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Shocking: Making All The Google Print Facts Clear Really Does Make a Difference

So many people (including, unfortunately, myself
at times) have misreported precisely what Google Print does with books
not in the Publisher Program.  When people know what the Authors
Guild is really claiming, I’d bet many of the most sincere copyright
maximalists/neoclassicists/physical-property-equivalence-makers would
agree that Google’s in the right.

Case in point: James Delong.

“To show only the limited info described by Google would, IMHO, pretty
clearly be a fair use. So the authors must be objecting to the fact
that an entire book is being copied without permission, even if it is
then hidden in an electronic vault. But what is the objection, if only
snippets are shown? Is it a fear of Napsterization — that once the
digital copy is made it could escape into the world? Or is it simply a
naked assertion of right — “copyright law says no copying, so you must
pay me to do it, even if it would actually be in my interest to have
snippets made available.”” (emphasis added)

Well put, James.  He ultimately believes that “Google might well
win a decision” because their intermediate copying reduces transaction
costs. I’m not sure I agree on that narrow view of the fair use
interest, but I think I share his basic sentiment.  This isn’t
about Napsterization, this isn’t about “copyright nihilism” – it’s a case of copyright holders’ overreaching in ways that go against the public’s interests.

See also, EFF’s press release today, pointing to Jonathan Band’s informative legal analysis.