Monday, March 30, 2009

Google’s “Data-Entry Slaves”

While the debate and discussion about Google’s book search settlement agreement continues to rage on, Lynn Chu offers a clear-sighted -- but hardly unbiased -- view of the situation while also managing to break what it alls means down into simple -- if scary -- terms:
To get through the 385 pages of mind-numbing legalese of the Google settlement, it might be better to be Nino Scalia, Bob Bork or David Boies. Preferably all three at once. Absent brain enhancement surgery, understanding this monstrosity by May 5, 2009, is going to be rough.

That’s the date by which every author and publisher in America is supposed to decide whether to “opt in,” “opt out,” or simply “ignore” a vast compulsory licensing scheme for the benefit of Google. Most, about 88%, are expected to “ignore.” That's because they know their online display rights have value, and the last thing they want is to be herded like sheep into a giant contract commitment.
Chu gets at least one thing wrong, though: it isn’t every author and publisher in America Google would have sign up and sign on, but every author and publisher in the world. The depth of what Google is asking for here boggles the mind.

Chu’s Wall Street Journal piece is excellent and it’s here.


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