Google’s scheme to dominate the world of digital book vending was dealt a legal blow yesterday by a French court who ruled that copyrights of French authors are violated each time Google excerpts their works and makes them available to the public via Google’s book-digitization project. According to the New York Times, a fine of $430,000 was assessed, plus an additional daily fee of $14,300 for every 24 hours that the excerpts of French authors remain online.
This story has a parallel to the American healthcare debate: Google tried to push it’s digitization project through quickly and under the radar only to be outed. Since many saw Google’s deal as a rush against copyright protections in order to corner the emerging online book market, the internet juggernaut now faces a protracted legal battle on almost every front.
According to the Times, nearly half of Google’s digitized books are in languages other than English. But no matter the language, Google did not necessarily approach publishers, and certainly not writers' unions, to strike a deal. Instead, it approached major libraries, public and university, and offered to digitize their stacks.
While Google currently displays only the complete text of works in the public domain—anonymously written books or ones with expired copyrights—it freely excerpts large portions of works still under copyright protections. These excerpts are the subject of the French court’s ruling.
The next time you are at an artsy kind of party and someone refers to an artist or movie director as an auteur, you’ll have witnessed the back story the court’s decision. The control that the artist has over his or her work is prized higher in France than the public’s right to access that work, and the rights of the auteur set the benchmark for the rest of the art industry.
In an apparent challenge to the Google book-digitization project, President Sarkozy has pledged over a billion dollars to get the French digitization machine up to speed.
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The 21st century is experiencing an Asianization of politics, business, and culture.
- Our theories about the world, even about history or the geopolitics of the present, tend to be shaped by Anglo perspectives of the Western industrial democracies, particularly those in the United States and the United Kingdom.
- The West, however, is not united. Canada, for instance, acts in many ways that are not in line with American or British policies, particularly in regard to populism. Even if it were united, though, it would not represent most of the world's population.
- European ideas, such as parliamentary democracy and civil service, spread across the world in the 19th century. In the 20th century, American values such as entrepreneurialism went global. In the 21st century, however, what we're seeing now is an Asianization — an Asian confidence that they can determine their own political systems, their own models, and adapt to their own circumstances.
They didn't know it, but the rituals of Iron Age Scandinavians turned their iron into steel.
- Iron Age Scandinavians only had access to poor quality iron, which put them at a tactical disadvantage against their neighbors.
- To strengthen their swords, smiths used the bones of their dead ancestors and animals, hoping to transfer the spirit into their blades.
- They couldn't have known that in so doing, they actually were forging a rudimentary form of steel.
Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?
- Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
- The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
- If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
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