Authors Malcolm Gladwell, J.M. Coetzee, Michael Pollan, Margaret Atwood, Peter Carey Support Lawsuit Against Google’s Theft of Books Through Digitization.
Authors Malcolm Gladwell, J.M. Coetzee, Michael Pollan, Margaret Atwood, Peter Carey Support Lawsuit Against Google’s Theft of Books Through Digitization
New York, NY- Prize-winning authors, international rights organizations, and legal experts Monday joined the Authors Guild in fighting what they call Google’s dangerous and unprecedented violation of copyright law. They filed eight stinging friend-of-the-court briefs in support of the Guild’s appeal in Authors Guild v. Google, agreeing that Judge Denny Chin’s decision in the case should be overturned.
“Google’s ambitions respected no borders,” said Authors Guild president Roxana Robinson. “Millions of copyrighted books by authors from every major country were swept in to Google’s scheme. As the new filings demonstrate, not just authors but also photographers, visual artists, songwriters, and publishers around the world find it particularly galling that a wealthy American company would try to find a way to use their creations for free.”
Copyright infringement is a serious ethical problem. Authors, like musicians, have to make a living. Taking an author's work and scanning it for public use is theft. It is exactly the same as when a burglar breaks into a home and steals Great-grandma's pearls, or when a shoplifter takes expensive clothes from a boutique. It is the same as when a grifter cons you out of your life savings or when a pickpocket lifts your wallet and runs up all your credit cards. It is no different.
Copyright infringement is theft. It is wrong.
What Google has done in appropriating artists' works without payment goes far beyond Google's usual creepy invasiveness. In the words of 15 groups representing textbook authors, visual artists and photographers:
“One group cannot simply be allowed to take from creators and give works to the public for free with impunity. This undermines the very purpose of copyright law and ultimately of fair use.”
I personally am depreciating my gmail accounts, partly as protest for the massive copyright infringement to which Google feels, mystifyingly, entitled, and partly because I've had enough of their creepy invasiveness. Check out runbox.com, a Danish company under the umbrella of strong Danish privacy laws. I've been happy with runbox.