Post by Lynn McGuire
"Torching the Modern-Day Library of Alexandria"
Wow, Google spent $400 million digitizing 25 million books out of 130
million books published in the world.
I'm kind of torn on this, after reading that. I agree that it's tragic that those books are not readable, when they could be. The potentials are even greater, and the precedent of the VCR adds to that.
OTOH, the objectors who said that such far-reaching changes to the law should be done by Congress had a point. Granted, there's no immediate motive for Congress to fix the copyright (or patent) systems, as the article author notes. It might very well have been 'by class-action or not at all' in practice.
Even granting that, though, class-action mechanisms on that scale has issues. It might not be so bad in this particular case, but such use of the mechanism to rewrite law, or establish new law on that scale, sets a precedent, and it's one that we don't necessarily want to set.
We've already got a problem with power migrating out of elected hands into appointed ones in dangerous ways, setting that precedent is probably a bad idea, even at the cost of all those books remaining sealed away.