Saturday, December 19, 2009

France to Google: Volez ces Livres.

So France just hit Google with a $400,000 fine for violating copyright on 80,000 French language books when they scanned them into the Google Books collection.
"'It shows Google that they are not the kings of the world and they can't do whatever they want,' said Serge Eyrolles, president of France's Syndicat National de l'Edition."
France and their kings; won't they ever learn. Hmm, Google Ier, le Grand, doesn't sound too bad now, does it?

By contrast, the Recording Industry Association of America sues people for sharing music and the fines have been more like $22,500 - $80,000 per song.

Google is also being fined $14,000 a day until it deletes the French copies, but you and I click on enough ads for "mesothelioma" that they can afford to take their time getting that job done. I might email Google and offer to remove them, since I can make any simple assignment last a year or more. I think there's an inventory on my desk somewhere that was due in 2006.

Google says it has agreements from French publishers, so I'm not sure if Google will remove any books at all, "[Philippe] Colombet could not say how many French books Google has scanned overall, or how many French publishers it has agreements with."

So what does that say about the value of the printed word when one can file-share a book for a $5 penalty, but sharing a song costs $80,000?

Is "Welcome to the Jungle" (one of the shared songs that added to a $2 million judgment against a MN woman in June, 2009) worth that much more than that classic French bestseller, Le petit chien qui a vécu en tant qu'homme?
(which I just made up using Babelfish and is supposed to read, "the little dog who lived as a man.")

Okay, bad example because that song kicks ass, and $80,000 isn't nearly enough to cover it. But what about "Don’t Stop Believing" by Journey. $80,000? Really? Can't I get them to play that at my birthday party live and in person for, like, $10,000? So they'd have to play seven more songs? (Hey, hey, hey, keep your spandex pants on. I'm not dissing Journey, just making a joke.)

So frankly, I'm offended by France's ruling. If they haven't learned anything from America about what our media stars are worth, then they can't have Jerry Lewis' body when he dies. I know Gerald Ford promised that France could have him, but I think that was just a misunderstanding from bad translating; I'm pretty sure he thought he was ordering the soup. As much as I know we'd all like France to take Jerry Lewis, I'm just not giving him up on principle.

[monday morning add: "he thought he was ordering the soup"!!!! no one thinks that's funny??? or maybe you didn't make it that far.. anyway, I wish someone would give at least a pity laugh because I think that's hilarious]