Old wine in new bottles
My understanding about copyright and patent, is that these are limited monopolies granted by the state in return for something happening that might not always happen.
Eventually they both expire.
Once a book goes out of copyright, e.g., a old classic, suddenly it's republished by someone, been going on for years, no-one cared.
The BFI are desperate to republish old films with no monetary value but are hampered by the complexity of orphaned copyrights and the belief by some that there's a goldmine once BFI get involved.
Chandos was a small record label that used to record out of copyright obscure stuff for afficionadoes but got stiffed (IIRC) by someone claiming copyright because they'd rewritten the score for the label and they won royalties, net result, Chandos made a loss on a recording that would not otherwise have happened. Net outcome, new recording of such work becomes financially unviable.
I'm sure Google do all the things they do for sound financial reasons, there is a possibility of some philanthropy too, no doubt (how many billions does one person need? Google Summer of Code?)
They're paying hard cash to do something that wasn't happening, I get to use it whatever technology I've got.
If I want to watch those Feynman lectures now, I have to use and pay for Microsoft technology.
The coalition up against Google don't seem to have a similar track record of openness and living and dying by the market.
I don't need to worry about the morality of any party, but soon as Google do something, that it wouldn't have happened otherwise is simply passed over by those who can see a deep pocket. That's how it goes.
From over here, on balance it feels like Google are acting directly or indirectly for the wider benefit.
But in the realm of cui bono, let's not invoke Robin Hood, neither discuss the long forgotten author of the important but specialist text nor cite the pension needs of the person that played the triangle on the once soon to be out of copyright sixties rock anthem.
This thing against Google isn't about defending poor people or wider society it's about vested interest, monopoly and control.