hutcheson - 9:33 pm on Feb 13, 2010 (gmt 0)
>That's why we have copright - the assumption is that the author/owner gets to say what happens to their work, not you.
The settlement applies only to the U.S., and that motivation plays no part whatsoever in why the U.S. has copyright. (Here, its SOLE justification is to make information available to the public.)
You may not like that. Tough. Your jurisdiction may have different laws. That's its right.
>You want the default answer to be yes. So does Google. I disagree.
Google has an advantage: an actual argument in its favor (two, really). Google points out that the author obviously wanted the book to be printed at one time (else it couldn't have been published)--therefore the only sensible default is "yes"--we KNOW, of absolute moral certainty, that for every one of those authors the answer was "yes" at some point in time. You cannot know that any of them would now say "no" (without, of course, asking.)
Google's second argument is that (at least in the U.S.) making information available is not "something the law doesn't care about". It is the ONLY thing copyright law cares about. All copyright is merely a pragmatic approach to making that information available. If it's failing, it MUST be changed--that's a constitutional requirement.
Google is showing one way in which the required social purpose might be accomplished -- WITHOUT trampling over the rights of authors who truly want to be suppressed.