The future of the idea that is the Internet is in jeopardy according to Wired magazine writer Lawrence Lessig [article]. Lessig worries that in order to settle the debate over Google Print, the search engine giant will compromise and cease to index the contents of millions of out of print and public domain books.
The most intersting thing about this article is that Lessig points out that if the indexing of books is found to be illegal because of copyright restrictions, then the whole of what Google (or any other search engine does) is also illegal–index copyrighted material in the form of web pages, images, movies, etc. A lawsuit filed by copyright holders could, on a technicality, threaten the stability of information searching as we know it.
As I think we have all learned in recent years, finding information on the Internet is hard without a search engine, nigh impossible. The debate over Google Print is the debate over 1) whether that system has a future in a world of copyrights, and 2) whether that system can leap across the boundary into new territory, territory formerly excluded from the digital revolution.