Re: Google Accused of Copyright Infringement Fwd:

Subject: Re: Google Accused of Copyright Infringement Fwd:
From: Dennis Bathory-Kitsz (
Date: Wed Sep 21 2005 - 15:17:35 EDT

At 07:37 PM 9/21/05 +0100, Richard Wentk wrote:
>That's fair enough, but not all of us live in the US.

I think I was making that point.

>And does that mean you get access to inter-library loans too? And Groves
>and other reference high-ticket reference items?

Two questions there. The first, yes, at no charge. The second, yes, but
usually only on site and not borrowable because of replacement costs
(though older editions of reference books circulate in many public libraries).

>This is only true if Google offers the service on a not for profit basis
>and agrees to be just like a library, only digital.

It they are in partnership with the libraries, as they apparently are, then
we'll have to see how it falls out.

>And what about those who haven't written works yet, and will decide they
>can't afford to?

Perhaps a different economic model is needed, or some creative negotiation
going into the future. The constitutionally-based copyright law in the US
is actually predicated on compensation, but the international laws appear
to be more addressing some kind of inherent rights. Not sure which trumps
which, but counting on future income is a bad gamble whether it's writing
books in making venture capital investments.

>Er, no. I have no idea who the authors are, but if it were one of my books
>I'd be objecting too.
>Especially if it's going to affect the ones I haven't written yet.

Someone will surely take your place, no?

>I'm not interested in what people with millions of dollars of investment at
>risk thing, because in the end all they care about is ROI.
>It seems hypocritical to criticise authors for being in it for the money,
>and then to praise the investors for doing the same.

You miss my point, which I guess I made too obscure. I'm happy they're in
it for the money. The world is always changing, and authors change with it,
and that includes appreciating the cash others bring to the table. And now
the way in which information is traded is being overhauled again. Plunking
oneself down and saying "no no no" is a guarantee of being left out of the

>Plutocracy is not equivalent to meritocracy or democracy. Having more cash
>doesn't make you more right, or better qualified to judge anything at all.
>Especially not culture.

The first point doesn't lead to the second. Qualification and reality are
often in conflict, and yet we still make art. If they weren't in conflict,
you'd be hearing all of us on the Top 40 list, right? So why aren't we?
Give me the advertising budget of Apple Computer and our visibility and
consequent incomes would rise. Don't believe me? My wallet awaits.

>But then neither is Google. Did you miss the part about only selected items
>being available online?

Nope. Nor did I miss the part in life about how businesses react
differently when inspectors are visiting. Or how we drive when the cop is
behind us. It doesn't mean I trust them or love them. But suing them is a
guarantee of the worst results -- such as limited access (viz.) and less
involvement of preservation of the present, which is significantly at risk.

(This is talking about the printed word -- the easy part. That doesn't even
get into my bone-gnawing about preservation & distribution of EA works.)

>The reality is it's fantastically easy to turn a paper manuscript into an
>eBook. Most books are typeset in either Quark or InDesign, and exporting an
>eBook is pretty much just a case of selecting a menu option.
>The reason no one does this - and the reason one author I spoke recently
>vetoed an eBook version of their project - is that these authors you're so
>down on subsequently get nothing. This means high quality writing projects
>- the sort that require a decent advanced and take a year or two to put
>together - stop happening.

I can't even begin to untangle the non sequiturs here. I suppose we'll live
without a generation of authors of a certain age. But the availability in
the future will be quite different, and the more lawsuits take place, the
more they will guarantee that the wide-scale availability of inexpensive
reading & research materials will be pushed back. Frankly, I'd rather sell
100 books at $1 each than two books at $50 each. The same money, but more
readers, the more readers, the more demand, the more sales. Having an
audience/readership is (or used to be) the point, too.

>Did you ever stop to wonder why if it was so wonderful, and such a great
>idea, and founder dude was such a great guy, it all fell apart after barely
>a few years?

Because the model was unsustainable, and because Robertson's combination of
vision and business acumen weren't harmonious enough. Who knew? Why were
you even involved if you knew it was a ripoff? Or did you only know that
later, or concluded that because of your paltry income from it?

>Or that maybe with a decent publisher you'd have made a lot more than $1000
>for projects that in total doubtless took you months of work?

Not likely. And who's gonna publish the 140 pieces I had on,
especially the EA pieces or things like my Car Horn Symphony? These 'decent
publishers' pretty much work on exhausted models.

>There's nothing big or clever about expecting creative and talented people
>to work for the kind of money that a domestic cleaner or a Far Eastern
>sneaker slave wouldn't touch.
>>For me, the point is that the "monumental" part of was the size
>>and breadth of its archive, and how personal contacts could be made
>>through it,
>>and the sense of broad community that had not previously existed. Yes, as
>>the dot-com collapse neared got commercial and was trying to boost
>>ad revenue to compensate for the (entirely voluntary) pay-for-play program
>>it had initiated. There was no recovering from it.
>>But at no time in the history of the human race was so much music gathered
>>in one place. And the artists had risked nothing in this venture save some
>>time! It ws breathtaking! So why the focus on Robertson, who built it? Why
>>not on those who bought and killed it?
>Because in the end he was the one who killed it.
>He could have put some of his money back into it. It wasn't a money losing
>operation. But instead he treated it as an investment, scammed the
>contributors, 99% of whom contributed music for next to nothing, then took
>the money and ran.
>If you see nothing wrong with this, it's understandable you'll see Google
>as a good thing too.
>Can I sell you a bridge while we're here? ;)

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