Book publisher steals Google laptops
An eye for a copyright
Angered by Google's attempts to copy their works, publishers have decided to strike back against the ad broker by stealing its technology.
Late last week, at New York City’s BookExpo America, the CEO of Macmillan Publishers pilfered two laptops from a booth where Google was promoting its Book Search service, part of an effort to convert the world’s books into digital format.
"There [was] no sign saying 'please do not steal the computers,'" Richard Charkin wrote on his blog. "I confess that a colleague and I simply picked [them] up."
After the heist, Charkin and his accomplice waited patiently beside the Google booth. More than an hour later, when booth workers noticed that the laptops were missing, Charkin explained that he was merely giving Google a taste of its own medicine. The booth workers were speechless.
With Book Search and its accompanying Library Project, Google is attempting to digitize the book collections held by many of the world’s leading libraries and serve them up to Web users. But in the fall of 2005—after the company began scanning collections at the University of Michigan, Harvard University, the New York Public Library, and others—the Association of American Publishers and The Author’s Guild filed suit against the company, claiming that the project infringed on the copyrights of publishers and authors. In many cases, Google won’t refrain from scanning a copyrighted book unless it receives a specific request from the copyright owner.
"If you don't want Google to digitize your books, you must tell them not to do it," Charkin told The Register. "With our heist, we were merely doing to Google what they're doing to us." ®
Borrow That Computer
Maybe Charkin's act is more comparable to Google's Library Project than he intended ("With our heist, we were merely doing to Google what they're doing to us"). He didn't really swipe a couple of computers from Google's booth at the trade show. He more "borrowed" than "stole" them.
He hung around the booth until the Google reps came back and not only immediately gave them back but also confessed to his "crime" by shouting it from the virtual rooftops -- his blog -- and gave a bunch of interviews about it. He may argue that there was "no sign saying 'please do not steal the computers,'" but he clearly knew that what he did would garner him publicity, accolades and gratitude from his authors, not jail time or fines.
It is pretty cool that the CEO of a big corporate book publisher would show the kind of creativity he displayed, but his act was hardly anarchic. There was no harm and thus no foul. One company (Macmillan) presumably made some money and generated some marketing buzz by trading on the assets of another (Google), and the rest of us were provoked into thinking a little bit and got a little psychic joy from the stunt. Maybe that's what Google's doing too?
Go towards the light
Not morphing into googlesoft are they ? Nah....actually Microsoft would have the patent for 'books'.
Raiders of the Lost Bookmark...
This is a completely new trend in the Publishers v/s Google battle... now for every page of copyrighted material that Google makes available for "our" collective reading pleasure, the companies will pinch a server? from the google server farm? What about dead authors? Will they pinch defunct servers / Win98 laptops? There is scope for a parallel economy here!