The internet is an infinitely complex structure which isn’t so much free of form as it is utter anarchy, but that hasn’t stopped people from insisting that any given tech company can simply wave a magic wand and solve the problem du jour.
Whether it’s Hollywood, Donald Trump, or the RIAA, there’s a persistent and mistaken belief that whatever problem is vexing someone online can be solved at the press of a button. And to make matters worse, that mistaken belief is often paired with the entitled attitude that tech companies have an obligation to press that button just because it is demanded of them.
And sadly, both of those beliefs are cropping up in the book publishing industry.
On Friday Publishers Weekly posted an editorial by Rudy Shur of Square One Publishers. Shur says that he was recently approached by a Google rep who wanted Square One to sell its books in Google Play Books.
On reflection, Shur decided that he won’t do that because he objects to continued Google’s refusal to solve the piracy problem on the internet:
What we did discover, however, was that Google has no problem allowing other e-book websites to illegally offer a number of our e-book titles, either free or at reduced rates, to anyone on the Internet. When we alerted Google, all we got back was an email telling us that Google has no responsibility and that it is up to us to contact these sites to tell them to stop giving away or selling our titles. Of course we did, but to no avail; somehow I believe that, to begin with, Google logically figured that would be their response.
It seems unconscionable to me that Google would allow the hijacking of copyrighted titles by these sites and actually feel no responsibility for this action, with the reasoning that this type of action on Google’s part would be tantamount to censorship.
Folks, don’t be this guy.
There are somethings that are beyond out control, and wishing for a tech company to solve a problem won’t change that fact.
P.S. You can find more commentary on this piece over on The Passive Voice.
image by flattop341