This morning, Microsoft released its own Live Book Search service. Similar to Google, Microsoft is scanning books, saving them in PDF format and making the full text available and searchable. What is significantly different is the fact that Microsoft is not following in Google’s footsteps when it comes to copyright material. Instead of scanning any book they feel like and then having publishers opt-out, Microsoft is planning to scan only noncopyright books, while publishers will have an option to opt-in if they want their books listed.
Is this the way to go? Is this a Catch-22 situation? If you don’t scan copyrighted material, your database will be too small to be effective but if you do, you are breaking the law…Personally, I see no room for discussion here. If your intellectual property is not protected, and someone else cripples your ability to monetize on it, there is no reason to create it in the first place. That’s why we have copyright laws. And even a $150 billion dollar company should not be able to disregard the law in the name of “organiz[ing] the world’s information and mak[ing] it universally accessible and useful.”