Aug 272011

 We all respect Google as a reliable and universal search engine. In fact, you’ve probably typed something in the Google search engine as many times as there are hairs on your heads. However, Google doesn’t stop at just their search engine. There’s Google Earth, a fantastically riveting (if not slightly disturbing) satellite system that allows you to transport to any location on the globe, Google Mail, a website that allows you to make your own e-mail address and communicate with virtually anyone, and there’s now Google Plus, a social networking site akin to Facebook, which allows people to compartmentalize and send connect with a select group of friends, as well as playing a wide variety of games (one being the popular and entertaining Angry Birds). There’s even Google Maps and Google Translate.

However, a branch of Google I was not aware of is Google Books. Google Books is another search engine dedicated entirely to books from any nation and of any genre. You simply type the name or author’s name in the engine and within a couple of seconds, Google had picked out your book of choice out of the billions of other similar literary works.

That does seem like a neat idea…but apparently, Google didn’t bother to run that by more than a few writers. Google took the books and uploaded them onto the internet and made them available through their search engine without asking the permission of some of the publishing houses who funded the production and spread of the actual book itself. Even though some of the books are “orphans” (books published without a definite author), many of them are still under copyright, allowing people to read portions of an author’s book without getting a dime. A few didn’t even know what was going on until their books had been uploaded. This caused many publishing houses to join forces and collectively sue Google. What’s even worse, some authors are European and don’t feel it’s fair for the court trial to take place in America. Google has gotten itself in a trans-continental pickle!

Google’s idea was to make knowledge universal and available to anyone who wished to further his comprehension of a certain topic or wanted to pursue a certain occupation that needed an immense amount of research. Google is definitely a trendsetting corporation and well respected by the public and their competitors alike, the idea behind Google Books is both honorable and altruistic; however, not asking the permission to distribute other people’s work isn’t the greatest way to do it. Not everyone agrees that information should be widespread, and even if they do, it doesn’t take away from the fact that most writers make their living off of the sales of their work and redistributing it without asking them is taking away from their profit. Even though the fundamental philosophy behind Google Books should be taken into consideration by both avid readers and lawmakers of our nation, it would’ve been a more respectable plan to ask the authors first.

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