Steal this laptop

Richard Charkin is a Big Cheese in Macmillan, the publishers. On his blog he admits to a heist. He posts a photograph of the Google stand at a trade fair (BookExpo America). Then, he continues:

There’s no computer where a computer should be to the left of the gentleman’s arm. You will also notice that there is no sign saying ‘please do not steal the computers’. I confess that a colleague and I simply picked up two computers from the Google stand and waited in close proximity until someone noticed. This took more than an hour.

Our justification for this appalling piece of criminal behaviour? The owner of the computer had not specifically told us not to steal it. If s/he had, we would not have done so. When s/he asked for its return, we did so. It is exactly what Google expects publishers to expect and accept in respect to intellectual property.

‘If you don’t tell us we may not digitise something, we shall do so. But we do no evil. So if you tell us to desist we shall.’

I felt rather shabby playing this trick on Google. They should feel the same playing the same trick on authors and publishers…

Well it’s one way of making your point. And an even better way of getting attention.