Wednesday, December 05, 2007

On Having the Right Enemies

I loved the days of the original Napster. Or as I will call them when narrating my youth to my grandchildren, "the wild and wooly days of the Internet." But they won't understand the word "wooly," in all likelihood. Or the word "Internet," for that matter. I will be as out of it as the 80-year-old woman I talked to who never bought a personal computer because she was waiting for the technology to stabilize. She used a computer as a college student (she attended college after her children had grown), but as she said, "I haven't sat down in front of a terminal in years."

I always say that the music industry got a lot more of my money because of Napster than they would have otherwise. I sample free music, I find out I like an artist, I buy CDs. They should have had me testify before Congress. (Unbelievably, YouTube doesn't have the video of Lars Ulrich testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. You can read a transcript here, but it's just not the same as watching Orin Hatch launch questions at him like, "What if I buy a CD of the Black Album and make a tape of it to keep in my car? What if I then lend that tape to my wife. . .)

Why am I talking about Napster? Because the Google Books project may meet the same end, alas, or so says this author. Best line:

Google has, as they say, all the right enemies. Anytime the ALA, Microsoft, France, a trade guild, and a bunch of trial lawyers are lined up on one side of an argument, the other side is going to look extremely attractive.
Regarding yesterday's post, the original Napster and Google Books could be filed under "things I will do until the law tells me its wrong."

BTW: apparently Google is mapping Middle Earth.

1 comment:

Special K said...

But if we've already agreed that just because you follow the law doesn't mean you're right (what I got from yesterday's post), why not keep using both if your conscience is clear?