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Google Gets Attacked on Several Fronts

With the Association of American Publishers‘ annual meeting in full swing today, the prevailing theme is what to do about Google‘s plan to digitize all books ASAP. Which is why, as the Financial Times’ John Gapper reports, Microsoft plans to launch a fierce attack on Google over its “cavalier” approach to copyright, accusing the internet company of exploiting books, music, films and television programs without permission. Tom Rubin, associate general counsel for Microsoft, will say in a speech in New York that while authors and publishers find it hard to cover costs, “companies that create no content of their own, and make money solely on the back of other people’s content, are raking in billions through advertising and initial public offerings.”

Further, according to the speech published in today’s WSJ, Rubin will say that Google’s plan “systematically violates copyright, deprives authors and publishers of an important avenue for monetizing their works and, in doing so, undermines incentives to create”. It a sentiment that the University of California, Berkeley now seems to agree with, according to Peter Brantley‘s blog. “Can we say it was a mistake?/For it was a mistake/The goal is undeniably grand, and good/The means have left much to be desired” Brantley states, poetic-style, in rather blunt fashion. And in case the message wasn’t clear, he later adds “Can we say it? The deals are not fair. We were taken advantage of. We are asked to be grateful for something wondrous where we could have achieved more for ourselves and demanded more from others. We let this happen and we should not have. Now we must count on the beneficence of others. We need speak of the bitterness, laugh at our own stupidity, and move forward.”

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