Google warns book authors... in print

Google's advertisements in newspapers around the world, including Niue and the Cook Islands, amuses the New York Times writer Noam Cohen and many others.

But the reason for the retro ads is a bit scary.

Google, the online giant, had been sued in federal court by a large group of authors and publishers who claimed that its plan to scan all the books in the world violated their copyrights.

As part of the class-action settlement, Google will pay $125 million to create a system under which customers will be charged for reading a copyrighted book, with the copyright holder and Google both taking percentages; copyright holders will also receive a flat fee for the initial scanning, and can opt out of the whole system if they wish.

Take it or leave it, o ye copyright holders: if you don't like it, opt out... provided you noticed that advertisement in the first place. I'm personally all for Google's grand plan for my own works, in principle, but this strategy is rather like being judged guilty unless found innocent. I want control over my own works and who publishes them.

And if it comes to a battle between a Niuean poet and Google, I wonder who would win? Hm, that's a tough one. But give me a couple of days and I'll figure it out.


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