Note: I wrote this for an assignment for a psychology class this semester and there was some interest from people that they wanted to read it. Here it is.
After reading both arguments of Issue 17, “Should the World’s Libraries Be Digitized?” in Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Science, Technology, and Society, I feel as though Google is really trying to help humanity even if it is still making a profit. Still, nobody has the right to take, copy and redistribute others’ creations without their permission. The arguments talked about the Google Print Library Project (GPLP) and the Google Print Publishers Project (GPPP). The difference that I understood from the book, being the GPPP is asking for permission to copy the book and the GPLP is not.
I absolutely love the fact that Google is taking on a task like this because a project this big needs a undertaker of Google’s size to complete. I would love to see all of the books in the world searchable at my fingertips but this has to be done legally, with publisher or author permissions.
As Brendan Rapple said in his argument, “…it will constitute a remarkable vehicle for diffusing in both the developed and developing world much of the world’s intellectual heritage.” I completely agree that this would be a great resource for not only scholars, researchers and authors but for students, teachers and people who would not normally have access to these books.
Keith Kupferschmid, in his argument against the GPLP even says that the GPPP is a good idea but that proper permissions must first be acquired. Kupfershmid wrote, “Holding fair use in favor of Google would turn copyright on its head.” The way that Google is going about it’s digitization right now is not something that would be considered legal right now and if they were allowed to operate this under the fair use exception it would start allowing other uses to become out of control.
In further researching of this topic, I have found that the Library of Congress is digitizing it’s own books in a similar fashion as Google. The Library of Congress though is either getting permission to do so or using public-domain books. I believe that Google would do more good if they operated the same way and received the proper permissions before archiving books. The article I was looking at can be found at: http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2009/09-10.html.
In summary, I think that Google is doing something that can very much help out humanity as a whole, they just need to do it legally. As soon as Google plays by the rules, no one will be complaining.