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Today, we're announcing an initiative to help bring more magazine archives and current magazines online, partnering with publishers to begin digitizing millions of articles from titles as diverse as New York Magazine, Popular Mechanics, and Ebony.
You can search for magazines through Google Book Search. Over time, as we scan more articles, you'll see more and more magazines appear in Google Book Search results. Eventually, we'll also begin blending magazine results into our main Google.com search results, so you may begin finding magazines you didn't even know you were looking for. For now you can restrict your search to magazines we've scanned by trying an advanced search.
Seriously, are there many people here who feel threatened by Google's decision to index old copies of JET, POPULAR SCIENCE, or CINCINNATI BRIDE? I'm inclined to think that this is good for Web publishers (or at least for those who rank decently in Google), since it will make Google an even more useful starting point for readers who are seeking information.
Just a service?
Or, a route to servitude?
In its 2006 Annual Report to shareholders, Google also acknowledges:
We have had copyright claims filed against us alleging that features of certain of our products and services, including Google Web Search, Google News, Google Video, Google Image Search, Google Book Search and YouTube, infringe their rights.
From "Google: Copyright infringement lawsuit risks ‘could be substantial’" March 13th, 2007 - zdnet
Not long ago, Google agreed to pay $125 million to the book industry to settle claims of copyright infringement over its BookSearch scheme. The agreement means Google can now legally scan copyrighted books and put them online as long as they are no longer in print.
From "Google Pays $125M For Copyright Infringement" Oct. 6, 2008 - www.infopackets.com
Google Inc., owner of the world's most popular Internet-search engine, lost two copyright lawsuits in Germany over displaying photos and artworks as thumbnails in a preview of search results.
From "Google Loses German Copyright Cases Over Image-Search Previews" Oct. 13, 2008 - Bloomburg
Viacom and its companies file a copyright infringement lawsuit against YouTube and Google seeking at least $1 billion in damages.
From "Viacom Files Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Against YouTube and
Google Over Unauthorized Use Of The Company's Shows" March 13, 2007 - www.findlaw.com
I would suggest that copyright is an afterthought for Google, and that they are more than willing to buy their way out of any claims that might be brought against them.
A "free" service?
I use G because they are the best at what they do. If Y, MS or anyone else could do as well I would run from G in a hot second. The above quotes might suggest that this is not just a tin hat reaction...
Lawmakers have been extremely sluggish, to say the least, in realizing what information technology has unleashed on the world. So I can't fault any organization for just forging ahead and then picking up the pieces that fall off as they go.
Copyright law isn't some kind of gospel. It's always been a work in progress, and it's time for it to progress again. The minute the Grateful Dead sanctioned "bootlegging" the writing was on the wall. The challenge today isn't can an artist/author protect their intellectual property. The challenge is whether they can even find their audience at all, in such an information overload.
A related concept - information "wants to be" free, but information also wants to be expensive. Finding the balance is the job we all will be working on for a few years.
they've partnered with the magazines in question
If some of them were provided by freelancers then the terms of republication may be more complicated, because freelancers don't always sell full copyright.
True, but that's an issue between the magazines and the freelancers, not Google and the freelancers.
As Tedster points out, copyright matters can be complicated. A good example is the archiving of old magazines and newspapers on microfilm. When a writer sells First North American Serial Rights to a magazine (as U.S. freelancers typically did until recent years), does that give the magazine the right to license the article to a research service that sells microfilm copies to libraries? Some writers might say no, just as some "First North American Serial Rights" freelancers might think they're entitled to royalties from copies of newspaper articles in electronic library databases. But the practice is accepted, and I'm not aware of any microfilm publishers who have been forced out of business because of complaints from writers.
Microfilming, the archiving of published articles at Findarticles.com, and (now) magazine scanning by Google Books may be topics of interest to lawyers or concerned writers, but--again--that doesn't change the fact that Google has made a good-faith arrangement with the magazine publishers (who, by licensing their content, are asserting that they have the right to do so).
Google is monetizing the world's information - and monopolizing it as well. Step by step, incrementally. Scanning magazines is just another step in the process.
I don't think it is tin hat material to express dismay over a company that is acquiring such influence and control over information. In fact, I would suggest if you are not concerned, then you are not paying attention!
As for "monetizing", that's simply a non-issue. So long as I can get information from Google at no cost and pass it on without limitation, Google's monetization is limited to be something less than the added value of their contribution to society. In other words, it can't possibly be anything other than a good thing. But it's better than that. Google's monetization puts practical limits on other people's attempts to monetize or monopolize that same information--and that also can't possibly be anything other than a good thing.
I can see the old-style monopolists getting squeezed, since they're USED to "monopolizing and monetizing", and now they can't do the former, and are limited in the latter due to Google's more efficient distribution. And that also can't be other than a good thing.
As for "controlling" the information, that's just absurd. Google indexes pretty much what they can find, not merely the portions of it that agree with whatever control or influence Google wants to exert. If you publish a book or magazine, I understand Google will allow full text access if you wish--that's regardless of whether or not they condone your opinions.
This is all a process of "cutting out the socially non-valuable, economically overpriced middlemen in the publishing industry." I'm really enjoying seeing who gets hurt by Google, because that's such an accurate gauge of who's been most egregiously, well, gauging the customers.