New Zealand Herald: Google Books is Cultural Imperialism
An excellent article on Google Books from the New Zealand Herald:
“‘The deal is cultural imperialism on a par with the 1980s US flexing of military might over nuclear ship visits, says the Auckland branch secretary of the Society of Authors, Adrian Blackburn. ” … This monopolistic pre-emptive grab by a hugely wealthy US business – ‘we’ll just do it and you can sue us if you can afford to’ – is an arrogant flexing of business muscle…’ ‘If New Zealand’s laws and international treaties are not to be over-ridden by the arbitrary and oppressive conduct of private interests beyond our shores, the Government must do everything in its power to ensure that the intellectual property of New Zealanders cannot be used by Google or anyone else without the explicit consent of the copyright holders.’”
The Kiwis join up with the U.S. Department of Justice, the Open Book Alliance, the Germans and the French in calling foul on the Leviathan of Mountain View.
These arguments apply equally to all authors, US or ex-US. Why? “The slow dawning may be a combination of the deal’s considerable complexities and disbelief that a private settlement in the US could have global ramifications for authors. The culprit, apparently, is the reciprocal nature of the Berne Convention, one of the oldest copyright treaties, to which the US and most other countries are signatories.”
And of course the evil machinations of those who believe in what Professor Lessig calls “The Starving Artist Canard“, or, as Fred von Lohman of the EFF once told me, “Artists will just have to learn to get along on less money.”