When Google started digitizing books with the intent of making them available to the public for free, it was a grand idea. But over the years, authors and publishers have taken a disagreement with the project, criticizing it fiercely.
Books have been one of the key mediums of advancement of human civilization. Since milleniums, they have been an effective method of preserving knowledge of every age so that future generations get benefited from it. However, books have been lost in history, burnt and made extinct, damaged in floods and similar other incidents.
In short, books are the hallmark of human thought and at the same time, a fragile tool. This has changed rapidly in recent years with the notion of ebooks.
Google Books is a revolutionary project because it aims to digitize as many books as possible and then bring them to the common users. In other words, it aims to create the largest ever library, only this library would be digital, global and accessible for everyone with just a few clicks. Of course, along the way of realizing this dream, the company had to go through copyrighted material and such books which are rather rare but then, it all has been for the public good.
Naturally, the likes of Authors Guild and publishers strongly oppose the notion. According to them, such digitization and free availability of all sorts of content will dilute their profits. It is probably because of this that Google Books today provides you a preview of certain books, if allowed by the entity holding the books’ copyrights. And any book is made available for download only if the copyright holder permits so. Nonetheless, Google bagged a landmark victory when a court case ruled in favor of the search giant, premising the decision on ‘fair use.’
World Brain – The Film is a documentary which explores the philosophy behind Google Books and shows how Google won the huge battle against those who thought their profits were being damaged by the ambitious project.