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December 6th, 2005
google and hitler

On my way home last night, I was listening to an argument on NPR between a guy from Google and an opponent of the new Google Print project. Personally, I’d be a huge fan—to a certain degree.

Granted, I’d prefer to read an actual book—pages, cover, etc. You can’t take a laptop or a blackberry into the bathtub, and a book doesn’t require a power cord nor does it take up a lot of space. However, if Google Print had been around when I was in college, and they had textbooks (current textbooks) online that I could use—without having to spend a ridiculous amount on actual books—that would have saved me a lot of money. And for that, Google Print would be worth its weight in gold.

I do see the flip side—publishers getting stiffed. But I don’t think making all of these books available online would stop the presses—a sizeable number of people would still purchase books, and then there’s the millions of people who don’t have a computer of their own.

The opponent on NPR last night got outrageously cranky and kept going back to Mein Kampf and other censored books, asking how Google would block those from said countries. Obviously Google already blocks censored content from its sites in China and other countries that require it to do so, so why this particular guy went this route is beyond me. Honestly, I think it was beyond the guy from Google, because he kept saying, “We already do that. That’s not a problem for us. We already have to redirect users who want content that’s not allowed in their country.”

One thing that struck me was a statement by the opponent that Mein Kampf was illegal in France and Germany—and neither the Google guy nor the NPR guy corrected him. So I went looking.

Apparently Mein Kampf cannot be printed or sold in Germany (it is banned under a law that prohibits the dissemination of Nazi propaganda), but it can be owned. In 1999, Amazon.com and Barnes & Nobles stopped shipping the book there. Read more here.(On Amazon.de, you can purchase it used, but Amazon won’t ship it—a brilliant way for them to not ship it, but still facilitate in the sale.)

I couldn’t, however, prove that it was illegal to sell in France—at Amazon.fr it simply says that it is “unavailable at this time.”

Anyone know?

posted in: question of the day,randomness — @ 10:34 am

6 Comments »

  1. *blank stare*

    Comment by wendykat — Tuesday.December.6.2005 @ 11:07 am

  2. Right back at ya?

    Comment by the insider — Tuesday.December.6.2005 @ 11:33 am

  3. home sick now. was at work… tis the season of snot and sniffles.

    Comment by wendykat — Tuesday.December.6.2005 @ 1:57 pm

  4. Awww… so sad. :(

    ‘Tis the season of soup and cocoa.

    Comment by the insider — Tuesday.December.6.2005 @ 2:00 pm

  5. After a very quick search, it seems that it’s not readily available in France, and it’s the only book a bookshop can refuse to order for you. But it’s not actually banned.

    Comment by anne — Tuesday.December.6.2005 @ 4:48 pm

  6. Fascinating. Thanks Anne. :)

    Comment by the insider — Tuesday.December.6.2005 @ 5:14 pm

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