Google's Aggressive Book Library Project
It would seem that Google's actions regarding its Book Library Project indicate a belief that the world's information exists in one big collective bin for the company to mine, belying individual ownership of information. Financial Times columnist Richard Epstein says it's like two different readings of the claim that all the people in a given town own their own homes. Does each person own his home separately? Or does every person have open access to each home in the town? The former is more logical, obviously, but homes and information are two different things. Still, Google would have us believe that the world's information should be available for free--at Google's profit. For copyright holders, Google says it will let them opt-out of its Book Project--but why should individual copyright holders have to answer to Google's, which wants to use their information? Not only that, but Google has structured the terms of its opt-out so that a publisher can't just say "Don't include any books we've published in the last 50 years." No, they have to provide contract and transaction numbers for each volume, placing the burden on publishers to defend their property. As Epstein notes, it's kind of like a publisher sending a notice to each house in a town that they'll be receiving a one-year subscription to a magazine unless they opt-out.