A Chinese copyright group is demanding talks with Google over compensation for Chinese authors who have had their books scanned into the US company’s electronic library. Reading that you would think: with you all the way there, old chap. Authors should be recompensed for their efforts.
In fact, all the fuss and hullaballoo comes not from authors but from publishers. Many publishers now try to make their contracts so that they pay authors no royalties whatosever. The copyright rests with the publisher. This is especially true of technical books.
Thus authors are drawn more and more to the idea of publishing the books themselves electronically. If this catches on, there will be much less traditional book publishing.
The fuss is not that there is an attack on the copyright agreement. Google seems to have played very fairly in this area. It is that the writing is now on the wall for many book publishers. And it says: Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin. Which you could translate: God has numbered the days of your kingdom and will bring it to an end.
Financial Times reported that Google said, “Of course, we listen carefully to all concerns and will work hard to address them.”
It matters not. Rationality is not involved. The battle is whether books will be available electronically with all the nonsense of exclusive sales areas will be swept aside. And, yes, that will happen. As it did in the music industry.