Another thought-provoking link from BoingBoing. Maybe the language is a bit alarmist, but that’s what gets the linkers linking.
The Authors Guild — which represents a measly 8000 writers — brought a class action against Google on behalf of all literary copyright holders, even the authors of the millions of “orphan works” whose rightsholders can’t be located. Once that class was certified, whatever deal Google struck with the class became binding on every work of literature ever produced. The odds are that this feat won’t ever be repeated, which means that Google is the only company in the world that will have a clean, legal way of offering all these books in search results. –Cory Doctorow