Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Opt in or opt out?

Do you think you should have digital access to pretty much any book you'd like to read?

Regardless of what the owner of that work thinks?

Google has been taking on the issue when it comes to out of print but still under copyright works.

They argue that since it would be difficult to locate the rightful owner of a lot of works, it is impossible to have publishers consent.

What they would like to see instead, is an opt out system. Your work is made available unless you say otherwise.

So these difficult-to-find copyright holders would instead have the burden on them to prevent Google from making their works available digitally.

The battle continues as a U.S. District Court judge in Manhattan this week rejected a settlement Google had reached with publishers.

I say kudos to Judge Danny Chin. Yes, making books available digitally is a wonderful thing. No doubt it would bring new eyeballs to a lot of wonderful works. But the decision on what format a work is distributed in should belong to the owner of the work. And surely, the brilliant minds at Google can come up with a way to make an opt-in system work.

What do you think?

- Tricia Ambrose


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