communication. Or at least that's what the major media companies would like you to believe. And in particular where it relates to sound and vision. To make it completely clear, including a sample of music or video in your music or video is not allowed while including a sample of text in your text is allowed. Now why is that and is it right? And as we move to an increasingly multimedia world and away from a pure text world, this limits our freedom of expression and ability to create new works. It also limits Google's (and others) ability to provide search metadata for audio and video in comparison with their ability with text. This is the core of Lessig's arguments for a remix culture and against current copyright law.

[ << Google Base bulk upload with FTP ] [ The 8-fold path to Internet Happiness >> ]
[ 05-Dec-05 6:02pm ] [ , , ]