The furor over Google Autolink is a clash between competing value systems. If you feel strongly enough about reader’s rights, then there is nothing wrong with autolink. And if you feel strongly enough about writer’s rights, then there is nothing right about it.
Reader’s rights are not absolute. You don’t get to buy a book; contract with the bookbinding elves to modify, reset and rebind that book; and then place it back on your book shelf as if it were the original.
Writer’s rights are not absolute. You don’t get to punish people for adding information to the margins of your books.
I hate the slippery slope because it frames the discussion as you’re either with us or against us, and denies the possibility of compromise. In the real world, you don’t get to believe in either the irresistable force or the immovable object.
Writers have the right to recognized for their writing and that others’ writing not be confused with their own.
Readers have the right to modify works that they’ve legally obtained. They have the responsibility of recognizing the difference between the original and their modifications.
And intervening parties need to maintain the balance between the two.