GSBP: Google Book Search Project
AAP: Association of American Publishers
BSS: Book Search Settlement
Imagine you are looking for some rare book, you can't find it in libraries, bookstores or even on Amazon. Finally you find it it on Google Book Search, and you are happy as a clam only to discover that you have to pay $10, 000 to get it! Yes that can be very real scenario if the GBSP continues as it is planned.
Alright! you are like we know you just want to make sensational statements for shock value. but, but, bear with me while I provide background.
GBSP is an ambitious plan to digitize the every book ever written and available in world's libraries. In 2004, Google started teaming up with some biggest libraries of English speaking world like NY public library, Howard, Oxford etc. to scan their entire collection in Google database, so far Google has scanned 10 millions books. The mission of the project was simple: to organize world's information and make it universally accessible. Sounds benign enough right? No, my dear sir, it's not that simple.
There is a copyright law for protection of literature.That says you can not use copy righted material without explicit permission from the holders except for fair use. Google initially planned to use only little snippets from scanned work in response to query. This would circumvent the copyright but AAP sued Google arguing that mere scanning of collection is copyright infringement. They (AAP) are not wrong because google did not seek permission of actual right holders. To overcome this problem Google struck up a deal AAP called BSS.
ok now Answer:
oh the question. Right.
Why the GBSP is evil?
The deal is where devil lies. So what happened here was: A cope caught a thief stealing a loaf of bread so he struck a deal with him: If the thief robs the next door bank too and shares that loot with the cop, he is good to go! ok, let me explain.
There are two class of copyrighted material in print literature and out of print literature or orphan books. These are the books whose right holders cannot be found. This deal awards exclusive right to google to use/sell these books as long as it shares profit with AAP. Yep you read that right! it's like legalized version of finders are keepers, but only finders have to share the item with the proverbial big brother, in this case AAP. oh and this settlement has class action status. What does that mean? That means right holders of the orphan books don't even know that their rights are being compromised in US court. Normally in class action status lawsuits affected parties are sent mail from the court informing them outcome of the lawsuit even if they never participated in the lawsuit. you guys have received such mails. Say one of the wireless service provider is sued for wrong text messaging charges by one of the customers and nature of the lawsuit is determined to be class action then the court sends mail to all the customer informing them about the lawsuit and outcome of the lawsuit. But here the original right holders can not be found to start with so they would not ever know that they do not own the books that they themselves published or wrote. As wrong and unjust it sounds, it actually is. you are like but I never wrote a book so why do I care? but my dear reader you are the bigger victim here because you (common consumer) will pay the price of monopoly.
In conclusion I will try to answer these three simple questions:
1. Is google as a company evil or unethical?
Probably not. Thanks to Google you can see your home from space, track swine flu(it was current when I prepared this speech but...i will say procrastination sucks) or figure out traffic congestion without paying a dime for it. oh and you are reading this because of Google. blogger is free service from Google. :wink:
2. Does google rouse suspicion?
Yes it does. There is this habit of tracking what you search for and take your contacts from your Gmail account make it public without ever consulting you(remember early version of Buzz?) [I had much more material on this one but I removed from the final draft to fit into time limit and my old laptop died without warning so I lost it all and more. again procrastination sucks people]
3. Is the GBSP and BSS evil?
Yes. It's awarding exclusive right of selling books to a single company giant! do I need to say more? No? but I will. :P
First and foremost, authors, the real owners/publishers are over stepped and common consumer is subjected to monopoly for millions and millions of books not just one or two. This sheer amplitude of the impact is nerve wracking itself. how anybody in their right mind can agree to something like this?
UPDATE: My friend told me and rightfully so that I need to say something about China-Google conflict. Well, I think Google is right on that one. I need to read more to form a detailed opinion.On surface Google seems right. also I am not at all anti Google, I think Google has show sportsmanship so far. I am anti monopoly though.