Google has incurred the wrath of the French publishing industry yet again, with book publishers Albin Michel, Flammarion and Gallimard unleashing a €9.8 million law suit for unlawfully scanning 9,797 books. Google’s impending march back into European courts comes as news emerged of a US$500 million fund being put aside to …
If Google just uses it as some kind of index "Book X by Y, ISBN N contains what you are looking for" and maybe with a highlighted paragraph or something, then I totally fail to see the issue.
If, however, Google vomits up the entire book or sells/provides by any means a copy (or large portion) of the book for which the publisher receives no remuneration, then that is an issue.
And looking at Google Books it appears to be the former, so I am not sure what their problem is as Google Books just lets people find their book and then easily buy it. Surely that's of advantage to the publisher?
Google is the preferred search environment because it has loads of information available to it. It sells advertising because of the information and the whole process continues as a spiral. More information, more preference, more money, more information.....
Some of that information is acquired by, to some people, less than completely legitimate methods. If google has illegally scanned a book and is able to put all or part of that on the web for a while then it benefits from a marginal increase in traffic, trade and advertising revenue. If it does that enough without being called to account then it is making massive, potentially illegitimate profit at the expense of others.
Or, google may say, to the benefit of other because they are placing in the information more prominently in the public domain. This they would say is the purpose of google books? But it only happens because of marginally legal and unchallenged activity.
Google sells advertising. As someone once said... "follow the money".
Were is the 'Google with horns' icon??
At the risk of inviting a flame war I do think these French publishers are overestimating their importance. The Francophone universe is relatively small and while it may be culturally important to itself it really isn't something that matters to most of humanity. Eventually the French speaking world will wise up and realize that it doesn't matter if you make the most beautiful books if nobody knows about them then they might as well not exist.
So just pull the plug..........
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