January 19-26, 2006 Edition

Simon & Schuster

CEO Speaks Out

On Google Print Plan

LOS ANGELES, CA/Jan. 15, 2006—Jack Romanos, president and chief executive of Simon & Schuster, Inc., has written an open commentary in the Los Angeles Times suggesting that Google’s print plans are “nothing less than theft.”

The article, written by Romanos, says “Although much has been made of the recent lawsuit filed by the Assn. of American Publishers on behalf of five plaintiffs (including my own company, Simon & Schuster) against Google for its plans to digitize copyrighted works in the collections of some of the world’s major libraries, it remains to be seen whether searching and reading bits and bytes will sell more books. But that is almost beside the point.

“Google’s attempt to cast itself as the world’s archive, delivering books to billions, seems like a noble enough goal at first glance, but the truth is that Google is essentially a newer — albeit highly effective — distribution pipeline for the content of books. From that perspective, it becomes imperative that Google works with the other long-standing members in the creative ecosystem — in this case, the authors and copyright holders — to make certain that the interests of all are dealt with equitably. Anything short of that, and in particular the scanning and commercial use of copyrighted works without permission, amounts to nothing less than theft.”

Romanos said the AAP lawsuit is “not an argument over ‘snippets,’ as Google would have you believe. It is about permission and copying for commercial use.” He called for old and new media (such as Google) to recognize the essential principles of copyright law. Read the full article in the L.A. Times.