Thursday, November 03, 2005

The controversial Google Print is up and running (in Beta version). I did a search on my name to see what came up; most of it was expected--my own books, plus a few of the anthologies that contain my work, and some of the books I've blurbed--but there was one surprise on the list: a book called "Challenging Acrostic Puzzles"! The page I supposedly appear on is restricted, so I have no idea what my connection is to the book. It's fun to think that I might be part of a puzzle!

I am still torn about how I feel about Google Print. I can understand why the Authors Guild is upset (to the point of filing suit because they believe it violates copyright law.) Many publishers are up in arms, as well. Google defends itself by writing:

The Google Print program respects copyright. We regret that this group has chosen litigation to try to stop a program that will make books and the information within them more discoverable to the world. Google Print directly benefits authors and publishers by increasing awareness of and sales of the books in the program. And, if they choose, authors and publishers can exclude books from the program if they don't want their material included.

Many legal experts say that Google Print falls well within fair use. I am all for making literature more accessible, and am happy to be able to search books digitally--it makes reseach so much easier. At the same time, I know how the publishing industry is not as robust as it once was, and this (like the recent music file sharing controversies) probably doesn't help matters. As an author who wants to keep publishing, and hopes to be able to make a living that way, I have to be aware of this aspect of things. But as someone who believes information should be widely available, I embrace any movement that can bring more of that to the people.

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