10/15/2010

Google: Supply, Money, and Copyright Law

Google has set a goal to digitize millions of books and create an online library. This would shift the supply curve for such material to the right; which, economically speaking would drive down prices at any given point on the demand curve. This program which Google positions to be a public service and a research aide has many skeptics. Authors, publishers, even competitors are outraged with Google’s intentions and especially the way that Google has gone about its intentions. Google made a legal ploy by making those with copyrighted material opt out from being a part of their plan, instead of the traditional opt in that in the past has always been necessary along with negotiations of terms. Many with copyrighted material, including thousands of authors whom have opted out, feel threatened and don’t understand how they are going to benefit and make their money in Google’s business model, let alone what control they will have over their works.

3 comments:

Ralphie said...

Google will also probably come out with a reader as a substitute good to compete with the Kindle and iPad. I anticipate that this decision Google has made to have the copyrighters opt-out of being published will be challenged in the court system and they may face punitive damages for this system.
- Ralphie

iPoser said...

I think Google is doing a great thing here. If authors and publishers are outraged about the number of people who will actually get their eBook from Google rather than paying for it on Amazon or wherever else, then they should adapt and find a more creative way to make money from their written ideas (book tours would be an example, think about what musicians are doing). With all of today's technology, information should be made available freely (or very cheaply, like iTunes), not monopolized by authors and publishers.

Dave said...

I think a lot of this is misrepresented in the press.

Go and actually try and find something that someone might make money off of on Google Books. It isn't easy. They've been pretty good about digitizing things that are in research libraries - published, but no longer current. And ... I think a lot of the people who will be hurt by this are actually the librarians.

iPoser has repeated a point that is often made, but which covers only one side of the argument. The idea that information should be freely available presumes that such a policy will not change the growth rate of knowledge. That is very unclear.