All posts by Jeffrey Perren

About Jeffrey Perren

Jeffrey Perren is a novelist and regular contributor to Atlasphere.

Google Library Infringes Copyright?

Google is undertaking a large, long-term project to make the content of hard copy books (remember those?) available via the Internet.

Such a project would unquestionably benefit many in significant ways. Nick Taylor, in a Washington Post editorial, argues they are going about it without due consideration of intellectual property rights.

In response, Authors Guild, of which Taylor is current president, has filed suit against Google.

One side argues the potential benefit to society outweighs the author’s right to compensation for his or her work. The librarian of the University of Michigan, for example, states “We cannot lose sight of the tremendous benefits this project will bring to society.”

Others argue no copyright infringement is taking place.

First, Google does not intend to sell digital copies of the books themselves, selling instead targeted advertising links embedded on the results page. Second, only very small snippets of the books (less then three lines) will be displayed at any one time.

While agreeing about the likely benefit, Taylor argues that “Society has traditionally seen its greatest value in the rights of individuals, and particularly in the dignity of their work and just compensation for it.”

Between Jam and Jelly: Government Folly Part 3,326

In a stellar short essay, Uriah Kriegel illuminates a dangerous trend in legislative thinking — adherence to the principle: that which is not explicitly allowed is therefore forbidden.

Kriegel focuses on some absurd recent rulings of the European Commission, but his insights apply equally well to all countries’ regulatory bodies.

He rightly points out that such a principle is entirely antithetical to the American system of government, in principle if not always in practice.

His use of Justice Stephen Bryer’s recent book, Active Liberty, as an example is apropos, especially in light of recent debates over ‘judicial activism’.

Readers of Anthem and Atlas Shrugged will understand the principle already, but Kriegel makes his own case with no explicit reference to Rand’s philosophy.

And make it he does… in spades.

The essay is available on Tech Central Station’s web site.

Atlas Shrugged Film Closer?

According to a recent article in BoxOffice Mojo:

“…Howard Baldwin, [who] tells me that he is closer to bringing Ayn Rand’s epic to the screen. ” writes editor and publisher Scott Holleran.

There’s some reason to hope the screenplay will be faithful to the spirit of the novel.

“Based on a reading of the Atlas Shrugged script, producer Baldwin promises that Miss Rand’s essential principlesâ??reason, selfishness, capitalismâ??are integrated in the plot and that, as in the novel, businesswoman Dagny Taggart struggles to operate a transcontinental railroad in a nation run by preachy socialists, while looters and moochers pick at the remains.”

That would be welcome news, indeed.

Atlas Shrugged Mentioned in Crichton Novel Review

In a column from last December, conservative pundit George Will mentions Atlas Shrugged, semi-favorably, in a piece discussing Michael Crichton’s latest novel.

State of Fear is the story of the hunt for a group of radical environmentalists planning a ‘natural’ disaster for publicity purposes. Along the way a naïve, moderately left-leaning attorney has his eyes opened by a professor-cum-government operative who interrupts the plot occasionally to deliver miniature lectures.

Will writes:

“State of Fear,” with a first printing of 1.5 million copies, resembles Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” — about 6 million copies sold since 1957 — as a political broadside woven into an entertaining story. But whereas Rand had only an idea — a good one (capitalism is splendid), but only one — Crichton has information.

See Will’s full article for more information about Crichton’s book.