Amazon, Microsoft, and Yahoo Walk Into a Courtroom...

...and they're all on the same side. Their common enemy? Google, of course. In a settlement with the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers, the Mountain View search superpower obtained the right to scan and sell online out-of-print books, with Google keeping 30% of the profits. (Google would also be able to sell ads on sites providing currently copyrighted material, giving them something of an end-around on the copyright.)

Naturally, the settlement set off alarms among open-information and consumer protection advocates like the Internet Archive (a non-profit that maintains a digital library of old web sites) and antitrust lawyer Gary Reback, who instigated the government antitrust lawsuit against...Microsoft! Thus was born the "Open Book Alliance," Take heart, though, information advocates: You now have friends in the big boys. Having seen the error of their ways, Microsoft is now all about open source and open info--as is Yahoo, who will be Microsoft's new search partner if they can make it past that pesky antitrust probe.

Finally, the Bezos crew feels the same way: Private corporations just shouldn't have such control over our content. Unless it's just to delete copies of George Orwell books you already paid for.

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