Salon's Laura Miller talks to Cory Doctorow about copyright and the differences between rules and expectations for "industrial" users versus the rest of us. (He says we shouldn't be held to the same standards for sharing things around.)
As usual, the Salon headline writer takes a narrow point Doctorow is making (about Google's indexing of books) and enlarges it to an alarming clickbait proposition: ""We're all sharecroppers in Google’s fields for the rest of eternity." Like, woah. Here's the context of that "quote" (emphasis added):
...Do you remember when the Authors Guild sued Google over Google Book Search, which is basically the right to make an index of stuff in books? They said to Google, “If you’re going to do this, you’re going to do it on our terms, and you’re going to have to give us a whole $70 million. And we want to establish that we’re not saying that it’s legal to do this for anybody. You have to come negotiate with us first, and next time the price might be higher!” Google said, “$70 million? Let’s shake the sofa and find some change for you.” Meanwhile, you are guaranteeing that nobody else in the future history of the world will be able to afford to index books, which is one of the ways people find and buy books. Now Google owns that forever, for a mere $70 million! Nice work, Authors Guild. You’ve just made us all sharecroppers in Google’s fields for the rest of eternity.
It's not entirely clear what Doctorow means in either the larger or narrower context. One minute he's talking about "making an index of stuff in books" and later he talks about "index[ing] books, which is one of the ways people find and buy books." Instead of the traditional, back-of-the-book index I believe by "index" he means that Google makes every word in the book searchable and that's one way people "find" books. But that's just a guess. Checking the ever-wonderful Wikipedia, it appears the author's guild settlement is still up in the air so who knows what Doctorow is even talking about.