Best one-sentence description of the Pat Schroeder/Bob Barr op-ed on the Google Print library project: "Pat Schroeder and Bob Barr machine-gun a collection of strawmen."
Best in-depth rebuttal (so far): Don't Fear Google, by Nick Schulz in Forbes:
Pat Schroeder, the former Congresswoman from Colorado is now the president of the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and a vigorous opponent of Google’s plan. She is also an author. I went to Amazon and searched in her book 24 Years of House Work and Still a Mess for the word “property,” and Amazon’s technology found for me on page 286 the following snippet:
"Protecting intellectual property is my main focus at AAP. Technology has made it so easy to copy anything you create ..."
She’s right about technology. However, my finding that snippet and using it for this article is not a copyright violation. I didn’t ask Schroeder or her publisher for permission to use the quote in her book. Indeed, there’s an entire industry, book reviewing, predicated on the ability of people to do something similar to what I’ve just done.
The way the current copyright law works, I can take a book out from any library, read it and write a review of it for publication on the Web site I edit or in the pages of Forbes.com or anywhere else. This “fair use” of material involves no copyright violation. Readers benefit from learning a bit about the book, authors and publishers benefit from increased exposure.
While the details need to be hammered out, what Google hopes to do is similar. It’s not proposing making an entire copyrighted book available for public viewing. Instead, it’s enabling anyone at any time to see the functional equivalent of a quote or passage from a newspaper or magazine book review.
We already permit such uses of snippets for the development of book reviews. Google’s proposed technology is an extension of that. It permits much wider dissemination of relevant snippets of books--in doing so it will whet the appetite of a reading audience that is now global in scale. Authors and publishers stand to benefit greatly.
Who knows, after hearing about it in this article for what I’m sure is for almost all of you the first time, you might even be inclined to buy Pat Schroeder’s book.
Here's a bit more background on Schroeder
, who was making headlines four years ago
in another battle against people she claims harm publishers' bottom line: librarians.
[Note: I took the liberty of changing the title of this post; the earier version, "Reading Schroeder," didn't give readers much of a clue about the content. I also corrected the spelling of the name of the author of the Forbes piece: it's Schulz, not Schultz.]
Update: Ann Bartow weighs in: "The rabid hyperbole and misrepresentations about copyright law in this piece are truly shocking. And I assert both 'fair use' and First Amendment rights to bring it to your attention in its abysmal entirety."