Dickens Would Have Abhorred Google Book Search
“If you click on Great Expectations by Charles Dickens in Google Book Search, you may find yourself taking an unexpected journey. Google’s ambient advertising programme hotlinks to a dating agency called Great Expectations Dating. How crass is that? We can be sure that Dickens would have thought it so. Indeed, he would probably have reserved a special vituperation for Google’s literary land-grab.
“There are two aspects to this land-grab. The first involves scanning out-of-copyright work, provided by the great libraries, and surrounding it with such advertising. That’s not illegal, though it is of cultural concern. The second part of Google’s literary predations, in the case of American libraries, involves scanning in-copyright works — for the purpose of publication — without direct prior permission of the copyright holder. That is to say, the author or his or her estate. Google’s decision to scan first and ask permission later with copyrighted works is playing fast and loose. In America, it has already landed Google with a huge lawsuit from publishers.
“It is authors who will suffer most. Dickens isn’t around to defend the integrity of his work. Were he alive, he would certainly have tried. In Dickens’s spirit, I believe we need to take action against Google. ”
Nigel Newton. Google’s Literary Land-Grab. Guardian Unlimited. March 4, 2006.
Information World Review. French PA May Sue Google. March 3, 2006.
CopyCense™: K. Matthew Dames on the intersection of business, law and technology. A business venture of Seso Digital LLC.