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Google To Remove "Inappropriate" Books From Digital Library

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the limited-resources dept.

Books 192

Miracle Jones writes "In an interview with Professor (and former Microsoft employee) James Grimmelmann at the New York Law School, who is both setting up an online clearinghouse to discuss the Google book settlement and drafting an amicus brief to inform the court about the antitrust factors surrounding "orphan books," he revealed that Google will be able to moderate the content of its book scans in the same way that they moderate their YouTube videos, leaving out works that Google deems "inappropriate" from the 7 million library books it has scanned. The Fiction Circus has called for a two-year long rights auction that will ensure that these "inappropriate" titles do not get left behind in the digital era, and that other people who are willing to host and display these books will be able to do so. There is only one week left for authors and publishers to "opt out" of the settlement class and retain their rights or raise objections, and Brewster Kahle's Internet Archive has been stopped from jumping on board Google's settlement as a party defendant and receiving the same legal protections that Google will get. A group of authors, including Philip K. Dick's estate, has tried to delay the settlement for four more months until they get their minds around the issue." In related news, Google is seeking a 60-day extension to the period in which it's attempting to contact authors to inform them of their right to opt-out of the terms of the settlement.

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You Would Think... (4, Interesting)

mlingojones (919531) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747331)

...that Google might have learned something from the massive backlash against Amazon for supposedly doing something similar?

I suppose we'll have to wait and see what gets flagged as "inappropriate." Whatever the case, I'm guessing that people won't care nearly as much as t hey did with Amazon.

Re:You Would Think... (4, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747567)

suppose we'll have to wait and see what gets flagged as "inappropriate."

Two words: Ann Coulter.

Re:You Would Think... (5, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747847)

She will be remembered as one of the great humorists of our time.

Re:You Would Think... (1)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27749035)

How about crazy psychotic nutbar?

Re:You Would Think... (2)

HiThere (15173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748679)

I don't know about others, but to me this make a joke out of Google's company motto.

Still, it's probably best that we are warned at this early stage of the process. (It should have been obvious, but there's always a tendency to forget.)

WARNING: Single points of failure are dangerous!!

Re:You Would Think... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27748899)

Probably any book critical of Israel will be termed "inappropriate" and banned.

Burn 'em! (3, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747345)

Question: how do you burn a digital book?

Re:Burn 'em! (4, Funny)

rlp (11898) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747437)

Question: how do you burn a digital book?

Depends on whether you are making a CD or DVD ...

Re:Burn 'em! (1)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747577)

rm?

Re:Burn 'em! (2, Funny)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747635)

Put in on a laptop with one of those flaky batterries in them.

Re:Burn 'em! (4, Interesting)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747725)

You create multiple amazon accounts and register several "complaints" from "offended users", and magically the book will vanish from the site as if it had never existed. All the extremism of traditional book burnings without the inconvenience of gasoline fumes!

Re:Burn 'em! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27748247)

Yes! Environmentally friendly censorship!

Re:Burn 'em! (1)

getclear (1338437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748539)

And with their Meta-Mod points and their multiple \. accounts, they will mod your topic out of the current viewable threshold for normal people, negating your right to comment!

Re:Burn 'em! (5, Interesting)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748555)

You create multiple amazon accounts and register several "complaints" from "offended users", and magically the book will vanish from the site as if it had never existed.

I'm not sure it's actually that easy to create sockpuppet accounts on amazon. I know for sure that they will not allow you to post a review until you make at least one purchase, which means you've not only had to spend some money, but presumably also had to supply them with a credit card that correlated with your real-world identity. Also, IIRC amazon backed off on the censorship thing, claiming it was all a mistake.

Re:Burn 'em! (0)

Inda (580031) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748359)

Question: how do you burn a digital book?

With an electric fire!

That's got to be worth a +1 something for effort. No?

Re:Burn 'em! (0)

MadnessASAP (1052274) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748791)

Apparently not...

And let that be a lesson to you.

Re:Burn 'em! (1)

meerling (1487879) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748531)

Throw it into the Firewall.

Re:Burn 'em! (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748755)

Question: how do you burn a digital book?

Well, Jörg Schilling is pretty unhappy with people whom use Debian's wodim / cdrkit fork of his packages after his license change...

http://cdrecord.berlios.de/private/linux-dist.html#violations [berlios.de]

Censorship (3, Insightful)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747347)

Is inappropriate. Don't be evil Google.

Re:Censorship (4, Insightful)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747503)

Exactly. NOTHING is inappropriate!

Google needs to stop censoring books and youtube.

They dont sensor their image search results... YET. I know they have their moderate filter on by default and perhaps that is how they should approach books and youtube videos as well but at the end of the day, citizens of the United States and the world should not be censored by Google. It should be left up to the user.

so called "offensive" material is 1 click away from EVERYTHING. As it should be.

Re:Censorship (1)

Gruff1002 (717818) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748301)

Censoring books goes against all aspects of a free nation. If you don't like it don't read or look at it, but don't tell me what I can't read or look at. It's just an inalienable right of all free people. If you don't like it move to China etc.

Re:Censorship (4, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748567)

It's not censorship unless it's banned by the government. That's like saying your local grocery store is censoring because they choose not to carry porn, or that best buy is censoring because they don't stock certain movies. As a corporation they have the right to host whatever content they feel like. And reject whichever content they don't want.

Re:Censorship (1)

WgT2 (591074) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748945)

FINALLY, a voice of reason.

Re:Censorship (4, Interesting)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748955)

It's not censorship unless it's banned by the government.

Wrong. [google.com]

Any suppression of publication is censorship. (Your examples of stores choosing what to carry is a red herring; they're distributors, not publishers.) And in fact it happens all the time, and we accept it as a fact of life. The question is, when should censorship be disallowed? In the US we've taken the line that censorship by the government is generally wrong and that corporate censorship is generally okay. But as corporations get more powerful -- as their effect on the lives of the average citizen becomes less and less distinguishable from the effect of government -- we may have to revise that view.

Re:Censorship (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27747665)

google likes teh HTTP.

Google is a business, not the end-all (2, Interesting)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748147)

Not hosting those books is not "Censorship", it's simply not hosting books they deem inappropriate (which is their right to do). If you have a website or a business with a website, then you have the right to NOT link to sites or articles which you completely disagree with or find inappropriate. If Google went around banning those books from every library, bookstore, and online bookstore -- then it would be censorship. They're not a government institution, and they're not a monopoly. Let them do whatever the hell they want.

Re:Google is a business, not the end-all (4, Insightful)

roguetrick (1147853) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748277)

Due to this court decision, they are a monopoly in this particular case. That would be the problem.

Re:Google is a business, not the end-all (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748785)

Not only are they a monopoly, within the year they are revealing themselves as an abusive monopoly.

Monopolies are inherently dangerous. Sometimes they are, perhaps, necessary...though one should always try to avoid them. But abusive monopolies should be immediately destroyed.

Re:Google is a business, not the end-all (3, Informative)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748291)

If Google went around banning those books from every library, bookstore, and online bookstore -- then it would be censorship.

Google will maintain rights to the books it deems inappropriate even though they are not hosting them.

Re:Censorship (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27748877)

IDIOT. THIS IS NOT CENSORSHIP. how fucking hard it is for you morons to know what censorship is?

Can I still reserve inappropriatecontent.com? (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747363)

Apparently it's already been squatted.

mental fllexibility (4, Funny)

beanyk (230597) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747371)

A group of authors, including Philip K. Dick's estate, has tried to delay the settlement for four more months until they get their minds around the issue.

I'd have thought that anyone related to Philip K. Dick would be able to wrap their mind around -anything-.

Re:mental fllexibility (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747611)

They've obviously got some sort of delusions if they presented themselves as an author. Did Dick's work turn them into an ersatz consciousness to carry on his work or something?

Out of curiousity ... (4, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747405)

was Farenheit 451 on the list of "inappropriate" books?

The letter 'P' (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27747501)

Today, Taco learns the letter P:

P is for penis, that's good enough for me!
P is for penis, that's good enough for me!
P is for penis, that's good enough for me! Yeah!
Penis, penis, penis starts with P!

I wonder what that will be? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747459)

Given that much of this stuff will be older, and given the general relaxation of a number of social mores over time, I'd be interested to know what "inappropriate" will mean.

All but the freakiest historical porn is more or less newstand ready(though, as in pre-code Hollywood, the past is not always so prudish as supposed). On the other hand, the sort of stuff that qualified as a refined academic treatise upon the qualities and character of the negroid races would probably raise eyebrows anywhere outside of a Klan meeting these days.

Re:I wonder what that will be? (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747985)

Try the works of the Marquis de Sade ... ... or some ancient love poetry that is very explicit ...

Re:I wonder what that will be? (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748153)

given the general relaxation of a number of social mores over time

compared to the 50s, sure, but it's really just cyclical. For a while, the fashion among nobility in europe was to let your junk hang loose while going about your business.

What kind of books are inappropriate? (4, Funny)

JTsyo (1338447) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747475)

How to Prepare Children for Witches
Designing a Meth Lab
The Demise of America under Corporations

Re:What kind of books are inappropriate? (3, Funny)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747683)

If it's based on slashdot users, it includes:

Anything that disproves global warming.
Anything critical against Barok Obama.
Anything about programming perl.

Re:What kind of books are inappropriate? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27747793)

What makes you think those users would approve of book banning? I think a debate on whether global warming exists or not is not a particularly useful one - that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be allowed to write or read books.

I support him, but I'm still critical of Barack Obama's policies on wiretapping & I disagree with him on a lot of privacy issues & people he's appointed. Why would I want to ban books? If anything a good book at the end of his presidency describing everything that went on in a critical manner would be very interesting to read. That doesn't mean I think any discussion that starts of "OMG he's leading us into fascism" or "OMG he raised taxes a bit - socialism" is particularly useful. Any books from those people wouldn't be interesting to me either - that doesn't mean they don't have the right to write them.

Now perl programming is inappropriate & should be banned.

Re:What kind of books are inappropriate? (3, Funny)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747803)

Anything about programming perl.

It doesn't matter anyway - there's no point in trying to index line noise.

Re:What kind of books are inappropriate? (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747817)

If it's based on slashdot users, it includes:

Anything that disproves global warming. Anything critical against Barok Obama. Anything about programming perl.

So... factually incorrect, right-wing propaganda and soul destroying. (in that order) Sounds reasonable to me.

Re:What kind of books are inappropriate? (3, Funny)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748395)

1) Robust scientific debate

2) Being distrustful of any politician

3) Destroying souls (spot on)

Fixed that for ya

Re:What kind of books are inappropriate? (1)

pleappleappleap (1182301) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748433)

If it's based on slashdot users, it includes:

Anything that disproves global warming. Anything critical against Barok Obama. Anything about programming perl.

So... factually incorrect, right-wing propaganda and soul destroying. (in that order) Sounds reasonable to me.

It doesn't sound unreasonable to me. Anytime ANY work is censored, WE ALL LOSE. Lose, as in, lose our freedom of expression .

Re:What kind of books are inappropriate? (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748901)

*whoosh*

Re:What kind of books are inappropriate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27748775)

...
Anything critical against Barok Obama...

Dude, it's Barrack.

How can a third pary lawsuit change my rights? (5, Interesting)

N7DR (536428) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747515)

What I don't understand, as an author who holds copyright in at least one book that is out of print, is: how can a lawsuit to which I am not a party give *my* rights under copyright law to someone else?

That seems to be fundamentally wrong.

Tangentially, I find it somewhere between interesting and amusing (or perhaps scary) that Google appears to have made no attempt to contact me, despite the fact that I'm hardly the most difficult person to find.

Even more tangentially, there doesn't seem to be any place to go to see if google has actually digitized a book in which I have rights. Someone please correct me if there's a way to do that. (But in any case, why should I be the one who has to go and see if they've infringed rights? They are the ones who are supposed to seek permission from me.)

Frankly, this whole "settlement" seems utterly unconscionable.

Re:How can a third pary lawsuit change my rights? (2, Interesting)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747809)

Funny thing about class action... are you sure you aren't a party to the lawsuit?

Re:How can a third pary lawsuit change my rights? (2, Interesting)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747975)

You know, I thought that when I replied to the OP too, but in, say, a class action suit brought against a company in which I own stock, I get a letter saying I need to opt in (essentially) to be a part of the settlement, if any. If I'm automatically part of the class why is that bit of communication necessary?

Re:How can a third pary lawsuit change my rights? (4, Informative)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748517)

How Class Action Lawsuits Work [web-access.net]

Specificly:

The court directs that notice be given to all parties having a similar claim for the duration of a particular time period. They are to be notified (generally by the defendents' attorneys) so that they may be informed and have input into the case. This is where all parties, including the person or persons who bring the claim, are treated equally. This means that all class members are supposed to have equal input, rights to any monies, remedies ordered by the court, and so forth.

There are often several notices mailed to class members over the course of the case. The first notice is to accomplish the above - plus the added purpose of giving a person the option to "opt-out" (not be a party in the case) and not be represented by the party who established this case and is issuing the notice.

If a party "opts out," they have no further standing in the case. They can forget the matter or bring an action on their own behalf.
Neither option gives them right to any damages won in the original case.

If a party does NOT "opt-out," they are generally deemed to be a party to the case, are bound by the settlement, and prohibited in taking any further action on the matter.

If you don't get notice and have no idea of what is going on ... too bad! The court normally is required to direct that the "best notice practical under the circumstances " be given (normally mail, sometimes publication). Again, if you don't receive or find the notice and the "opt-out" date passes ... again, too bad!

At this point, you're "in" and bound by the courts decision. The case proceeds, sometimes for years. If you never received notice, you'll more than likely never know about any monies or other remedies to which you may be entitled.

Re:How can a third pary lawsuit change my rights? (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748655)

Well, I'm not familiar with your particular examples of cuorse, but in general it's like this:

A class is defined, and if you conform to the definition, then you are by default part of the class. This means that once a settlement is reached, you cannot raise a separate action, and you are bound by any terms of the settlement that would impact your rights.

HOWEVER, if the settlement includes compensation for the class members, then receiving such compensation is usually opt-in. By default you get nothing, because someone is appointed to manage the settlement fund and to get anything you must make yourself known to that party.

So if you match the definition of a class, then by default you get screwed coming and going. Coincidentally, behavioral economics tells us there's a strong tendency to accept the default when presented with options that are (or are perceived to be) complicated.

Re:How can a third pary lawsuit change my rights? (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747839)

Given the Cnet link in the summary, I'd say if you haven't heard from Google then maybe they haven't gotten around to you yet.

As for your other points, I'd be interested in hearing a legally informed analysis too. My guess is that it's due to being a class action suit and how the "class" is defined, but I'm really not very well versed in all that.

Blame the author's Guild, not google (2, Interesting)

boombaard (1001577) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748067)

Google isn't contacting you because you're too small fry.
Anyway, what I don't get is what this summary means. Is it talking about "censorship", about porn, or about digital rights management/copyright issues. The summary seems to vacillate between either of those interpretations, and most people here immediately seem to assume "censorship", but I don't really see how they can conclude that with any degree of certainty.
Reading the article (which is pretty badly written) it seems to be about "porn" mostly, but they fail to explain why we are supposed to care, or why the fact that google has a non-exclusive deal with the AG makes the current situation worse. Apparently they're blaming Google for not having competitors, which seems pretty stupid.
Right now those orphaned (and other) books aren't accessible, nor in the PD, and this won't change if Google partially publishes and partially censors them (as they still won't be PD), but apparently if google censors them there will be no other way for us whatever to access those books, which seems something of a stretch. (but hey, sensationalist journalism is great. It's almost as though they've confused GOOG for MSFT, the twits.)
Secondly, the auction house idea seems even more legally untenable than this deal with the AG is.
Lastly, what is the relevance of P.K. Dick's estate to the discussion, other than as a name?

Re:How can a third pary lawsuit change my rights? (1)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748115)

Perhaps you could just get your book labeled as 'inappropriate'. They would then pull it down right?

Re:How can a third pary lawsuit change my rights? (1)

pleappleappleap (1182301) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748473)

No, because Google will continue to maintain rights even on those books they consider inappropriate.

Welcome to Class Action Lawsuits. (4, Interesting)

pavon (30274) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748129)

When a class action lawsuit is approved to go forward, then anyone and everyone defined in that class is bound by the terms of the eventual settlement unless they specifically opt-out in writing. The lawyers bringing the class action suit are supposed to contact the members of the class, but when the class is so large, this often only happens by means of a few postings in trade literature, or some commercials run on TV or the like.

A similar thing happened to my parents. They (foolishly) bought a car on a lease-to-own program, where a certain amount of what you pay in the lease is supposed to apply to the eventual purchase price. Well, in addition to being a bad deal to begin with, the dealership did even not live up to these terms and also played games like applying additional payments toward future interest incurred instead of the principle. They broke their contract and the law in several instances cheating my parents (and all their other customers) out of thousands of dollars each.

Anyway some lawyer decided to bring a class action lawsuit against them for this, and eventually "won". The result - the lawyer got a ton of money, each of the screwed customers got like $50 and the dealership got off for a fraction of what they had cheated their customers out of. The laywer claimed he mailed letters to all the customers affected by this notifying them of the class action (my parents were specifically listed as such a customer as found in discovery), but they don't ever remember getting such a thing. The first they heard about it was when they tried to bring legal action against the dealership and were told they couldn't because they had been part of a class settlement, but they could contact the lawyer and request their share of that settlement if they wished.

Class action lawsuits may have been created with good intention, but the actual outcome is enrich scummy lawyers and to indemnify corporations against lawsuits for cheap.

Re:How can a third pary lawsuit change my rights? (2, Interesting)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748173)

Your rights under copyright law come entirely from the government and legal system: without copyright laws, you would have no such rights at all. So, just as the government can choose to keep granting more and more rights to some favoured parties (the music industry), so it can choose to arbitrarily take copyright rights away from other people (such as you). If you didn't want that to happen, you should have bribed some politicians.

I know it seems unfair, but that seems to be the way it works.

Re:How can a third pary lawsuit change my rights? (0, Flamebait)

wordsnyc (956034) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748347)

What I don't understand, as an author who holds copyright in at least one book that is out of print, is: how can a lawsuit to which I am not a party give *my* rights under copyright law to someone else?

That seems to be fundamentally wrong.

Bingo. The Authors Guild (of which I used to be a member) convinced an idiot judge that they represent your interests. Then they "settled" with Google by taking a huge bribe in return for agreeing to Google creating a huge monopoly on digitized books. It's the American way.

Tangentially, I find it somewhere between interesting and amusing (or perhaps scary) that Google appears to have made no attempt to contact me, despite the fact that I'm hardly the most difficult person to find.

Even more tangentially, there doesn't seem to be any place to go to see if google has actually digitized a book in which I have rights. Someone please correct me if there's a way to do that. (But in any case, why should I be the one who has to go and see if they've infringed rights? They are the ones who are supposed to seek permission from me.)

Frankly, this whole "settlement" seems utterly unconscionable.

Yeah, essentially Google bribed a bunch of spineless quislings and rewrote US Copyright law.

Are your books still in print? If so, you probably won't hear from Google directly because the agreement requires affirmative consent by both the author and publisher of "in print" works. If it's out of print, they will notify you, but then assume consent unless you opt out.

All you can do is go to Google Books and search under your name. If they show anything, they've done your book in toto. They may just show "snippets," but they've scanned the whole thing.

Re:How can a third pary lawsuit change my rights? (1)

chill (34294) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748747)

Yeah, essentially Google bribed a bunch of spineless quislings and rewrote US Copyright law.

How is that different from anytime it happened in the past? At least with Google I can see the angle of "To promote the progress of science and useful arts..." but I'm having a hard time figuring out how a dead person needs "exclusive rights", much less how they can be inspired to continue to create or discover.

Re:How can a third pary lawsuit change my rights? (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748713)

>What I don't understand, as an author who holds copyright in at least one book that is out of print, is: how can a lawsuit to which I am not a party give *my* rights under copyright >law to someone else?

It can't, and it hasn't.

>But in any case, why should I be the one who has to go and see if they've infringed rights?

How would anyone else know whether you, a copyright owner, has granted a license to someone?

Re:How can a third pary lawsuit change my rights? (1)

re_organeyes (1170849) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748721)

Welcome to the Democratic Party? (sorry, I couldn't resist)

You agree unless you take action? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27747539)

I think it is interesting that they have the audacity to assume consent unless someone explicitly tells them no. It seems to me that this is just plain wrong and should be illegal. What a screwed up world we have created...

This FP f0r GNAA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27747587)

become LiKe they

If These People Had Been Around Back in the Day (1, Insightful)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747625)

They'd have chipped the wang off the Statue of David. Let's see, who else do I know that had a policy of making "Inappropriate" works of art disappear? Oh yes... The Taliban.

Re:If These People Had Been Around Back in the Day (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27747669)

No point in singeling out the Taliban. Almost all religions and almost all governments have done this at least once in their history.

Re:If These People Had Been Around Back in the Day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27747769)

They'd have chipped the wang off the Statue of David. Let's see, who else do I know that had a policy of making "Inappropriate" works of art disappear? Oh yes... The Christians.

There fixed that for you.

Re:If These People Had Been Around Back in the Day (2, Informative)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748043)

They'd have chipped the wang off the Statue of David. Let's see, who else do I know that had a policy of making "Inappropriate" works of art disappear? Oh yes... The Christians.

There fixed that for you.

You do know that the statue of David was commissioned to stand in a Cathedral? Right? You know, a place of CHRISTIAN worship.

Re:If These People Had Been Around Back in the Day (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748229)

You do know that the statue of David was commissioned to stand in a Cathedral? Right? You know, a place of CHRISTIAN worship.

The US xtians are way nuttier than the vatican.

Re:If These People Had Been Around Back in the Day (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747907)

I think it's time we update Godwin's law to reflect the new millennium.

Bad business.... (1)

American Terrorist (1494195) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747637)

If no one can find porn on Google Books, they're driving away 90% of their potential customers.

Who determines what is inappropriate? (3, Insightful)

wfstanle (1188751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747677)

So Google wishes to censor books that are deemed to be "inappropriate"? This begs the question... Who gets to determine what is inappropriate? There are many definitions in the world about what is inappropriate and Google is an international company. Who do we ask to sit on the board? I'm sure that anyone who is picked will be objectionable to someone.

Re:Who determines what is inappropriate? (3, Informative)

$1uck (710826) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748203)

Google is a corporation, the shareholders (or their representatives) decide what they find inappropriate. They are free to digitize/offer or not said books. They are not a publically funded library.

Re:Who determines what is inappropriate? (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748829)

They are not a publically funded library.

Thats right, they are a judicially granted legal monopoly where no one else is allowed to compete. Since the judge is preventing a free market from developing, they must be regulated for the public good, but they are unregulated. Hence the turmoil around this issue.

Re:Who determines what is inappropriate? (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748951)

No. They're a governmentally created monopoly.

Author! Author! (4, Insightful)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747713)

A group of authors, including Philip K. Dick's estate

Huh. Which books did Philip K. Dick's estate write?

Re:Author! Author! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27747909)

You are begging for a Soviet Russia joke. The estate didn't write the books, the books 'wrote' the estate....

Um, authors? (4, Insightful)

8tim8 (623968) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747883)

>A group of authors, including Philip K. Dick's estate...

In that single collection of words is everything that's wrong with our copyright system...

Put another way... (2, Insightful)

Pirate_Pettit (1531797) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747919)

Waving the censorship flag is a bit overzealous. IMO google is choosing carefully which books to include in its project. They're neither a library, nor a government - why should they archive every book under the sun? Did any of us expect to be able to find and search every book ever published? It's more a question of merit. Why waste the space on children's origami books, or every edition of "Upgrading and Repairing PCs". However, I would still like to see that list. It would shed some light on the opinions and thought processes of those in charge at google.

Re:Put another way... (2, Informative)

HiThere (15173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748995)

They should be REQUIRED to scan and host every book under they sun because they have been granted the status of a governmentally approved monopoly by the court decision that allows them to scan and host the books if they choose to.

Not censorship (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747955)

It seams to be more about image than censorship, they are allowing other (which is retarded as others should be allowed anyway) to host book they don't want their name associated with. Refusing to stock hardcore porn in a library (preserving the image of the library) is very different from banning hardcore porn anywhere (censorship).

Harlan Ellison (2, Funny)

Tteddo (543485) | more than 5 years ago | (#27747965)

All I really want to know is what Harlan Ellison thinks.
He's a beacon of light in our troubled forest of copyright.

Re:Harlan Ellison (1)

pleappleappleap (1182301) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748529)

Bleh! Bleaah! Bleaaaaaaah!!!

Re:Harlan Ellison (2, Funny)

honestmonkey (819408) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748535)

Screw you, I'm going to sue you. I own the copyright and trademark for "beacon of light in our troubled forest" and you owe me money for even thinking it.

Sincerly,
H. Ellison

This is why class-action is stupid (4, Insightful)

Fortunato_NC (736786) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748091)

So Google commits the most blatant act of copyright infringement in the history of mankind - basically stealing 7 million books and posting them on the Internet (with "limitations", which will be quickly circumvented with some clever Google "mash-up"). Someone steps forward, claims to represent the entire class of authors who has been wronged, accepts a pitiful "settlement" (well, it's pitiful if you are one of 7 million authors who are going to be paid $60 for your hard work, the $30 million cut for the lawyers is pretty impressive), and now the authors have two choices:

1. Accept a really crappy deal.
2. Sue one of the largests corporations on Earth, which can point to the 6.99 million plus other authors who took (or at least, didn't opt out of) the lousy deal and say, "This is what everyone else thought these rights were worth."

Meanwhile, a 12-year old downloads a crappy pop song onto her grandparent's blueberry iMac, and the RIAA gets to extort thousands of dollars out of dear old Grandma.

Why is "Hit Me Baby One More Time" worth so much more than something like "Innovation: The Attacker's Advantage [amazon.com] "? And if it isn't, why can a bunch of lawyers step in for 7 million people and accept a crappy deal?

Re:This is why class-action is stupid (5, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748461)

And if it isn't, why can a bunch of lawyers step in for 7 million people and accept a crappy deal?

It isn't a crappy deal. Not really. Oh, the cash is pitiful, but the terms are good for authors and readers both. Publishers are going to lose out, eventually, but that makes sense because they're becoming unnecessary.

The biggest change this settlement creates is for authors whose works are currently out of print. These are people who currently aren't making anything for their books. Not only do they get a little in the settlement, they also get a new opportunity for their work to be read, and even sold.

I expect even authors who are in print to benefit, though, for the same reasons that Baen's Free Library has proven to be such a windfall for both Baen and the authors who volunteered their works for the library. The very biggest obstacle any author has to overcome isn't a way to make sure they get royalty checks, it's obscurity. Once a significant number of people know and enjoy an author's work, making a living from writing is easy.

The settlement will increase access, but will do it in a format that's inconvenient and unpleasant for reading, and in a way that's just a few clicks and a few dollars away from an actual printed copy -- and a subsequent royalty check delivered to the author.

Time will tell, but my prediction is that most in-print authors will choose to opt *in* to full access through Google Reader, and their bank accounts will be glad they did.

Meanwhile, the REAL purpose of copyright is fantastically well-served by this agreement. Note that the purpose of copyright has nothing to do with compensating authors, the real purpose is to encourage broad publication, and to maximize the access of the public to new works and new ideas. To do that, we need to provide just enough incentive to get writers to write, and an easy and efficient publication mechanism. This settlement preserves the opportunity for authors to make money (motivating them to write more) while making their works much easier to find and obtain.

moD 0p (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27748177)

EFNet, andj apply

Author? (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748181)

A group of authors, including Philip K. Dick's estate

Philip K. Dick's estate is an author?

This is a big part of what's wrong with copyright.

Re:Author? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27748271)

A group of authors, including Philip K. Dick's estate

Philip K. Dick's estate is an author?

This is a big part of what's wrong with copyright.

Yes, this has been mentioned [slashdot.org] .

Re:Author? (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748515)

Yeah, saw that after I posted. Sorry for the dupe.

Solution (1)

12357bd (686909) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748249)

Google has been build upon free software, now they are just a big abusive monopoly.

Linus should put the Linux kernel under the GPL v3 Affero license. End of Google abuse.

Reality Check (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748405)

Once again...the hordes come out and cry censorship...
Book is out of print...
Google doesn't post book online...
Censorship at Google!

Are you f'ing serious? So...people should demand that Google digitizes every book ever so that they aren't censoring? Ahh yes...let us all get the pitchforks and torches and force Google to do what we want...after all...that kind of totalitarian control is WAY better than censorship right guys?

Seriously...can someone please explain to me how not digitizing a book that is already out of print even begins to qualify as censorship?

Re:Reality Check (1)

californication (1145791) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748947)

Did you read this part? "Since no one else has the right to put this literature up without being sued, the literature that Google deems 'inappropriate' will effectively be banned from the internet for decades until it becomes public domain." It may not be absolute censorship, since you might be able to find a physical copy of one of these books in a Goodwill somewhere, but it would amount to censorship of internet content.

I can think of a good book to ban (1)

Cutie Pi (588366) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748449)

How about Michael de Mare's Confessions of a Recovering Preppie [michaeldemare.com] ? It was given a 0/10 on a Slashdot book review [slashdot.org] .

How sad. (1)

OverlyGenericUsernam (1189255) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748715)

The only thing worse then burning books is not reading them.

The private sector does it better (1)

californication (1145791) | more than 5 years ago | (#27748839)

The private sector does everything better, including censorship!

The least bad outcome (1)

bperkins (12056) | more than 5 years ago | (#27749027)

I don't think this is a great situation, but it's probably the least bad situation we could end up with.

It's our own fault (collectively anyway) since we let copyright maximalists set the agenda. The issue became what should the owners get from this deal, rather than what society's claim on orphaned works ought to be. Ideally we would have had a law written that allowed some sort of scheme to deal with orphaned works, but instead we end up with a situation that benefits the means to set up the legal charade that's allowed this deal to happen.

It'll be interesting to see what ends up happening in the future. It seems possible that legislation could be created to at least break Google's exclusivity if not take it away entirely.

At least we'll now have access to these works, without Google, they'd likely stay in legal limbo indefinitely.

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