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Questions Linger Over Google Book Rights Registry

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the disintermediation-writ-large dept.

Books 107

We've discussed the fallout from Google's settlement with the Authors Guild a few times already. Now the issue is made pointed again by a Wall Street Journal editorial claiming that the settlement will ruin a functioning copyright system if it is finally ratified, as expected, in June by a federal court. Reader daretoeatapeach writes: "In the US this will establish a Book Rights Registry where authors can opt-in to 63% of the revenues of each book, the rest going to Google. While previously Amazon had cornered the market on e-books, Google's partnership with Sony will create a serious dent: 500,000 books to Amazon's 250,000. Though Google is currently only releasing the books that are in the public domain, they ultimately plan to sell the 7 million e-books they've scanned (and counting). This raises a lot of questions about the future of publishing: Do we want only one company (e.g. Google) controlling access to information? Should publishers get a cut of the money, at least as long as their book is being scanned? Will broader access to trade journals affect their relationship and reliance on libraries? If, in the future, more authors opt out of the traditional publishing model, when will this hit the 'recession-proof' book industry? And has the publishing industry learned any lessons from MP3s?"

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Hummm. (1)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400257)

Is Google willing to sell me a dead tree copy of the book? If not, I'm not interested.

Re:Hummm. (4, Insightful)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400473)

I'm sure they'll have a 'print on demand' option some day. Google is doing what it always tries to do. Cut out all the middle men, in this case 'publishers.' Now,there are services a publisher provides that will continue to be needed but the 'publishing' business will be changed forever.

Re:Hummm. (3, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400605)


They're doing a bit more than just cutting out the middle men. I'm fine with that if it means that authors can sell directly to their fans without having to go through anther company. But there are big problems with what Google are doing. It's "opt-out" meaning that unless you are careful, Google will start selling your books whether you want them to or not. There are going to be a lot of books Google get their hands on that the author or their agent wouldn't want them to. This particularly applies on the international market. And keep in mind that Google are international. If an author doesn't have rights to a work in the USA for some reason, they'll find Google snapping it up and selling it. Aside from the moral issue of Google selling other people's work unless they take all the necessary steps to stop each work, the effect on the market will be a negative one. You put far, far too much power in the hands of a few small companies.

This is the way all info should go (2, Insightful)

professorguy (1108737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400881)

Oh, I see, you've written so many books there's no possible way you can remember them all to fill out a web form for each one.

I'm sorry, if you don't care enough to opt out, then ALL HUMANS SHOULD GET THE INFO. No more of this, "It's mine, you can't have it, I don't care if I'm not using it, I'd rather it was wasted just so I can hoard it."

As long as Google is not the EXCLUSIVE stealer of info, so other companies can swoop in and ALSO distribute unclaimed works, this doesn't make one company too strong.

I applaud this sentiment. ALL info should go this path. Let's sum it up as: Oh, YOU don't care? Well, WE do.

Re:This is the way all info should go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27401517)

Really, all you've done is counter with YOU care to HIS caring. You are not the voice of the collective.

Allow me to paraphrase you: "It's yours, but you can't keep it. I don't care if it's yours, if you're not using it this second, I'll take it."

"As long as Google is not the EXCLUSIVE stealer..." So you condone theft? Not so altruistic.

Re:This is the way all info should go (2, Insightful)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401655)

Oh, I see, you've written so many books there's no possible way you can remember them all to fill out a web form for each one.

So far, Google is the only company doing this. But what if another company starts doing this in China, another one in Russia, another one in South America, another one in South Africa, one in Israel, etc., how many web forms in how many languages are you prepared to fill in for each of your books? You go on from saying how simple it is to then say that other companies should be able to get into the same game, but you don't seem to have thought it through.

Re:This is the way all info should go (1)

DamnStupidElf (649844) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408661)

So far, Google is the only company doing this. But what if another company starts doing this in China, another one in Russia, another one in South America, another one in South Africa, one in Israel, etc., how many web forms in how many languages are you prepared to fill in for each of your books? You go on from saying how simple it is to then say that other companies should be able to get into the same game, but you don't seem to have thought it through.

Much easier than tracking down every single unauthorized publisher in the world. I am certain that publishers in many countries are printing copyrighted books and not paying the royalties, but *no one* can track all of them down. Tracking down the most popular online book services is a cake walk compared to actually finding and tracking physical books back to their publisher. The online publishers will push out any localized black market that caters to physical books today.

Re:Hummm. (2, Insightful)

Comboman (895500) | more than 5 years ago | (#27402101)

It's "opt-out" meaning that unless you are careful, Google will start selling your books whether you want them to or not.

The problem with an opt-in system is that with the current near-perpetual copyright terms, there are lots of books that are still under copyright but long out-of-print (or worse, out-of-print and publisher out-of-business) with no way to contact the author (if they are still alive) or even determine who the current copyright holder is.

Re:Hummm. (3, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 5 years ago | (#27402737)

No, that's exactly why opt-in is good -- if the copyright holder can't be bothered to identify himself, why should he still retain the privilege of controlling the book?

Of course, opt-out with short copyright terms would be better...

Re:Hummm. (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27402997)

Um. Your first statement makes about as much sense as saying, "Yes, 1+1 = 2, thus 1+2= 2!"

The point is, under an opt-in system, a work that is 'lost' is lost till someone can prove its in the public domain. Under an opt-out system, a work that is 'lost' is returned to the public, with the owner having the option of coming back and resuming control.

I think the real problem here is that most creators forget they didn't create in a vaccum. Your works were created with you standing on the backs of everyone that came before you. Yes, we provide you incentive to create more by providing you the right to control who can copy 'your' work for a period of time, but ultimately everything is a derived work at it's core. And ultimately it should belong to everyone in the end.

This Disney bullshit of removing content from distribution in an attempt to create artificial demand is just that, bullshit. If you aren't publishing a work under your own terms, you should at least let someone else publish it and give you part of the profits.

Re:Hummm. (2, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405683)

Um. Your first statement makes about as much sense as saying, "Yes, 1+1 = 2, thus 1+2= 2!"

Wow, you're right! That's because I accidentally wrote "opt-in" when I meant "opt-out." Oops! Corrected version:

No, that's exactly why [opt-out] is good -- if the copyright holder can't be bothered to identify himself, why should he still retain the privilege of controlling the book?

Re:Hummm. (2, Informative)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403417)

"opt-out" meaning that unless you are careful, Google will start selling your books whether you want them to or not.

and by this you mean "I'd like to redefine what is actually happening to the most FUD worthy version possible."

Here is the reality of what they are doing:

In-copyright and in-print books
In-print books are books that publishers are still actively selling, the ones you see at most bookstores. This agreement expands the online marketplace for in-print books by letting authors and publishers turn on the "preview" and "purchase" models that make their titles more easily available through Book Search.

In-copyright but out-of-print books
Out-of-print books aren't actively being published or sold, so the only way to procure one is to track it down in a library or used bookstore. When this agreement is approved, every out-of-print book that we digitize will become available online for preview and purchase, unless its author or publisher chooses to "turn off" that title. We believe it will be a tremendous boon to the publishing industry to enable authors and publishers to earn money from volumes they might have thought were gone forever from the marketplace.

Out-of-copyright books
This agreement doesn't affect how we display out-of-copyright books; we will continue to allow Book Search users to read, download and print these titles, just as we do today.

The agreement will also create an independent, not-for-profit Book Rights Registry to represent authors, publishers and other rightsholders. In essence, the Registry will help locate rightsholders and ensure that they receive the money their works earn under this agreement. You can visit the settlement administration site, the Authors Guild or the AAP to learn more about this important initiative.

If your OUT OF PRINT books are important enough to you that you care whether or not that they are 'republished' then go to the 10 minute effort of registering and marking them as such. If they aren't that important, then don't whine.

Re:Hummm. (2, Interesting)

j-beda (85386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404523)

The Book Rights Registry would be useful for anyone planning on starting a similar service - authors need only opt out in one place.

Re:Hummm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27401209)

Over 50% of the world is middlemen, and they don't take kindly to being cut out.

-Firefly

Re:Hummm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27401145)

paper has become a pointless commodity. lets end it.

Better books on demand (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#27402631)

The Internet Archive does that. [archive.org] Although not on a very large scale.

The print-on-demand industry has, I think, made a positioning error. They produce cheap paperbacks at hardcover prices. What's needed is a high-quality hardcover binding machine as part of the print-on-demand process. The actual manufacturing cost of binding a book is about $1-$2, but the markup on hardcovers is much higher. Lulu.com now does hardcovers, but they all look exactly the same, all with the same dimensions and bound in plain blue linen. They charge $15 extra for hardcover binding, which is excessive.

Screen devices will take over the disposable book market. There's no reason to use paper for read-once books.

Re:Better books on demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27406899)

As someone who worked in the printing industry for 13 years, I can assure you that your estimate of the actual cost of producing a nice Smythe sewn hard-cover book is way too low. Double it and you are about right.

paper (4, Insightful)

spandex_panda (1168381) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400275)

Well I still like paper books. I find it far easier to read if it is printed, I can't even read more than a page or two of a pdf before I print it out... let alone a whole bloody book!

Re:paper (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400313)

That's true. And the main reason is that most displays are simply not high-quality to enough to offer you the reading experience that paper gives you. However, that's changing: high-quality displays that are thin enough to roll up are in the works and some are even available now, albeit for a high cost.

I suspect that one day we will do most of our reading online.

Re:paper (1)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400393)

That's true. And the main reason is that most displays are simply not high-quality to enough to offer you the reading experience that paper gives you. However, that's changing: high-quality displays that are thin enough to roll up are in the works and some are even available now, albeit for a high cost.

I've been wanting an ebook reader for the longest time. I actually realized in high school that a reflective instead of emissive display was the pilotal tech missing... (Before I heard about e-ink.)

But most current readers are either tiny screens or underpowered feature- or processing-wise. But I hope to eventually have a DRM-free O'Reilly zoo with me on my commute... One can dream. :)

Good ebook matrix:
http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/E-book_Reader_Matrix [mobileread.com]

Re:paper (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400513)

Books shouldn't need a heavy duty processor, that would require heavy batteries and hobble the battery life. And it's usually not necessary, at the moment, the limiting factor is usually the page refresh.

Re:paper (1)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400755)

Books shouldn't need a heavy duty processor

Books? No.

Content that can be displayed on paper? Yes.

Think in the lines of PDF:s, vector graphics, doodles (stylus based touchscreen tech to draw), Wikipedia browsing, etc...

What is needed is a power management scheme smart enough to kick in a heavy duty processor for drawing a new page, and having a really tiny power draw when you are devouring content.

Maybe asymmetrical multicore prosessors are needed, who knows... But I still think it makes no sense to limit a device as versatile as an ebook reader to just text and static images.

Re:paper (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27401403)

E-ink uses no power after a page load. You can turn the device completely off and still read.

Re:paper (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 5 years ago | (#27408505)

Well, except for the ones that clear the screen and replace it with some author's picture when you turn it off.

*cough*Kindle*cough*

Transflective (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400883)

I actually realized in high school that a reflective instead of emissive display was the pilotal tech missing... (Before I heard about e-ink.)

Yup, my old and dead Psion Revo had a transflective screen, so the more ambient light there was, the better it got -- just like paper (but, naturally, not as hi-res). I read a good deal of books on that thing I burned through Borroughs' Mars-trilogy while on the bus); it's very adequate as an e-book reader, and certainly cheaper than what's "modern" on the market right now.
Other than that, yes, a device that only needs power (and cpu time) to "flip the page" is definitely the future.

Re:paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27400789)

"And the main reason is that most displays are simply not high-quality to enough to offer you the reading experience that paper gives you"

Sorry, it's going to take a lot more then a high-quality display to make me want to read an e-book, they just don't cut in a number of ways. Not the least of which is the ability to 'thumb' through a book.

From the story intro it says Google "ultimately plan to sell the 7 million e-books they've scanned"!!??.. Why would you need to 'scan' an e-book? Isn't it e-lectronic already?

Re:paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27401747)

Also PDF is terrible for reading e-books. It is OK if your display matches the form factor that the PDF was published in, but otherwise it is horrible. It eather leave a lot of dead space, makes the text too small to read, or requires massive scrolling. For any books where the layout of the text is not absolutely critical ebook formats are much better becasue they let you adjust text size and auto reflow the text to fit the screen. Right now the main formats seem to be ePub, and mobi/kindle it will be interesting to see if either one becomes dominant.

Re:paper (2, Interesting)

mysticgoat (582871) | more than 5 years ago | (#27402055)

Even with screens of excellent quality, I prefer a book-like format to my computer for reading. The computer screen locks me into one posture, one particular lighting set-up, and a very narrow range of viewing distances. With a book, I can easily vary all of these conditions even as I read, and I find that I do so, constantly. I might spend an evening reading for pleasure (currently re-reading LOTR). But I'm changing my position, or the angle of the book to the lighting, or how far I'm holding it from my face almost constantly.

If I spend an hour working up a spreadsheet or editing a web page then go outside, it takes several minutes for my acuity to return to normal: things are a little blurry until my eyes adjust from the fixed conditions of the computer work to rapidly shifting focus between the path at my feet and the mountains miles away. That period of adjustment doesn't happen when I'm reading for pleasure, and I think its because I'm not locking myself into tight constraints on posture, etc, when I'm reading a book.

I'm thinking that I might see ebook hardware that I would like as much as deadtree books in the next 10 to 20 years, but we aren't there yet.

Obligatory xkcd (4, Funny)

Andr T. (1006215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400327)

Re:Obligatory xkcd (3, Funny)

TitusC3v5 (608284) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400547)

I'll meet your Obligatory xkcd and raise you one Penny Arcade [penny-arcade.com] , good sir.

Re:Obligatory xkcd (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27400667)

I'll meet your Obligatory Penny Arcade and raise you one Goatse [goatse.fr] , good sir.

Re:paper (4, Insightful)

jsmiith (1274436) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400411)

That depends on the type of book you are reading. For reference, text searching is indespensable, but for just plain old reading I'll never give up my printed books.

Re:paper (2)

swillden (191260) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403385)

That depends on the type of book you are reading. For reference, text searching is indespensable, but for just plain old reading I'll never give up my printed books.

Have you ever tried reading on an electronic book reader? Not a laptop, or a cellphone, but a purpose-designed device, like a Kindle, or even the venerable Rocket e-Book? And have you done it for long enough that the device "disappears", just as the mechanical aspects of turning pages do?

I have, and I really dislike reading fiction on paper. So much so that I won't do it unless the book is both unavailable electronically and *highly* recommended by someone I trust. Even then that's not always enough.

Paper is bulky, heavy, requires two hands, doesn't work in the dark, doesn't remember your place, doesn't have adjustable font sizes for different reading distances... it just sucks.

People go on about the tactile aspects of reading paper books, and how much they enjoy that, but I think they're full of crap. Not that they don't believe every word of it, but I really doubt that the "pleasure" of holding a book and turning pages really means what they think it does. In my opinion, what's really going on is they're associating the pleasure derived from reading a good book with the peripheral sensations that surround the experience, and it's only that association that makes the tactile sensations pleasurable. Would you really enjoy turning pages if they were blank?

Personally, I experience the same pleasure when I plop down into an easy chair with an e-book reader that I used to when reading on paper. The reading pleasure is now associated in my mind with other sensations and paper books just strike me as inconvenient and unpleasant.

Re:paper (1)

jsmiith (1274436) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403719)

For casual reading where I can read in only one direction(from the front to the back, no skipping around) a kindle or similar device is very enticing. However, what about when I read a textbook or a technical book? More often than not I am trying to connect several similar concepts and have a finger or two marking my place as I rapidly switch between sections. How can I do that on a electronic device?

Re:paper (2, Interesting)

swillden (191260) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403909)

More often than not I am trying to connect several similar concepts and have a finger or two marking my place as I rapidly switch between sections. How can I do that on a electronic device?

An electronic device is superior for that usage as well. First, it'll let you set any number of bookmarks, which you can jump between easily. Not quite as easily as with your fingers stuck in sections, but for that sort of use there's the "back" and "forward" buttons. On my Rocket e-Book reader there are some configurable soft-buttons on the touchscreen, and I set two of them to jump forward and back much the way forward and back icons work in your web browser. I can go to one bookmark, then another, then a third or a fourth, and then use back and forward to quickly jump between them.

If needed, I can also assign soft buttons to specific bookmarks. This is usually more effort than it's worth, but it can be nice.

The thing that really makes electronic readers great for reference books and textbooks, though, is searchability. Sometimes being able to search for key words or phrases is far more useful than any index. Oh... a properly-done index in an e-book is hyperlinked, which makes using it MUCH faster than a paper index, and if the page you find isn't what you wanted, just hit "back", and you're back at the index to try again.

Stepping up a level, if there's a common usage mode that is less convenient with an electronic device, then that just points out a flaw in the software. Since there are no physical limitations (other than screen size), there's no reason that everything you may want to do shouldn't be easier, faster and more convenient than with paper.

For the most part... (3, Interesting)

ActusReus (1162583) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400439)

Generally speaking, I very much prefer paper books too... and can't see ever switching over to a Kindle or any other sort of e-reader.

However, the one advantage that e-books have over the real thing is that I can't throw my feet up on my cubicle desk and read a paper book... but I CAN spend all day reading a PDF (and/or Slashdot), and it looks like I'm working.

Since I spend a quarter-to-a-third of my life sitting at the office, working jobs that involve 10% programming work and 90% being held up by inefficient management, time-fillers are an important part of my life. In a perfect world, I could just waste time openly and perhaps encourage management to get its organization together so I'd be less bored. In the real world though that would just get me outsourced, so I need to give the impression that I'm "heads down" and slaving away for my brilliant manager. E-books help.

e-paper (1)

samael (12612) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400545)

This is certainly true of LED screens.

E-ink, on the other hand, I find as easy to read as paper, and when reading in short bursts I find it significantly handier, if for no other reason than it remembers exactly where I was, rather than me spending 30 seconds working out exactly where I was.

Re:paper (1)

ElizabethGreene (1185405) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401185)

Well I still like paper books. I find it far easier to read if it is printed, I can't even read more than a page or two of a pdf before I print it out...

Enter Amazon, and the Kindle! I soooooooooooooooooooo want one. The display quality is absofrickinlutely awesome for ebooks. The guy next to me on my last chicago-nashville flight had one and I got to -touch- it.. Ok, That sounds a little weird. Suffice it to say that after a brief in-person kindle experience I am now a convert.

Amazon: You need to find somebody to show these off. The pictures really do not do it justice. ... Back to the OP, this is just another step in the evolution of publishing, quite similar to the paradigm shift in the recording industry. Books that are available electronically are currently the exception to the rule and that will change in our lifetimes. Major publishers are currently the only way to get wide circulation of a book. That too will change.

Sadly, the $300 textbook is not likely to disappear any time in the near future.

-ellie

Re:paper (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405159)

Well I still like paper books.

Good for you. Coincidentally, when TV first appeared, a lot of people preferred radio to it. There's nothing wrong - why change one's habits for no good reason? - but with time, the overall trend will become clear. I do not think paper books will go away, but I suspect they will become luxury items in the next 10-20 years - and you'll be paying quite a bit extra for the "feel of paper".

Publish or Perish (4, Insightful)

dattaway (3088) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400299)

The publisher who makes the effort to put material on the most widely read medium always prevails. Looks like google is doing what the dead tree publishers refuse to do.

Re:Publish or Perish (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400551)

The publisher who makes the effort to put material on the most widely read medium always prevails. Looks like google is doing what the dead tree publishers refuse to do.

Assuming ebooks are the most widely read medium. I don't think that's anywhere nearly the case yet. I think a billion books are published a year, and I haven't heard about a million of the readers being made in the last decade. Right now, it's still in the novelty stage, not mass adoption stage.

Re:Publish or Perish (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400739)

More than likely, what the dead tree publishers COULDN'T do. You're talking an industry that's fractured into a huge number of all-over-the-map publishers (incl. tiny micro-presses, university presses, vanity publishers, etc.) and staffed by people who often know very little about e-publishing or marketing. A third-party (like Google or Amazon) was likely necessary in this case. I'm just surprised Amazon hasn't stepped more up to the plate on this one. It seems like they've made a lot of ill-advised e-publishing decisions of late: an overpriced kindle, restricting the kindle to PURCHASED books (no public domain), etc.

Re:Publish or Perish (1)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401243)

The Kindle is not restricted to purchased books; you can upload your own books in multiple formats.

Re:Publish or Perish (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27402545)

He probably means that Amazon would benefit from actually having a service that published and publicized public domain content for the Kindle.

Basically, he wants pink unicorns, I don't think Amazon is making much profit on the hardware, so making less on the hardware and eating away at book sales is a bit unlikely.

Re:Publish or Perish (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404675)

Amazon has quite a lot of free books - as in zero cost - available on their site for the Kindle. They are taking up space on their system and being managed identically to revenue-producing books. This means you can delete it from the device and it is considered "archived".

Amazon is also making quite a few recent books available at zero cost as well. Most of this is a marketing technique but the result is free content.

The Kindle isn't anywhere near as locked-down as you seem to think. You can go to many web sites and download books directly on the Kindle using the free wireless cellular modem in the device. You do not have to use a separate computer to do this.

There are some problems with the Kindle 2, probably the first and foremost is the lack of a bright full-color screen with a resolution sufficient to read maps with. Something around 4096x4096 would be nice. Of course, the battery life might suffer with that... But without a much larger color display and a much faster processor it isn't really possible to display generic PDF documents very well. It all comes down to the device being designed for something different.

Re:Publish or Perish (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27402639)

Yes, but how can this work? For any existing book the dead-tree publisher will have an exclusivity agreement with the author. As a writer, you don't get an advance from the publisher and the option to sell your work to someone else.

Regardless of any agreement between Google and the Writer's Guild, authors are bound by their existing contracts with publishers.

In other words, Google has negotiated a deal with authors via the Writers Guild, but what they need is the publishers' permission. Which they haven't got. I'm confused.

Re:Publish or Perish (1)

j-beda (85386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404377)

I think that at least some (possibly many, or most) publishing contracts revert the copyright to the author if/when the publisher takes it off the "books in print" list, or some limited time after that.

not so worried that one company controls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27400315)

I am not as worried about one company controlling all these ebooks as I am that these books would never get published in electronic format otherwise. I mean, lets face it, ePublishing is the way of the future, maybe not with this round of devices (Sony PRS and Amazon Kindle) but eventually it will happen. It has to happen.

Public domain books are not so much the issue, but there are a lot of other books out there that have been published in the latter half of the 20th century. As long as traditional publishing houses drag their feet trying to figure out how to squeeze the consumer for am much as they can, many of these books will languish.

These books may eventually see publication, in the same way that many old movies once available on VHS were eventually released on DVD, but there are many classic movies that are still not available on DVD, some that were not even available on VHS.

If one company has taken it upon themselves to preserve the written word by scanning in these books, great. If they want to charge a nominal fee to make it available, that fine, as long as they make it available. I have recently become a fan of 30's and 40's pulp fiction. Much of this will likely not be reprinted, but still falls under copyright. If Google has a lot of it scanned and preserved and wants to sell me some, great, I'll buy, because I'd rather have them control it than lose it.

OH NOES! (5, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400353)

"the settlement will ruin a functioning copyright system"

I suppose he's implying the current copyright system will be unaffected, right?

Right?

Re:OH NOES! (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403409)

I suppose he's implying the current copyright system will be unaffected, right?

Dude... funniest thing I've read all week. Thanks!

Suspicious (3, Interesting)

Andr T. (1006215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400419)

Ok, I think the guy from WSJ has some kind of a point, but...

We already have a good system. It's called the system of private property and free contract, designed for dispersed, autonomous individuals -- not command-and-control centers.

I don't know the situation in the US, but in Brazil we have 2 or 3 publishers that hold 95% of the market. That doesn't seem to me much different from 'comand and control centers'.

Re:Suspicious (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400825)

I'm WildlyGuessing* that it's only 8-10 publishers holding 75% of the market here in the US, which really isn't all that much better either.

But more importantly is the essay on this page - Baen Free Library - which talks about the limits of a 1-man op and volunteers. But if Google is doing it, and they can get Pros, that might open collaborations.

http://www.baen.com/library/ [baen.com]

*Wild Guesses get to be semi-right, but are exempt from CitationPlease snarks.

Re:Suspicious (1)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401297)

I'd be surprised if it's as high as 8-10. Simon & Schuster, Random House, Penguin Putnam, HarperCollins, and Holtzbrinck seem to have the market pretty well cornered between the five of them.

Re:Suspicious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27403957)

I made my WildGuess conservative, to leave room for a couple Second Tier ones.

--TaoP.

Re:Suspicious (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403455)

But more importantly is the essay on this page - Baen Free Library - which talks about the limits of a 1-man op and volunteers.

A one-company operation. Baen isn't some one-man, fly-by-night show. They're a serious publisher you'll find on the shelves of every Barnes and Noble, Borders, etc. It looks like Del Rey is working on their own version of Baen's Webscriptions system, and may follow suit with the Free Library idea as well... because it increases sales, both dead-tree and electronic!

Re:Suspicious (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401487)

Like a lot of op-eds in the WSJ, I think the author is missing a lot of things.

She argues that getting people to find and assert the copyrights on the works Google is scanning is too burdensome, turning everyone into data-entry slaves for Google. But this is the exact problem Google is facing - the copyright status of so much stuff it wants to scan is unknown. Now, who is in a better position to determine whether work X is copyrighted and who owns the copyright, Google, or the individual owner of that work?

And to fix the issue of making people data-entry slaves, it would be good if all the copyright status information that Google acquired was put into a publicly-accessible database. This is one of the things that James Grimmelmann suggests in an article called "How to Fix the Google Book Search Settlement." [bepress.com] (PDF warning, also may be out of date)

Also, we do have "command-and-control" centers for copyright, e.g., the Copyright Clearance Center [wikipedia.org] , the whole point of which was to consolidate the footwork of determining all the rights for people wanting to make course packets, etc.

Think of the poor publishers! (4, Funny)

8tim8 (623968) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400435)

>Should publishers get a cut of the money, at least as long as their book is being scanned?

Definitely. Especially if the book has been out of print for decades and the publisher has no plans, and no interest, in every publishing fresh copies. We need to keep the revenue going to the people it's always gone to!

Re:Think of the poor publishers! (1)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400935)

Publishes are like newspaper. They're a dying breed, but that doesn't mean they don't perform a valuable service. Currently, when a publisher decides to green-light a book it typically comes with an assurance to readers that a large upfront cost will be expended to produce a professional product. That is to say, publishing houses are one measure that helps ensure quality.

Qualitatively, if Google can manage to figure out a way to assure quality without traditional publishers then they'll do well and force the traditional publishing houses to adopt or die. If Google, as it typically has done, merely rides on the coattails of industry or gives users a free-for-all to publish whatever they want (throwing shit against the wall to see what sticks), then I'd think Google isn't going to enjoy much success.

Caveat emptor - I say this as a (currently commercially unsuccessful) author who has a product uploaded to GoogleBooks and is planning on print-on-demand through Amazon in the upcoming months.

Re:Think of the poor publishers! (1)

jessica_alba (1234100) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401363)

I think the "throwing shit against the wall to see what sticks" method would be awesome, provided they let you read the first 20 or so pages. With a good user rating system I really see no need for publishers.

Re:Think of the poor publishers! (1)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401849)

jessica_alba,

Wouldn't you be pissed if all an author had to do was write 20 good pages and then sold you a shitty e-book copy of the rest of their book for $5? You'd slam their ratings and leave negative feedback so the next person doesn't fall for the same trap... but the damage would have been done.

Similarly, a really good author can be pushed into obscurity if he gets slammed by a couple of reviews and ratings from people who have personal vendettas (for whatever reason) against him.

Maybe these are extreme examples, but the point is that when their are 500 thousand other things to read, it's hard for talented, yet obscure authors to get noticed. I'm not gonna try to argue that traditional publishers are there to support these individuals because I think there are a LOT of disadvantages for authors to deal with publishers, but as a reader I'd rather reserve my limited funds for author's who have a lot of buzz around them... and this is typically easier to get from the major publishing houses then from guys "throwing shit against the wall".

Re:Think of the poor publishers! (2, Insightful)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401429)

If Google is just providing the text, that's one thing. But if they're providing an exact page image, than they should be paying the publisher for their graphic design and page layout work.

Re:Think of the poor publishers! (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404953)

>Should publishers get a cut of the money, at least as long as their book is being scanned?

Definitely. Especially if the book has been out of print for decades and the publisher has no plans, and no interest, in every publishing fresh copies. We need to keep the revenue going to the people it's always gone to!

Actually, most publishers have a term in their contracts with their authors that allows the rights to revert to the author if the book is out of print for some period of time, usually about 5 years, so the original author can republish with a different publisher who is interested.

Of course, the availability of cheap-to-distribute ebooks and print-on-demand systems is starting to screw this system up, but traditionally this hasn't been a problem.

The Answers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27400437)

* Do we want only one company (e.g. Google) controlling access to information?
        No.
* Should publishers get a cut of the money, at least as long as their book is being scanned?
      Hell no. All they should do is going to the aforementioned place.
* Will broader access to trade journals affect their relationship and reliance on libraries?
      Definitely. What's the raison d'être of a library when even the cheap HD of my home computer can store more books than any library ever?
* If, in the future, more authors opt out of the traditional publishing model, when will this hit the 'recession-proof' book industry?
        You bet. They had it coming.
* And has the publishing industry learned any lessons from MP3s?
        Is this a joke?

Google is giving half a million ebooks to Sony (1)

CoffeePlease (596791) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400485)

I am not worried about Google controlling all these ebooks since they seem to be giving them away - at least the out-of-copyright ones. See these articles for examples. I'm not sure how they will deal with spreading around IN-copyright books. Google gives away half a million books to Sony eBook Storeâ¦. challenge to Amazon?? [technews.am] Academic libraries pave a new path away from Google [betanews.com]

Good news for Skynet (1)

stevedmc (1065590) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400541)

Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug.

can't read ebook without batteries (1)

jkinney3 (535278) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400747)

Maybe it's just me, but the tech level required to read a book online is pretty high. Add to that the power consumption.

And the paranoia of knowing the ebook I read today can be changed tomorrow to reflect a different view.

Online books are a great resource but the paper and ink industry must continue at any cost. Scholarly journal publishers will have to seriously rethink their business model. Online out of print books is a tremendous service to the public. Out of print books almost should be required to be online-capable status. But then multiple printings of a book is a clear sign of readership.

Dover publications has for decades been a staple on my bookshelves as they provide an affordable version of many technical books in multiple fields.

I do have concerns with a single entity having control of the gateway to an ever growing body of human knowledge. "Do no evil" is very much not the same as "do good" or "do no harm".

Re:can't read ebook without batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27402821)

Can't read books without paper. Quality paper is not something you can make in your basement.

Paper books can also be edited on the sly. If people care, they can make an md5sum of their work and include it with their copyright registration or something.

Google is unlikely to ever have a monopoly on the body of human knowledge. If not governments, the warez scene will thwart them.

Re:can't read ebook without batteries (1)

jetxee (940811) | more than 5 years ago | (#27402975)

Maybe it's just me, but the tech level required to read a book online is pretty high.

It's a matter of distribution of e-books being mostly illegal in the western world. When the means of distribution is not effectively suppressed, it is used by almost everybody. See, for example, http://lib.rus.ec/ [lib.rus.ec] (Russian e-books' site).

Add to that the power consumption.

You need some light to read a paper book too.

But given the typical price of a paper book $15, you can consume as much as 150 kWh if you don't buy it. That's a lot of energy. It's enough to keep the laptop on for 100 days. I believe much longer with an e-Ink device. And all these money now is wasted on ineffective legacy distribution network. Eventually, these $15 will be consumed as energy or resources, emitted as CO2 and contribute to toxic land-dump in third-world countries, with an effect probably multiple of what you, personally, can do with 150 kWh (see Multiplier effect [wikipedia.org] )

And the paranoia of knowing the ebook I read today can be changed tomorrow to reflect a different view.

That's why you should download it and keep forever. Forget online readers and DRM schemes, that let you see a page, but don't let you have a _copy_. Hard drives are cheap.

Respectful publishers will sign their e-books.

If you're big enough, YOU get to make the rules? (4, Insightful)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400785)

Should publishers get a cut of the money, at least as long as their book is being scanned?

Hell yes. How would anything else not be piracy? In fact, maybe skip the publishers but ensure the authors get a cut -- since when is author royalties are an "opt in" thing?

I don't get how Google can get away with what seems to be large-scale professional copyright infringement (and please don't say it's because it's large scale and professional).

Re:If you're big enough, YOU get to make the rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27401011)

Hell yes. How would anything else not be piracy? In fact, maybe skip the publishers but ensure the authors get a cut -- since when is author royalties are an "opt in" thing?

I don't get how Google can get away with what seems to be large-scale professional copyright infringement (and please don't say it's because it's large scale and professional).

I believe they are opting in to having their books published. if they allow that then they getthe royalty money.

Re:If you're big enough, YOU get to make the rules (1)

Late Adopter (1492849) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401049)

How would anything else not be piracy?

When it's the settlement of a class-action lawsuit. Members of a class traditionally have to opt-out.

Re:If you're big enough, YOU get to make the rules (1)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401647)

A casual survey of the books on my desk:

  • Copyright 1994 Addison-Wesley company
  • Copyright 1994, 1985 Addison-Wesley company
  • Copyright 2008 Pearson Education, Inc
  • Copyright 1995-2005 Tobias Oetiker and Contributers
  • Copyright 2005 SWsoft, Inc
  • Copyright 2000 NEC America, Inc

Looks to me like the standard practice is to transfer ownership of the IP to the publisher in exchange for a percentage of any future profits. Once the creator of the work does that, they no longer own the work and cannot sell it again to someone else.

There are probably exception clauses in some contracts, which may allow the author to reacquire the ownership of the work if the publisher no longer wishes to publish it.

TLDR: The author doesn't own the book, the publisher who bought the book does.

Re:If you're big enough, YOU get to make the rules (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404363)

I'd say that you probably have a bunch of technical books, and technical book deals very often assign the copyright to the publisher.

Beginning authors are likely to have to assign copyright to the publisher as well, unless they have an agent and a really hot property. Stephen King might have had to assign the copyright for Carrie (his first book).

I'd bet anything that for Cell (a recent Stephen King book) he did not have to assign copyright, wasn't asked and it just never, ever came up.

Re:If you're big enough, YOU get to make the rules (1)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405237)

You are correct. I do have a lot of technical books on my desk. This week, most of them happen to be LaTeX references.

The point I was trying to make: the author is not always the copyright holder. The copyright holder is the one that can assign rights under a scheme like this, not the work creator.

If I'm going for recreational reading, I'll go to a bookstore - book shopping is part of the relaxation.

I'm more likely to buy a technical book in electronic form, because "I need it now" and none of the local bookstores carry it.

I'm not likely to buy anything tied specifically to a device like a Kindle or a Sony Reader - Give me a PDF that I can put on whatever device I want. (Kindle and Reader are both too big for me - if it doesn't fit in my pocket comfortably, I won't use it.)

Back when I still carried a PDA, I had a good sized collection of text files of books which I would read during downtimes like bus commutes. I may load some of those onto my Rockbox player, as it is (almost) always with me, can handle flat text files pretty well, and reading may be more useful than playing solitaire or jewels.

No way I'm giving up my Tom Swift, Jr. collection.

Note to designers: Please stop implementing the limitations of a previous technology as "features" in a new technology. I really have no desire to see a slow animation of a page turning nor have a little "thwick" sound as the "page" "turns". Just show the next set of information.

Re:If you're big enough, YOU get to make the rules (2, Informative)

swillden (191260) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403661)

In fact, maybe skip the publishers but ensure the authors get a cut -- since when is author royalties are an "opt in" thing?

As I understand it, that's exactly how it works. Authors get royalties for books read by subscribers of the "Google Reader" program. Google will also provide links to Amazon, etc., for those who want to easily buy printed copies of in-print books. Authors do have to opt in to collect the money, because Google isn't going to try to figure out where to send the checks.

Also, keep in mind that Google will not publish in-print books at all unless the author opts in. It's only out-of-print books where the system is opt-out. For those, authors have three choices -- do nothing, in which case their book is available and they get nothing, register, in which case their book is available and they get royalties, or opt out, in which case their book is unavailable and they get nothing.

Honestly, how many authors of out-of-print books do you think will opt out? The ONLY case where it would make sense to opt out is if the author is currently working with a publisher to put the book in print again. And if that's the case, then what's the big deal about going to Google and opting out? The publisher will do it for you -- unless, as I expect, it turns out that opting in is good for in-print books also.

Baen's Free Library experiment has shown that giving electronic copies away for free boosts sales. I think in the short term authors and publishers all over are going to discover the same thing, and eventually most in-print authors will opt in.

Re:If you're big enough, YOU get to make the rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27403977)

It's not piracy because we are talking about material that is public domain. That means the copyright has ran out on the works that google is currently scanning.

The purpose of copyright is two-fold. First to allow authors to profit from their work, and second to encourage creation of more works. If copyright protections were permanent, people capable of producing great works would produce fewer because they could keep claiming royalties on what they had already done forever. So authors are given exclusive control over their works for a period of time to let them make a profit, then that protection ends. And with the recent change in US copyright law to extend copyright to 75 years after the death of the author, google won't be able to scan newer works for a long time unless they make deals with the publishers (and authors, assuming they didn't sign all their rights over to the publisher, but that's another argument...).

Re:If you're big enough, YOU get to make the rules (1)

j-beda (85386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404447)

"The purpose of copyright is two-fold. First to allow authors to profit from their work, and second to encourage creation of more works."

Actually the purpose is "one-fold": to encourage creation of more work. The METHOD is by helping authors to profit from their work.

Bad Summary (2, Insightful)

secretcurse (1266724) | more than 5 years ago | (#27400991)

I know, I know, everyone always bitches about a bad summary, but this one's really bad. The linked article doesn't really claim that authors have a "functioning copyright system." The article argues that authors won't get a good deal if they give up their individual contract negotiation rights for a one-size-fits-all Google deal. Anyone who thinks (here in America anyway) we have a "functioning system of copyright" hasn't been paying too much attention for the last several years...

Google's monopoly (3, Insightful)

Netssansfrontieres (214626) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401041)

While Google is protesting Microsoft's de facto monopoly of desktop client software, it is working hard to create a de jure and de facto monopoly for itself in an important area of content. In the proposed settlement, Google is the ONLY legal site for ALL [in copyright but out of print] printed content.

How is this a good thing?

Apologies for the cowardly anonymity, not my normal style, but there's plenty to worry about here.

Re:Google's monopoly (2, Funny)

keriaan (212578) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401827)

No need to apologise, we understand, if Google ever found out your Slashdot ID there'd be serious consequences...

Re:Google's monopoly (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 5 years ago | (#27405289)

I wonder about this every time I see the recurring "Haha, well, let's see what they do when Google stops indexing them!" sentiment on Slashdot, every time some company or individual starts bickering with Google. If that's not textbook monopoly abuse, then I do not know what is.

Granted, I do not recall Google actually ever doing that sort of thing - and kudos to them for it! - but why many /. readers think it would be totally okay for them to do that, is beyond me.

Public Domain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27401043)

These books are all in the public domain, right? What's the big deal? If the authors get any money at all its a bonus to them. This is completely a win/win scenario. The other options being that the books don't get published at all or that a publisher actually uses the copyright laws like they were meant makes copies of these public domain books without giving a cent to the author.

Books will be digitized without Google? Maybe... (4, Informative)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401627)

The aging baby boomers now flacking the settlement don't seem to understand that PDF scanning (how Google and everyone else digitizes books) isn't rocket science; it's cheap and easy. Books will be digitized without Google.

Actually, from what I've read, scanning books on any large scale is not cheap or easy. It's a fairly expensive undertaking, involving more specialized equipment than your desktop flatbed scanner, and involves moving lots of books around, in and out of large libraries. It's not an undertaking for the faint of heart. Microsoft tried, and decided to quit. [msdn.com] Furthermore, the value of having a single large repository is greater than a bunch of fractured repositories that probably won't have a good way of connecting with one another.

Re:Books will be digitized without Google? Maybe.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27401785)

What's comical is that this is done everyday by volunteers (pirates) in irc. Granted, not all books, or the rare old ones, but it happens on a large scale (10000+ scans is average).

500,000 scanned books is impressive.

Re:Books will be digitized without Google? Maybe.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27405727)

I work for a publisher. For the past several years, we've been sending Google our books to scan and in many cases, we have sent them PDF documents. We granted Google permission to show x% of each title for free. Now, it appears that we get to go back and say, "but you can't sell the rest of it either." One more maintenance item that adds to our costs.

I'm confused. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27401809)

I'm still not seeing the cause for concern. The settlement only applies to in copyright, out of print works. If your books are still in print, the settlement doesn't apply to you. What benefit does an author receive from preventing Google from selling these works that were out of print?

What is being imposed? (4, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 5 years ago | (#27401891)

That's the date by which every author and publisher in America is supposed to decide whether to "opt in," "opt out," or simply "ignore" a vast compulsory licensing scheme for the benefit of Google. Most, about 88%, are expected to "ignore." That's because they know their online display rights have value, and the last thing they want is to be herded like sheep into a giant contract commitment.

OK, so it's an option - a new market that the author can choose to participate in, as he or she wishes?

For private gain, the Google parties now seek to destroy the health in the system that individual bargaining preserves.

"Seek to destroy"? It's an option - a new market option.

Disputes will be fixed in arbitration with no access to federal courts which have often shown mercy to authors. Arbitrators will be "you sign it you eat it" line-parsing bureaucrats.

This differs from a contract with binding-arbitration between an author and a traditional publisher how?

If she's arguing that authors should choose to ignore, that seems reasonable. But that last bit sounds like she is claiming there is evil in allowing Google to offer the new business model. Is she an author? Maybe she is a PR person for a traditional publisher? Do I just not get it, and there actually is some new impediment inflicted upon the author here? Or is this article fishy?

Scathing Rebuttal to the NYT article (2, Insightful)

cjewel (760689) | more than 5 years ago | (#27402339)

Literary Agent Janet Reid has a rather scathing rebuttal [blogspot.com] to Chu's article which Reid (who has actually read the settlement, something Chu did not do) feels is spectacularly uninformed and incorrect. I tend to agree with Reid. (FYI, I am an author whose in copyright books were scanned by Google. I am a member of the class.)

Re:Scathing Rebuttal to the NYT article (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 5 years ago | (#27406113)

Literary Agent Janet Reid has a rather scathing rebuttal to Chu's article which Reid (who has actually read the settlement, something Chu did not do) feels is spectacularly uninformed and incorrect. I tend to agree with Reid. (FYI, I am an author whose in copyright books were scanned by Google. I am a member of the class.)

I tend to side with Charlie Petit [scrivenerserror.com] on this one. Petit's a copyright lawyer with years and years of experience representing writers. He knows his shit. And he's right about this one: the class in this supposed class action is *way* too broad, and is being represented by *way* too narrow a subset of the appropriate plaintiffs. The class action should never have been certified.

I 3 Google! (1)

Innovative1 (1396647) | more than 5 years ago | (#27402447)

ALL HAIL THE ALMIGHTY GOOGLE! But seriously, if you have ever used the Books app it is a revolutionary way of studying, reading, searching an entire books text. I am all for it.

What About Future Authors? (1)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | more than 5 years ago | (#27402755)

One thing I don't get:

What about people who don't become authors until after the opt-out deadline? Suppose five years from now, I decide to write a first book. Will I be forced abide by Google's terms if I don't opt-out now? How about authors thirty years from now who haven't even been born yet?

I think what irks me most about this settlement is the arrogance of the Author's Guild in presuming to represent all authors that ever have or ever will exist.

fuck Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27403407)

And, more specifically, fuck Google getting rich off my work without my permission. Why the hell should they be able to sell my work to fund another executive jet unless I specifically ask them not to? I have published a few mathematics text books, most of which I have endeavoured to publish as cheaply as possible (consistent with good paper/binding quality), and I receive only a trickle of payment. I'm happy to mail PDF copies to anyone who asks - hell, they are all over the P2P networks and I couldn't give a damn.

I propose being able to use all of Google's intellectual property unless Brin and Page fill out a form which requires uploading of a video of their dancing I Want To Break Free in that drag they wear so well. Sound arbitrary? I couldn't give a fuck. Hey, Google, where is the theory behind your search algorithms that you spent half a decade promising to the world, thus temporarily earning the respect of the geeks that made you so popular? Oh, that's right, you just want everyone else's "information to be free". Hypocritical bastards.

On a plus note, the short sighted repair work Western governments are doing to their broken economies might mean that the Internet itself lose its status as ubiquitous commodity in the next two or three decades. Look on our works, ye Mighty, and despair!

The fare more reaching impacts!!! RESEARCH (1)

RaigetheFury (1000827) | more than 5 years ago | (#27403525)

My wife is a associate of research at Duke... a nobody in the grand scheme of academia but even she has had trouble accessing her OWN research because of how certain magazines publish their material.

Now... imagine that Google provides this in a cost matrix. Not only does it make it FAR easier to find research you need, but a whole new science appears that was all but impossible because of the fragmented way things are done.

Some of you might be "welcome our new overlords" but when you really look at it from a technical standpoint this far outweighs anything else I've seen. Additionally most projects involving federal grants are now required to use publishers who allow free access to the research for those involved. This is exactly this.

Of course publishers are scared to death. I mean... here are just a few reasons...

1) Able to quickly find research, books, magazine articles etc
2) You do not have to follow retardedly complexe guidelines to get your paper published (All of you researchers and faculty know what I mean).
3) You can begin to evaluate trends in research data... imagine being able to correlate hundreds of published works about a specific subject and generating data... on the fly. Yeah that's going to become possible
4) Imagine being able to type in an author and see a full list of their works without having to figure out which publishers they've published at and purchase accounts to view it.

This concept removes a system of control... not a working copyright system. It removes the profiteering publishers who are much like the RIAA of today than an actual helpful organization.

Profits begin to return to those who do the work but more importantly information that should be free returns to it.

Problem for publishers, the real owners (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27403979)

Likely the authors don't even have rights to the books they wrote, but the publishers do.

Imagine if you will, a publisher with 50,000 books that may or may not be in Google's database. That's a lot of searching and clicking "no" for one company. They'll have to hire a bunch of people just for that.

If authors really do still own the rights to their work, each finding the 5-20 books they wrote should not take more than an afternoon.

Printing scanned books? (1)

bgspence (155914) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404035)

Thats about as good as selling Kramer's videos of movies.

April 2 Teleseminar on Google Book Settlement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27404755)

For anyone who wants more information on the nuts and bolts of the settlement agreement, I'm offering a complimentary teleseminar, "What the Google Book Settlement Means to Authors and Publishers", this Thursday, April 2, 2009, at 3:00 p.m. ET. /12:00 p.m. PT. For more details and to register, visit http://www.joybutler.com/seminarinfo.htm [joybutler.com]

- Joy Butler, Attorney and Author of The Permission Seeker's Guide Through the Legal Jungle

63% for the authors is a pretty good deal (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 5 years ago | (#27404757)

Some book publishing companies pay about 1$ per copy sold to the author, so 63% is excellent!
This should scare publishers to the death because it basically stops them to screw over the authors in the long run...
I am all for it!

FroSt Pist (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27405465)

own age8da - give that support Percent of the *BSD From now on or

If the WSJ editorial page is agin' it... (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 5 years ago | (#27407541)

... I'm for it. Those idiots at the Journal never get anything right. Go GOOG!

Information Monopoly? (1)

Makido (966607) | more than 5 years ago | (#27409001)

>>Do we want only one company (e.g. Google) controlling access to information? If only there were places we could go where all the information was virtually free! These places, they could be in almost every town and America. People could take the information home - for easy access - then bring it back when they were done with it. Then maybe we could keep evil, monopolizing tyrants like Google from hoarding all our precious and rare information; public domain or no!
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