Thursday, February 03, 2005

Righting copyright: fair use and "digital environmentalism"

Righting copyright: fair use and "digital environmentalism"
"As amazing an effort as Google Print is (creating nothing less than a virtual 'universal library of knowledge'), its logical goal—giving readers full access to the entire contents of that library—will be undercut by our intellectual property laws. It is an inherently unstable situation, and it is only a matter of time before someone (Amazon? Random House?) develops software to link this vast cache of literature to a convenient print-on-demand service (for which the hardware already exists). When it becomes possible to hold an inexpensive, physical copy of one of Google's digitized titles in one's hands—but only if it was first published prior to 1923 and is therefore in the public domain—people will begin to understand the implications of having something so obviously beneficial (universal access to universal knowledge) tethered to laws from another era. Google Print may be the Trojan Horse of the copyright wars."
Bookforum, publication date: February/March 2005

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