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This is probably the silliest story that came in today: Book publisher steals Google laptops. The CEO of Macmillan Publishers, Richard Charkin, boasts in his blog1 how he nicked two computers from a Google stall at Book Expo America in New York. He admits of feeling “rather shabby playing this trick on Google”. Poor boy.

Reading through the comments at The Register summarizes all the good and bad old arguments and misconceptions about what Google actually does. We’ve touched on the subject elsewhere2.

On Charkin’s blog comments tend to be a bit more diverse. Somebody remarks the difference between criminal law (which deals with such things as theft, murder, etc.) and civil law (which deals with copyright). An important distinction. As is the distinction between authors’ rights and publishers’ income. Charking was not exactly “standing up for authors’ rights”, as one commentor likes to see it. His point was most probably much more about his own business, guessing from the number websites that in one way or another belong to Macmillan3.

On a different note, however, Charkin leaves me wondering — is there really no difference between texts and computers…?

  1. The heist []
  2. Google Book Search ‘auf Deutsch’ []
  3. []