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Nihilism, Futurist Traditionalism and Conservationism

When fair is unfair

04 04 11 - 18:47

Interesting case from a couple weeks ago:


Barring more legal maneuvering, the proposed Google Books Settlement – which would have cleared the way for Google to scan, digitize, and distribute of millions of in-copyright but out-of-print works – will not stand as is. This afternoon, Judge Denny Chin rejected the settlement, agreeing with opponents that it would give Google an unfair advantage.

U.S. Circuit Judge Chin expressed his opinions in a court document refreshingly light on legalese. He wrote, “While the digitization of books and the creation of a universal digital library would benefit many, the ASA [Amended Settlement Agreement] would simply go too far. It would permit this class action . . . to implement a forward-looking business arrangement that would grant Google significant rights to exploit entire books, without permission of the copyright owners.” - Websexual


This is eminently fair in that it returns power to the individual copyright holders. As far as individuals go, it is fair.

But as far as humanity as a whole, on the level more profound than the individual, it's probably a loss. Google Books has its disadvantages, but it does something that no other mechanism in society will do: create a universal, searchable library of all published human texts.

If anything, we should suspend the law so it can carry on its good work. It's the ultimate library. It's an awesome thing to have. I don't know what to do about getting these authors paid, or allowing them "control." I wonder if authors even have "control" at all over what they publish, or should.

As a result, I see in this decision a real moral dilemma: when what's fair to each is unfair to all, we have a problem -- even if the way to the solution is murky and fraught with issues we fear.

nineteen comments

TD
Meaningless things, Surround Human Beings, Cloud up their Minds, Confine them to Binds, What do words mean? And what do thoughts say? When they take your whole life through monotonous Days? Dissimulate fear, Believe in a God, A reason to breathe and resume senseless Thoughts, Cling to Beliefs, For they’re all that you got, Take off your vizard and cry when you’re Caught, Beliefs are the things that you think that you know, Seeds in the fallow of a mind you can sow, Beliefs are the things with potential to grow, Go to the market and make yourself blow. Soak in ideas, continue to till, Beliefs spur a passion that’s willing to kill. Disown your brother, because he is gay, Follow the rules that you have to obey. That fellows’ religion, is Different from Mine! Ignorant fool, My God’s more Divine! The trees stand tall, they think not at All, And when their time comes they surrender and fall, Pertinacious till’ they, Succumb to a Pall, Humans are desperate and grasp at it all, Surrender your feelings, surrender beliefs, Surrender ideas of duality, Have a mind willing, For Eternal Release, Until this is done you will never be Free. .paty harden TD - 05-04-’11 02:05
Dave
Well, that's the kind of dilemma you have if you have a consequentialist, non-rights-based system of ethics, I suppose.

Because for me there is no dilemma. The copyright holders have the right to have a say in who will and won't reprint their books and at what price, while neither Google Books nor society has a right to view the content of those books. Dave (Email ) - 05-04-’11 13:12
TD
Dave is a "my princibples are more important than reality" guy.

Also, I didn't post the text above. TD - 06-04-’11 00:09
TD
Also, I didn’t post the text above..ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh TD - 06-04-’11 01:12
Dave
fuck you TD.....i am right Dave - 06-04-’11 01:14
Dave
PRIDE…
. . .make us hate our equals
because they are our equals;
. . .our inferiors from the fear
that they may equal us;
. . .our superiors because
they are above us.
Have a nice day Dave - 06-04-’11 02:35
Dave
"Dave is a “my princibples are more important than reality” guy."

That's a bit hard to interpret. How do you gauge how important reality is? Reality isn't going anywhere; by definition whatever is, is reality. So the question of its importance is kindof moot.

Perhaps what you mean is that it's important to have an accurate perception of reality, and you think I'm saying my principles are more important than that. If that's the case, then I would say no. My principles and having an accurate perception of reality are equally important, because you have no chance to realistically implement your principles if you don't have an accurate perception of reality. Dave (Email ) - 06-04-’11 17:50
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