The Google Print Library Project, whose goal is to scan books to be posted on the Internet, has many authors and book publishers troubled. Former Congresswoman Pat Schroeder, president of the Association of American Publishers (AAP), spent a few minutes to detail the project as it relates to permission and copyright concerns.
GREENLEE: Why does the Google Print Library Project represent an important time for publishers?
SCHROEDER: Google has created a marvelous search engine, and [AAP] wants to partner with Google. People forget that publishers and authors dont own paper companies and dont own printing companies. They are interested in reaching people with their story. The reason we are now crosswise with Google is because Google has a great search engine, it seems they dont want to honor the creators at all. Its like theyre going to take everybodys property for free, and they say, This will be so good for you. The law says that Google doesnt get to decide that. The author and the publisher get to decide whether its good for them. [The authors and publishers] could make a mistake, but they get to decide — not Google. So we kind of have Google engaging in eminent domain where they take this stuff, put it out there, and do it under the name of fair use. People have to remember this is not Mother Teresa — this is Google. They are selling ads all around the stuff. If authors werent writing this stuff, there wouldnt be anything for them to search.
GREENLEE: Thats a very good point. This raises a bigger topic with the attitude Google has about content online. I think Google has gotten used to being able to wrap ads around other peoples content for years now, and I think it might just have this perspective that it has the right to do that with all content.
SCHROEDER: I think thats right. They started with the Web site and all of our publishers have Web sites, too. But people put up Web sites so folks will find them, so thats a little different. But when you write a book, youre hoping that people will buy the book so that you can pay the mortgage. Its not like someone can copy the whole book and give it away, even if they say theyre only giving away snippets. Nevertheless, they have the full copy of the book and werent given permission. So if Google can make a full copy of the book in the library, so can everybody else.
GREENLEE: When I look at online blogs, some people are talking about this. Im just wondering if its a reflection of a much bigger problem.
SCHROEDER: Many people say they want content free. And you know what? I want college tuition free. I want a new car free. I want my rent free. Now, what weve said is Look, its not even that youre going to do pay-per-view. Google is making so much money selling advertising around everybody elses content that it seems to me logical they should either share the advertising or, if you decide youre not going to do advertising, then you might have to do a subscription or pay-per-view. There are a lot of business plans. Part of the reason people dont get involved in the debate is that they like having stuff free, so they figure theyll let Google go out and do it without thinking. In the end, if Google really does get all the worlds information — as it says its goal is going to be — thats a very scary option.
DANA GREENLEE: Do you miss being in Congress? Whats your perspective on it after all these years?
PAT SCHROEDER: Well, I loved being there while I was there. But 24 years was quite enough. Its gotten to be a lot more rough-and-tumble, so Im really happy working with book publishers. I think theyre nicer than some politicians.
GREENLEE: Is this a good time to have a woman in the Oval Office?
SCHROEDER: I hope so. I think its wonderful there is this show on TV [Commander in Chief, ABC-TV] because I think it helps people visualize it. Since were not a country that ever had queens, its a little harder for us to visualize someone coming in and taking over. Were now 58th in the world, I think, on the position of women in government, so its time to catch up. Maybe the TV show will help.
Dana Greenlee is co-host/producer of the WebTalk Radio, a Tacoma-based radio and webcast show featuring technology news and interviews. The full audio interview with Pat Schroeder can be heard at WebTalkRadio.com.