Nowadays we consider Gutenberg’s invention of mechanical movable type printing as one of the most important event of the modern period. Google’s intention to digitize all the world’s books may also be seen as a huge event, a second revolution after Gutenberg, that embodies the step forward that human kind as done since the beginning of his history: “to give knowledge to everyone”, to communicate, evolving and sharing.
A first reply would be “Yes, it’s a good thing” in this point of view. Technology is the access key to this evolution. So I agree with the ideas of Nicholas Carr when he wrote in “The library of Utopia”: “the main problem with constructing a universal library has little to do with technology. It’s the thorny […] legal, commercial and political issues that surrounds the publishing business ”(i) that create problems and debates.
Personally I don’t believe that the wish of digitize to share knowledge will destroy authors job. On the contrary, like the example of Paulo Coelho that Jarvis wrote in the chapter of “GoogleCollins”(ii), this would be a chance for them to be read, known, understood/criticized… a good way to improve. An author, in my opinion, is an author not for the money, but for the need to share, to express. That is the point. If a book is free to be read online… where is the breaking of the Copyright law, if copyright prevents copying? We have to accept evolution, as it happened around 1440. Enter the new millennium, encouraging the update of the convention of Berne.
(i) MIT Technology Review – “The library of Utopia” http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/427628/the-library-of-utopia/
(ii) Jeff Jarvis – “What would google do?”p 141-144