When Nerds attack – Google Print

I have been following the recent debate on Google print from both inside and outside the bubble. You see I work for a publisher, and although this naturally biases me towards one side, I feel I am rational enough to be able to look at the argument….well, rationally.

Some of the vitriol that is coming from both sides of the electronic fence is frankly harsh. In an almost teenager-ish paddy the nerds are claiming that Google is lovely and they just want to put all print works online for everyone’s benefit including the authors and publishers.

On Forbes, Nick Schulz responds with an op-ed of his own, “Don’t Fear Google,” in which he masterfully deconstructs Schoeder and Barr’s crazy-talk

Crazy-talk? I though this was meant to be a debate? Yes Google, so far, are lovely and they genuinely want to do good. However they are also now a public company and those shareholders have to be kept happy. What if Google one day decides to do something a little more with that material.

Indeed it ain’t all fluffy bunnies on the other side:

And so we find ourselves joining together to fight a $90 billion company bent on unilaterally changing copyright law to their benefit and in turn denying publishers and authors the rights granted to them by the U.S. Constitution. – Source

Indeed offering snippets isn’t really changing copyright at all.

It seems to me, that like in many arguments, the real issues aren’t being addressed. Instead nasty insults and insinuations are thrown about trying to make the other side cry.

I think the main problem has been that Google just announced they were going to start up this project with the disclaimer that if you tell us exactly which books you don’t want published then we won’t do it. The publishers and authors were probably more miffed that they weren’t consulted on Google’s new venture. Now ofcourse the Nerds are saying that the publishers and authors are just looking to make money out of this whereas lovely Google simply wants to teach the world how to sing.

I see the arguments on both sides and genuinely feel that if Google works with the publishers and listens to the authors then everyone will probably be happy. Google will provide more eyeballs for titles, thus increasing sales for Publishers and thus author royalties and Google will make a stack of cash from the ads placed next to them.

All of this rather nasty speak is really just clouding the issue.

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