Google Book Search vs. The Public Library – Who will win in terms of copyright

In the digital age, it’s become all too common to read books in digital form. From iPads to smartphones to kindles, it’s easier than ever to “check out” a book from a local library to read. It’s time the public libraries caught up. Imagine a public library app on your iPad. You can browse books by any way  imaginable, view the first chapter from the comfort of your home, and even “check out” a copy for reading. Where’s the bad about this?

The bad comes from two ends, the library’s “fee” for access to the digital copy as opposed to the hard copy, and the copyright’s holder wanting to be paid per view. See if the hard copy is checked out, only one person at a time can be viewing it. But in the digital world, we just hit copy and boom as many people as desire can view it all at the same time. Also, what’s stopping the readers from copying it themselves and either reproducing it or passing it along to others?

Google has already tried this, and failed. Google Book Search was in court more than it was worth. No one came out on top. Maybe if the government, in the form of public libraries, were to implement a digital system, it would succeed. The government controls copyright issues and could deep the conversion to digital media as an improvement. Libraries are running out of room and a digital database would solve this issue. The bottom line would be the money, who pays for the cost of digitalization of print materials, and who benefits from the “profits” of allowing them to be viewed?

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