Google Freedom

My final digital argument project for English 488 class.

Here is a Google docs version of the Rationale

And here is a link to the original paper this video was a response to:
Here is my Rationale for the video:

Digital Argument Rationale:
Google Freedom

I began this project as a response to my own position paper that was written for English 488. What prompted me to respond to my own paper was the feeling that I needed to finish what I wanted to say. In the paper, I concluded by stating that the best solution to the Google Books issue revolved around Congress updating copyright law in order to allow entities to make use of orphaned works (McClelland 9-10). But, due to space limitations, I was not able to completely express my full opinion. In the greater scope of reality, Congress has avoided any type of legislation concerning changing copyright law since the beginning of the Google Books issue. With this in mind, I was careful to say that congress changing copyright law would be a great step. Unfortunately, reality does not seem to parallel this ideal. In sum, this video completes my full opinion by reasoning that information has tended toward freedom through history and that Google stands as the greatest (and only real) possibility for freeing the vast store of knowledge within the world’s books. Further, the orphaned works stand as the major sticking point, but even this does not stand as a real roadblock if examined. Through remixing my original content with edited content from online sources , I hope to convey this summarized point.

The Chorus

In creating the overall structure of the video I began with the idea of three basic sections. I derived the concept of the three basic sections from a methodology of creating music. The structure breaks down into the chorus, bridge, and coda. First, the beginning sets the tone and basic idea of the rest of the video much the same as a chorus section in a song. Second, the middle section serves as the link in understanding how everything has arrived at the current place in the same way that a bridge serves to link the chorus to the end (coda) of a song. The end section of the video concludes with my overall point in the same way that the coda of a song serves to resolve a song. This concept of relation to song served primarily as a thread and basic structure for creating the video. Also, this explanation will help in understanding the heading sections of this paper.
In the beginning of the video, I attempt to jumpstart interest in the video through music and inspiring dialogue. In order to gain interest, I chose the classic funk song “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc. This song seemed appropriate for two reasons. First, the song’s lyrics speak of talking and talking, which appears to be the only thing that has occurred up to this point in the Google Books issue. As stated in my paper, this issue began five and a half years ago in 2005 (McClelland 1). Still, nothing is resolved. Second, the upbeat mood of the song supplemented the somewhat inspiring words of the video clips.
In addition to the music, the video clips further jumpstart the movie through inspiring words. In the beginning, James D. Duderstadt, President of Emeritus, Professor, at Michigan University, brings hopeful words by conveying that University professors are beginning to want to free information for the world to use (“Transform”). Further, Gabriel Stricker, Dir. Global Communications and Public Affairs at Google, compounds that Google desires to “make all the world’s books available” (BeetTV). These two clips work together to inspire as well as frame the basic point of the video. The point being that Google holds the greatest possibility for freeing the world’s books from the shackles of ink and paper text.

The Bridge

In the bridge (middle section of video), I sought to give background to the topic of information freedom and orphan works. Concerning the overall concept, I used some artistic license in personifying information through stating that “information seeks to be free” (“Freedom”). This personification is simply intended as an aesthetic appeal. In regard to the historical images, I decided that I would use points in history that represented key points of greater information freedom; beginning with Johannes Gutenberg, and his printing press. The next images show families huddling around radios and televisions respectively. Of particular note, the audio linked to each image is particularly important. Linked to the radio image is what is believed to be a reproduction of the original radio broadcast in the United States (immortalinvisible). Next, linked to the TV image is audio from the original TV broadcast, which was named “The Man With the Flower in His Mouth” (archaipersonae). Each of these audio clips serves to add greater depth, credibility, and authenticity through their originality.
Beyond the images and audio clips, I believe that certain special effects enhance the meaning behind this section. First, at the start of this section clouds abound. The clouds parallel the words “Information seeks to be free” through the concept of flight. Second, the words “But must be freed” rise from ethereal waters in order to further convey the feeling of freedom. Third, a vortex appears that represents the viewer’s passage through time while the images of key historical points in information freedom fly by. Fourth, a heartbeat monitor line represents packets of information pulsing through the web while images of Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LA Times Online, iPhone, iPad, Laptops, Blogger, and the University of Michigan Archives appear in rhythm with the pulses. Fifth, and finally, a copyright image (obtained online and eventually edited somewhat in photoshop) moves through the visual space and erases the words “Orphan Works” in order to signify how copyright prevents the greater spread of orphan works to the public. All of these effects hopefully effectively combine together with the imagery and audio elements in order to enhance the overall effectiveness of the argument.

The Coda

The end (coda) of the video attempts to persuade that Google is the best answer to a full worldwide book digitization project despite concerns raised. To make this point, I interspersed text blocks and video to make correlating points. Sergey Brin, Co-founder of Google first notes that no one has proceeded as far as Google in achieving the goal of a digitization project. Following that, a text block supports this idea by showing that Google made approximately $30 million in 2010. Thus, Google’s financing for such a project is virtually unmatched. Further, even Microsoft, an early competitor in the digitization race, scraped its project in light of the massive financing and technical difficulties of such an undertaking. Next, Brin notes the relevance of all books to our current time, regardless of the age of the books. To give an idea of how many books there are, a text block quotes the estimated 130 million books in the world. 25 million of which are estimated to be orphans in the United Kingdom alone. Sergey’s section ends with the phrase that someone has to find a “way for people to access all of them” (Foratv).
After Sergey’s section, the counterargument of antitrust laws is brought to light through subcommittee chairman Hank Johnson. But in response, David Balto, a former antitrust enforcer and a current Sr. Fellow of American Progress, strikes down this idea through his own analysis and 30 other lawyers’ analysis of the antitrust concerns of Google’s use of orphaned works. Then, in a final conclusion, Balto strikes out with the statement that the concerns that many raise over orphaned works will only serve to hinder a worldwide book digitization project. Ultimately, he states, Google is a very reasonable option to achieve such a goal (OpenBookAlliance).
After all is said, the video ends with an inspiring clip from the Disney movie Tron: Legacy. The clip involves a father telling his son that he (and others) created a world where all information was free; much like the world that Google is attempting to create in which all the world’s books accessible. One other correlation is that, in the movie, the father attempts to create a system in which all information is free. But, the system turns on him and closes full access to users . Only at the hands of the next generation (his son) is the system reopened to all. The parallel that I drew was to the system of print that was intended to free information. Eventually, the system created to protect printed work (copyright) served only to hinder further spread of information, which was the original intention. Thus, this clip seemed appropriate for the ending resolve.

Works Cited

Archaipersonae. “The Man with the Flower in His Mouth – 1930.” YouTube. 6 July 2010. Web. 13 May 2011.

BeetTV. “Google Wants All World’s Books and Will Pay All the Authors.” YouTube. 20 May 2009. Web. 23 Apr. 2011.

Foratv. “Will Google’s Book Scan Project Transform Academia?” YouTube. 11 May 2009. Web. 23 Apr. 2011.

”. “YouTube – The Future of Google Books – Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin.” YouTube. 30 Oct. 2009. Web. 20 Apr. 2011.

Immortalinvisible. “The First Radio Broadcast.” YouTube. 23 June 2010. Web. 24 Apr. 2011.

McClelland, Austin. Googling Orphans. 2011. Print.

OpenBookAlliance. “Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) Part 1 – Google Books Judiciary
Committee Hearing.” YouTube. 15 Sept. 2010. Web. 23 Apr. 2011.


Duration: 431

Likes: 0