Cloud computing: how information giants are setting the pace for the internet’s next decade

From Google’s library project to Apple’s iTunes store, ‘cloud capitalism’ provides an innovative way forward for business – but raises more questions about privacy and securityIt is a vast orphanage, yet its inhabitants are not children, but millions of books that have been unceremoniously dumped by their owners, locked away unseen and unread. Many of the books’ authors are still alive. That is not the problem. The trouble is that the copyright owners – the publishers – no longer think they will profit from making these books commercially available. Yet the owners decline to free the books and make them publicly available, in case someone else makes money from them. Many books will only be in commercial print for a couple of years before they are packed off to the orphanage to spend decades in the dark.A tragically high proportion of our culture lies trapped in this cultural coma, including perhaps 95% of commercially published books and tens of thousands of films. That is why Google’s project to digitise more than seven million orphaned books, as part of a digital library that could exceed the Library of Congress, should be welcomed. A treasure trove of culture and ideas will be opened up for more people than ever to access. No one else was going to do it, so Google is footing the bill. That should be good for all of us.

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