Mises Wire

Leftist Attacks on the Google Book Settlement

Leftist Attacks on the Google Book Settlement

I posted the following comment to Cory Doctorow’s BoingBoing post Competition and Google Book Search:

Cory, Google is not perfect but the attacks on them for attempting this seem to me to be demonizing the wrong party. The problem is copyright law–a state legal system. The state is, as usual, to blame. Why some people are trusting the same state that foists IP law on us to protect is us mystifying. In attacking Google they are allying with the state (see my post Google Digital Library Plan Opposed by German Chancellor), which is the real enemy. I don’t see any choice for google to accomplish the quasi-digital libertarian of orphan and other works other than its creative legal-settlement route.Lohmann writes:

“Nobody likes this “only-for-Google” aspect of the settlement–in fact, Google has said that it would support orphan works legislation that would empower the Registry to make the same deal (or even a better deal) with others who want to use these unclaimed works.”

I am not sure I see the concern here–seems to me only someone who cares about copyright would object to this.

“The settlement agreement even has a provision that makes it clear that the UWF can license others “to the extent permitted by applicable law”–what amounts to an “insert orphan works legislation here” invitation.”

I’m not sure what is wrong with this. Even partially libertaring orphan works from the confines of copyright law would be good.

“But absent some legislative supplement to the revised Settlement 2.0, it still seems that any other company would have to scan these books, get sued, and hope for a class action settlement. That, of course, is the kind of barrier to entry that any monopolist would envy.”

Again, it seems to me that Google is doing it the only way they see possible, given the terrible state regime.

“…But we shouldn’t be satisfied with antitrust law here.”

This line really bothers me. The EFF and others supposedly concerned with individual rights should recognize the state as the enemy. They should recognize antitrust law is completely unjustified; the real monopoly is the state, which arrogates a true monopoly to itself. This line implies that antitrust law is okay; it’s not. It’s immoral and unjustified. All antitrust law should be of course abolished.

See my An Open Letter to Leftist Opponents of Intellectual Property: On IP and the Support of the State and Eben Moglen and Leftist Opposition to Intellectual Property.

All Rights Reserved ©
Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.
What is the Mises Institute?

The Mises Institute is a non-profit organization that exists to promote teaching and research in the Austrian School of economics, individual freedom, honest history, and international peace, in the tradition of Ludwig von Mises and Murray N. Rothbard. 

Non-political, non-partisan, and non-PC, we advocate a radical shift in the intellectual climate, away from statism and toward a private property order. We believe that our foundational ideas are of permanent value, and oppose all efforts at compromise, sellout, and amalgamation of these ideas with fashionable political, cultural, and social doctrines inimical to their spirit.

Become a Member
Mises Institute