Internet Archive guy slams Google book settlement

How big is the World Wide Web? How about 20 x 8 x 8 feet? And let’s weigh it in at about 26,000 pounds.

Okay, maybe that’s not the size of the Web, but those are the dimensions of the [Sun Modular Data Center ]( now houses the “The Wayback Machine,” an historical archive of the Web run by the non-profit [Internet Archive.](/storage/article.php/3696116) [The Wayback Machine ]( a 150 billion Web page archive. And if you think everyone’s twittering in the moment without a care for what’s come before, consider the Wayback Machine has about 700,000 users and serves about 500 queries per second from its 4.5 Petabytes (4.5 million gigabytes) storage system.

“The average Web page weighs about 80 micrograms,” joked Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle in his speech at the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) Software Summit this week.

As Kahle races to captures the Web, he chastised the library system in this country which he said was “imploding” and the proposed [Google settlement with book publishers]( over the digital rights to out of print books. Libraries are spending billions on a limited number of publisher’s products and they’re not bringing diversity to the local community. “There’s more central control in libraries than there has ever been,” said Kahle. “They’re more like non-profit strip malls, controlled by for-profit publishers.”

Kahle said he’s especially driven to protect books because “books are how we think in long form. They’re generally written by one person … and can put across a big idea.”

He lamented the rise of Amazon and Google as the primary distribution points of books and their content. Kahle said he thinks Google’s efforts to digitize vast amounts of public domain and other books to make them more widely available is laudable, but he criticized the proposed settlement (now under review) with book publishers because it gives the search giant the right to digitize and control the distribution of out of print books that aren’t necessarily out of copyright.

**Another monopoly?**

“It creates another monopoly,” said Kahle. “It doesn’t make sense for them to be locked up by Google, it’s very screwy.”

Going forward he warned the settlement might “determine the future of books and paid content.”

In response to a question, Kahle, a successful entrepreneur, took pains to say he’s not about making everything free. He thinks the publishing industry needs a new distribution system that would enable the “vending and lending” of online works.

He said he wants to be optimistic a new system will emerge, but so far “fhe book publishing industry has done almost everything it can to kill itself.”

**Who invited this guy?**

So who else could help with this overhaul? Kahle said the event’s host, the SIIA, is in a good position to if it did not spend so much time suing people.”


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