Monday, July 17, 2006

Google Print

Meghann Marco, author of Field Guide to the Apocalypse, was so angry at her publisher's decision to sue Google over Google Print that she wrote an open letter offering Google encouragement.

Someone asked me recently, "Meghann, how can you say you don't mind people reading parts of your book for free? What if someone xeroxed your book and was handing it out for free on street corners?"

I replied, "Well, it seems to be working for Jesus."

Seems that all was not quite as it first seemed. While her publisher was suing Google, they were surreptitiously releasing books onto Google Print -- including, in February, Meghann's book.

Does this mean victory? I’m not sure. There is something troubling about the fact that it took public outcry for my books to be sent to programs that I wanted to participate in. I realize that I’m not Stephen King, but was this really a case of an author simply being ignored?

It will be interesting to see how Google Print survives the legal challenges against it. There is no doubt in my mind that it is to the benefit of the authors, as well as society as a whole, and that if copyright law prohibits something Google Print than in an intelligent world it should be copyright law that changes, not Google; but I fear that the opposite will happen. Time will tell.

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