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January 19-26, 2006 Edition
Simon & Schuster
CEO Speaks Out
On Google Print Plan
LOS ANGELES, CA/Jan. 15, 2006Jack Romanos, president and chief executive of Simon & Schuster, Inc., has written an open commentary in the Los Angeles Times suggesting that Googles 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.