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At BookExpo America, distinguished novelist John Updike (whom you read in college) snarked at Wired Magazine founding executive editor Kevin Kelly (whom you last read when someone linked to his blog). At an event so square that the MCs were still making Survivor jokes, Updike (pictured) played the perfect nemesis to the breathless technologist Kelly.

Updike noted Kelly's assertion that "copy-protection schemes" are helpless to hold back the technological tide. "Schemes," he repeated sarcastically, drawing a laugh. As his audience well knew, the Association of American Publishers filed suit last year on behalf of five major publishers alleging that Google's library scanning project is a massive and flagrant violation of copyright law.

Kelly was absent, but Google was there, feeding and transporting conference attendees — doesn't Wal-Mart hold a festival when they enter a town? — and making the case for its book-scanning Google Print project. Google's success could wipe that smirk off Updike's face faster than you can say "Run, Rabbit, run!"

Explosive Words [Washington Post]