Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Behold: The Power of the Internet!

"The most truthful part of a newspaper is the advertisements." --Thomas Jefferson

Did anyone else stumble across this painfully-ironic story in The New York Times, "A Google Search of a Distinctly Retro Kind"? Apparently Google has decided to expand its Google Books program to include every book, ever published, anywhere. Unfortunately, the Internet conglomerate ran into copyright infringement laws:

"Google, the online giant, had been sued in federal court by a large group of authors and publishers who claimed that its plan to scan all the books in the world violated their copyrights.

"As part of the class-action settlement, Google will pay $125 million to create a system under which customers will be charged for reading a copyrighted book, with the copyright holder and Google both taking percentages; copyright holders will also receive a flat fee for the initial scanning, and can opt out of the whole system if they wish.

"But first they must be found.

"Since the copyright holders can be anywhere and not necessarily online — given how many books are old or out of print — it became obvious that what was needed was a huge push in that relic of the pre-Internet age: print."

Behold: the power of the Internet! It can force even Google to return to a 15th-Century invention to achieve all of its goals. Amazing.

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