September 21, 2005

Google suit

So... whaddya think? Usually, we champion the free distribution of ideas...but of course, we include "creative commons" licenses on our own blogs to protect intellectual property... Google's plan to digitize 4 major library collections in addition to the NY Public Library collection has made the authors' guild quite angry. Now, I imagine that authors like John Grisham would be upset by this kind of a publication... I think I'm confused about why a poet would be upset. I mean, there's the loss of royalties... but every poet I've ever talked to says that the royalties are so meager that it wouldn't really make a difference... and as far as literary estates go... it's not like they're digitizing the author's private notebooks, so their literary estates would hold their value... so what do poets have to lose?

Also, I have this skepticism about the Authors' Guild filing the suit. I have this sense that the people *actually* underwriting the effort is big publishers... and that authors are being used as a "face" for the operation. It's much easier to be sympathetic toward a poor poet who still dresses in sweaters with patches on the elbows who claims that his livelihood is being threatened than a guy in an Armani suit who actually owns the book.

Color me skeptical... I don't think we're getting the whole story here.

Posted by c_jane at September 21, 2005 9:40 AM | TrackBack