Google Print And Libraries; Google Print Or Libraries

I agree with Siva
– libraries are great and important. What we disagree on is whether
Google Print should be measured by the fact that it’s not a library.
 

Siva suggests that we have to choose between Google Print and a “cool
public library text-search index.” In fact, we have to choose between
Google Print and any other competitors. He argues that Google’s
patents, other IP, and contractual rights will prevent competition.
 

And that’s why the privacy implications, use restrictions, et al matter
to Siva. Google’s service will be the only game in town, and they’ll
inevitably abuse that monopoly-like control.

I find this line of reasoning rather unconvincing. For the moment, I
can’t speak to whether Google has the sort of rights Siva says it
does.  Siva’s made several assertions, and I’d be interested in
seeing evidence that substantiates them. I wonder how OCA
is going forward if Google’s rights are so extensive.  I don’t see
how Google can have a monopoly on scanning books using OCR, even if
they have a patent on a particularly good way of doing so.  

Regardless, I’m not sure how this is a knock on Google Print as
such.  Unlike Siva’s other arguments, this one applies even if
Google wins, but notice – this complaint would also exist if Google had
gotten permission from the publishers. Those patents and such would
still exist.  Competitors would still be at a disadvantage in
creating a similar service.  We wouldn’t be any closer to a
library-based version of this.

The privacy concerns seem similarly misdirected.  Siva’s right to
be concerned about our privacy rights online, but I don’t see how this
is a knock on Google Print. The same issues arise with Amazon’s Search
Inside the Book feature, for which they have permission.  

Siva raises legitimate concerns about trusting companies alone with
preserving and extending access to culture.  However, I am still
unconvinced that that should impact my analysis of Google Print. I can
support Google or any other company’s ability to create a Print like
service as well as creating library versions.  To use my analogy
again, there’s no conflict between supporting libraries lending movies
and Blockbuster renting them out.  That’s what I mean by Google’s not a library, but so what. See also, Laura Quilter, who seems to share some of my sentiments.