Google Is The Aggressive Kid on the Playground Who Makes You Feel Tough
Richard Sarnoff, Burgermeister von Randomhaus, is in favor of the settlement. Amazon is not. Europe is not.

It is up to the courts now, and to citizen activists to keep explaining, over and over forever, why the Settlement is not a good idea. Here is one point: Google is granted the across-the-board right to bootleg and sell editions of books by any publisher who signs. Why is Google granted this right? Because it created bootleg editions of books. Not opting out of the agreement is like being friends with a vampire and not wearing garlic necklaces. They will bootleg your books and they will pay you $60 per book, or "six copies at wholesale rates."

Don't be friends with a vampire. Sarnoff sez: "If we don't have a settlement, we force Google to delete those copiesâ€"not a great solution to anybody." Why not? Isn't this where things start to go wrong for the underdog heroes of screwball comedies, where they decide to Be Big for once in their lives and take advantage of the mob money that's ended up in their laps via a series of hilarious coincidences?

Why don't we all just agree to go to the library next week with a scanner, make five secret copies of books, and send each to five friends? If anyone complains, we could probably get a pool of $60 together. If we're making bootleg editions and calling it some kind of bold leap into a digital age, why don't we just actually make bootleg editions of books and trade them online? Why do we have to have Google be some kind of repository of our collective sins? It's okay to steal books if Google goes first? What kind of playground ethic is that, publishers?

Own up to your desire to steal books, America!

We will have more to say about the Settlement as the outcome of today becomes clearer. Those who opted in: don't just pay down your printers' debts. Buy something nice for once in your life. Buy a really good mirror and take turns walking by it, adjusting your ties, avoiding your glances.

Posted by future on Wed, 09 Sep 2009 00:16:33 -0400 -- permanent link


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