[Foundation-l] In defence of Google

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Mon Jan 22 03:32:31 UTC 2007

Gerard Meijssen wrote:

>Anthony schreef:
>> Don't take my word for it. Read up on what Brewster Kahle from
>>Internet Archive had to say about Google Book Search, or find out more
>>about the Open Content Alliance he co-founded largely to respond to
>>it.  "They don't want the books to appear in anyone else's search
>>engine but their own, which is a little peculiar for a company that
>>says its mission is to make information universally accessible," Kahle
>>"Google, for instance, is digitizing some great libraries. But their
>>contracts (which were actually secret contracts with libraries – which
>>is bizarre, but anyway, they were secret until they got sued out of
>>them by some governments) are under such restrictions that they're
>>pretty useless... the copies that go back to the libraries. Pretty
>>much Google is trying to set themselves up as the only place to get to
>>these materials; the only library; the only access. The idea of having
>>only one company control the library of human knowledge is a
>>nightmare. I mean this is 1984 – a book about how bad the world would
>>be if this really came about, if a few governments' control and
>>corporations' control on information goes too far."
>>I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to choose sides on this one, and I'm
>>going with Kahle, not with Google.
>I have read enough to learn why Google is getting the opposition to its 
>program. I agree with that opposition. However, you will also have read 
>that Bruster Kahle acknowledges that his project is very much a reaction 
>to the Google project. The opposition that exists is not unlikely to 
>have Google to reconsider its position. When we consider Google a 
>friend, we can as a friend discuss these issues. When we consider Google 
>an enemy, we will not even try to engage in a conversation.
>I object to see enemies everywhere, I prefer to see friends that have a 
>different outlook, friends that may be convinced to consider an other 
>approach. I think this approach is more productive.
While I understand that we must find accomodation with Google, it would 
be naive to give them our complete trust.  We don't know if their deals 
with the libraries are exclusive ones that would prevent anyone else 
from doing the same thing.  For now, database protection laws are 
limited to Eueope, but if they were to be adopted in the United States 
they would be give a tremendous advantage to Google which could then 
develop a user pay system for which only they are capable of providing 
convenient access.  The major future problems will not be with the 
publishers who are currently in court with Google.  Control of the old 
material whose copyright has already expired will make for a far more 
important battle.  For now I don't think we have the funding or 
organization to challenge them, certainly not by ourselves.  Whether 
that level of collaboration can coallesce among a wide range of open 
access supporters is unclear.


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