One of those issues that has been much debated in the US in copyright circles is whether Google’s Book Search (the project involving digitisation of books and the making of those books searchable) is legal or illegal under US Copyright Law. The issue is whether this is fair use or not. We’ve had academics dividing over the issue (on the pro-book search side, see Lessig, on the anti side, see Siva V). We’ve had major public policy events over the issue. And we have litigation of course before the courts in the US.

Not to worry for us Australians. Apparently, our omniscient Attorney-General already knows the answer. In his interview last week:

“I think that what Google wants to do is to make lawful activity that they are not allowed to do in the United States. Part of their arguments about search engines and the like really arose from the fact that they wanted to acquire material from some of the very large libraries, copy it all, and use their search engines to search it.They essentially want to become the organisation handling the copyright…”

Now, I’m not going to express any views here about whether or not Google Book Search is fair use. Because, you know, that’s a US issue, that is before US courts. But isn’t it great to see that our AG is not prejudging the issues…

[update: where are my manners?  Hat tip, Matt Rimmer for pointing this quote out.]