Group: Online content cannot remain free. This is another in a seemingly endless number of articles about publishers complaining that Google Books is violating copyright.
Note this quote from the report by Francisco Pinto Balsemao, "It is fascinating to see how these companies 'help themselves' to copyright-protected material, build up their own business models around what they have collected, and parasitically, earn advertising revenue off the back of other people's content," he said. "This is unlikely to be sustainable for publishers in the longer term."
But, isn't that how Google (and other search engines) operate in general? They send out spiders, make electronic copies of copyrighted websites, and then make cached versions available to anyone who wants it? The default is opt in and a site owner literally has to put up text in the robots file telling spiders to stay away if the owner does not like it.
As almost all of these publishers have allowed virtually unlimited access to Google on their websites, it may be hard for them to argue that scanning of books and making small portions available online is a problem. After all, if this is a big deal, why have they made no effort to protect the copyright of their websites by ordering Google and other search engine not to copy their online content? By definition, this business practice would be just as parasitic, if not more so.
Hat tip to David Ginsburg for the article link.