Monday, February 4, 2008

Forcing Change in Copyright Law? - Google Scanning and Copyright Law

The part that hurt because it hit right on target: "I actually think that this is the job of libraries. ... [libraries] should have identified this as a major public need ... It's a sad commentary on our sort of state of information these days that it takes a daring and - for now, anyway - rich company to make these sort of inroads and stand up for a more flexible copyright system when in fact our public institutions should be doing this. But in this day and age, it's not very fashionable to believe that public institutions can actually do anything for us." -- Siva Vaidhyanathan.

From: http://www.onthemedia.org/transcripts/2005/09/30/05

NPR On The Media: Steal this Book

BOB GARFIELD: So if I understand this right, you're actually sympathetic with Google's view of how fair use and copyright law should be understood but you just think that they're rolling the dice and too likely to hit snake-eyes on this one.

SIVA VAIDHYANATHAN: Exactly. I see our copyright system right now as rather absurd and unworkable. And what does work is delicate. It's a delicate ecosystem, and I'm very worried about something so disruptive and so revolutionary really flattening out a lot of the nuances of copyright that have allowed for such amazing creativity in the Web world.

BOB GARFIELD: If not Google now, then who? And when? Who should be in charge of deciding which books get scanned?

SIVA VAIDHYANATHAN: Well, I actually think that this is the job of libraries. I think libraries should be doing this first and foremost. The Library of Congress should have identified this as a major public need and goal and pursued this sort of project years ago. Instead, they've outsourced it to a private corporation, and this corporation, as good as they like to make us think they are, is still operating by keeping us blind. Their technology is proprietary. Their algorithms for search are completely secret. We don't actually know what's going to generate a certain list of search results. They don't work for us.

BOB GARFIELD: You're suggesting this is a war that has to be fought. You just don't want Google to be the one doing the fighting.

SIVA VAIDHYANATHAN: Yeah. It's a sad commentary on our sort of state of information these days that it takes a daring and - for now, anyway - rich company to make these sort of inroads and stand up for a more flexible copyright system when in fact our public institutions should be doing this. But in this day and age, it's not very fashionable to believe that public institutions can actually do anything for us.

1 comment:

Siva said...

Thanks for posting this.

-- Siva