Sport & Auto
- About Future
- Digital Future
- Cookies Policy
- Terms & Conditions
- Investor Relations
- Contact Future
Google’s efforts to digitize every book it can lay its hands on and make the content available on the Internet has drawn the ire of authors, publishers, and technology companies such as Amazon and Microsoft. So much so that the pending court settlement on Google’s effort has been delayed. Sergey Brin, a co-founder and president of technology at Google, responded to critics of the Google Books effort in an op-ed published in the October 8 New York Times. Brin raises four issues to legitimize Google’s efforts.
First, Brin argues that information unavailable is information wasted. Brin writes that “the vast majority of books ever written are not accessible to anyone except the most tenacious researchers at premier academic libraries. Books written after 1923 quickly disappear into a literary black hole.” Information, such as the 1919 issue of the journal Electrical World’s assessment of the state of electric cars, doesn’t really exist. Digitization can correct that.
Second, paper is temporal. Books are continually being lost to age, improper care, and disasters. Libraries are forever burning: Alexandria, the Library of Congress, and even Stanford University's own libraries. When books burn so to does the collective human wisdom they represent. Digitizing books saves them and the knowledge they contain.
Third, authors are cheated by Google’s project. Brin states this is not so, that authors are able to control the pricing and access of their works in Google Books. And that “orphaned” books will be subject to default rules on pricing and access, accumulating revenues should their authors reappear.
Lastly, Brin tackles the question of competition. Some argue that Google’s efforts would lock others out of the market, effectively creating a Google-controlled monopoly. Not so says Brin because at present no one else wants to do what Google is doing. And, should someone wish to enter the market at a later time they would be free to do so; Google would be unable to prevent it.
Brin’s views no doubt will be reflected in the on-going negotiations for settlement. The judge overseeing the case, Judge Denny Chin, has set a November 9 deadline for a revised settlement.
Image Credit: Google