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DOJ Turns Up the Heat On Google's Book Deal

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the let's-take-a-good-look dept.

Google 64

narramissic writes "It appears that after its initial review of a deal that would settle a lawsuit publishers and authors filed against Google over the latter's book search engine, the DOJ is leaning toward challenging the proposed settlement. The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times reported late Tuesday that the DOJ is now sending civil investigative demands (CIDs) to organizations involved in the deals, a more formal approach than its initial information-gathering efforts. But Authors Guild Executive Director Paul Aiken said the fact that the DOJ is reviewing the proposed settlement isn't surprising, considering Google is involved: 'Any big deal that involves Google is going to get a look from the Justice Department.'"

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64 comments

Look (3, Insightful)

Idiot with a gun (1081749) | more than 4 years ago | (#28290113)

I can understand why they're looking into Google. They're a monopoly, which isn't illegal, but it does draw attention. But the reason they're a monopoly is because they're very, very good. They really have been churning out wonderful products at a continuous rate, that's why everyone works with google. What is annoying when the DOJ turns a blind eye as other monopolies, at least from my perspective, abuse their power to maintain their position as monopolies.

Re:Look (4, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 4 years ago | (#28290201)

Regardless of Google's supposed faults/shortcomings/evilness, the real problem lies with the book industry as a whole. They have witnessed what has happened to the media industries and they're trying their hardest to hold off progress and not get into the same mess. We should have had great ebook readers for a long long time now, as well as all manners of easing ways to read, the technology is there, but the book industry is clutching to their old dead tree business model like a rabid dog on a child's arm. They're way worse than the **AAs, and the more technology encroaches on their monopoly, the nastier they'll turn.

What this is is a virtual monopoly (Google) trying to phagocyte another (publishers), and I suspect the real losers in the end, just like movies and music, will be the consumers.

Re:Look (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28290241)

You just verbed phagocyte. It is an honour, sir.

Re:Look (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28291309)

You just verbed verb!

Re:Look (1)

Kz (4332) | more than 4 years ago | (#28293651)

Calvin: Verbing weirds language.
Hobbes:Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding.

Re:Look (1)

zymano (581466) | more than 4 years ago | (#28299477)

Google books is great. They don't even give you all the pages. So whats the problem? I think i know. Once someone reads enough pages they find out the information is superfluous - it's overrated.

They don't want people to just scan the books because they lose out on those sales by people who make the quick sale or the sale over amazon where they don't let you read some pages. Yeah Amazon used to allow you to look at a few pages but the idiot book companies threatened them too.

Re:Look (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28303423)

If you're going to try to be erudite, use the right form, smartass: phagocyte is the NOUN, the verb infinitive is:

phagocytIZE, ok?

Re:Look (5, Informative)

sy5t3m (1349857) | more than 4 years ago | (#28290231)

Wrong. This is not being looked at because google are a brilliant company who love everybody, this is being looked at because the deal is f'king shady.

The authors guild wants to sell monopoly rights to google. Rights which are not theirs to sell, if they even exist at all.
The exclusive right to scan and sell any orphaned book, which might very well contradict copyright laws.
The exclusive right to decide what constitutes an "out of print" work, and republish it.
There are others, those are just the two I can recall off the top of my head.

Google would be released from the legal obligation to seek permission of copyright holders first, whether the holders are members of the authors guild or not. As you can probably imagine, there's no way in hell the authors guild has the legal capacity to grant that permission for all authors (including foreign authors).

So google and the authors guild are trying to create an illegal monopoly.

Only reason everyone can't do this is lack of cash (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28290375)

> Google would be released from the legal obligation to seek permission of copyright holders first, whether the holders are members of the authors guild or not. As you can probably imagine, there's no way in hell the authors guild has the legal capacity to grant that permission for all authors (including foreign authors).

Well, the way these settlements work, you can either opt yourself out of it (and forbid Google to do this, or come to your own arrangement with them) or sit back and let it happen.

If you sit back and do nothing, I have no problem with them copying your books. Everyone has the same right (though probably nowhere near enough money) to come to settlement terms with anyone who wants to settle.

But, honestly, were it up to me, I wish that everyone could copy all these books. Then again, most people aren't as against this copyright nonsense as I am.

Re:Look (2, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#28290411)

Or in other words, the authors guild is doing what they prosecute others for: Infringing the copyright of others. By acting as if they could make contracts in my place, for my books, without even asking me, and without having any rights from or relations to me.*

One should hang them with their own weapons. ^^

___
* I am not a book author (yet?). This is an example.

Re:Look (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28290625)

One should hang them with their own weapons. ^^

Why hang them with there own weapons... just hang them.

Re:Look (1)

PMuse (320639) | more than 4 years ago | (#28295803)

Shady or not, this settlement is not an exclusive license or a monopoly because it doesn't give Google any right to prevent you from scanning the orphan books yourself. If you want to scan those books, Google can't stop you. (Though you may find yourself sued by the copyright holders/authors/publishers, just like Google did.)

The DOJ is looking into all unapproved deals (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#28290389)

And by unapproved, I mean deals not approved by Hollywood and Redmond.

Seriously, are we looking for justice from the RIAADOJ [cnet.com]? We may as well look for truth from Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf [welovethei...nister.com].

Re:The DOJ is looking into all unapproved deals (-1, Troll)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#28290487)

Or from Dick Cheney. (Or any politician aka "terrorist".) ^^

Re:The DOJ is looking into all unapproved deals (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 4 years ago | (#28290711)

Yeah, the last honest politician was Walter Mondale. Check the electoral map from 1984 to see why no one's tried that since...

Google is NOT an a monopoly. (2, Informative)

RudeIota (1131331) | more than 4 years ago | (#28290611)

I can understand why they're looking into Google. They're a monopoly

Monopoly? What the hell are you talking about?

Google is an advertiser.. Just like thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of other companies on the Interweb and in real life. Google surely has a tremendous market share, but they don't prevent anyone from advertising with other companies... And these other companies get a LOT of advertising despite Google's presence. Hell, Yahoo! is still worth billions of dollars, and their products don't have nearly the crazy media glitz that Google seems to get. Lots of people still advertise with other companies like Yahoo! and Google's competition can still turn huge profits. Being #1 doesn't make your a monopoly.

The same goes with their web search product: They aren't even close to being a monopoly. I have a choice to use Yahoo, or Metacrawler or Ask or some other God awful search engine. What Google IS though, is very good. Because of this, most people *choose* to use it. They have a lot of inertia because they do lots of cool, free things and capitalize upon their good will and free publicity. Google is not a monopoly. Also, their search product isn't perfect... It would take some clever work, but any individual or company that creates a search engine which can compete with the quality of Google and offer something useful and novel could very well compete with them.

If Google had an exclusive deal with major Internet browser companies and/or ISPs to block competitors in the advertising and/or search markets... Well, that would be much closer to a monopoly.

Re:Google is NOT an a monopoly. (2, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 4 years ago | (#28295695)

I can understand why they're looking into Google. They're a monopoly

Monopoly? What the hell are you talking about? Google is an advertiser.. Just like thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of other companies on the Interweb and in real life. Google surely has a tremendous market share, but they don't prevent anyone from advertising with other companies...

Having tremendous market share is being a monopoly, in terms of the law. Not leveraging that monopoly to harm competition means Google is obeying the law, not that they aren't a monopoly. A monopoly is just having the power to abuse a position, which is legal. Abuse of a monopoly is illegal.

Being #1 doesn't make your[sic] a monopoly.

No but having 70%+ of a market does give you a lot of power over your customers. Refusing to do business with them unless they accede to your demands allows you to undermine free trade and because you have so much power your customers have little choice. Walking away from advertising with Google will kill many small companies.

Of course all of this is academic because none of Google's large market share is the monopoly (actually trust) in question in this case. It is about the formation of a new trust granting Google exclusive power to act on behalf of a trust made up by Google, the Author's Guild, and the AAP.

Re:Google is NOT an a monopoly. (2)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#28295779)

You must work in tech support - because your answer, while completely correct, has absolutely nothing to do with the situation at hand.
 
The issue isn't search, or advertising, but a dodgy attempt by Google to purchase rights from an entity whose right to sell those rights is (at best) questionable if not nonexistent. Google is trying to gain the right to scan and publish, at their choice, all books for all time - published and not yet published without being required to negotiate for those rights and without recompose to the authors.

I just got off the toilet! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28291299)

I just shit out an obama!

Plop!

Re:I just got off the toilet! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28291525)

I heard Obama is black. As a racist, that scares the shit outta me.

Re:Look (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 4 years ago | (#28295281)

I can understand why they're looking into Google.

Actually, the trust in this instance is the combination of the Author's Guild and the AAP trying to make a collective deal with Google that would grant Google exclusive privileges over use of printed works in exchange for using that power to gather money for the trust. It isn't Google's market share in internet search or online advertising that is the issue here.

What is annoying when the DOJ turns a blind eye as other monopolies, at least from my perspective, abuse their power to maintain their position as monopolies.

The DoJ has done a terrible job of regulating monopolies over te last decade and have pretty much been in the pocket of big business. This new action is useful in it addresses a monopoly business is trying to form and which would potentially harm competition. It would, of course, be even nicer if they'd go after long standing abusive trusts that have been harming competition for a long time such as Microsoft, each local Cable television company, consolidation of wired telephone service, the RIAA, etc.

Old dilema (1)

NuKeLiTe (418) | more than 4 years ago | (#28290135)

At some point this will be on the same road of mp3... authors and publishers will finally see the benefits of a book search engine. I think this will not stop people to buy paper or electronic books.

Re:Old dilema (2, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 4 years ago | (#28290269)

Book search engines aren't the problem. The problem is, book search engines require books to be digitized, and from there it's only a short hop to selling digital books, something publishers really REALLY don't want. They definitely don't want books to be on the same road as MP3s, because the digitized music cat has slipped out of the record companies' bag and it hasn't been a good thing for them.

And no, I think you're wrong, a great many people would stop buying real books (or newspapers or magazines) in favor of electronic books, given the choice. What's killing the ebook market is the lack of choice: I you're into Gutemberg project-like books that are in the public domain, then you're fine, but virtually no new books are release in digital format. I for one read a lot of SF, and if I could get, say, the latest Iain M. Banks on file, I would buy it in an instant. However, I can't, so I have to order the damn hardcover from the UK, wait a million years for it to be delivered, instead of getting my fix in 2 minutes, for a premium that I'd be willing to pay, to read on an ebook reader that I'd be willing to pay dearly too - if I had a great choice of books to read on it.

Re:Old dilema (1)

Starlon (1492461) | more than 4 years ago | (#28290355)

Or you could simply grab the torrent and have the leaked copy weeks before release.

Re:Old dilema (5, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 4 years ago | (#28290405)

Yes, trouble is:

1 - I don't want to spend ages rooting out an ebook torrent from shady sites. I want a well-stocked digital library that I can browse and download books from easily.

2 - I want to pay for books from living authors. I want the authors I like to profit from their work, so they keeps on writing for me. What a concept eh?

Re:Old dilema (1)

boombaard (1001577) | more than 4 years ago | (#28290771)

but virtually no new books are release in digital format. I for one read a lot of SF, and if I could get, say, the latest Iain M. Banks on file, I would buy it in an instant. However, I can't, so I have to order the damn hardcover from the UK, wait a million years for it to be delivered, instead of getting my fix in 2 minutes, for a premium that I'd be willing to pay, to read on an ebook reader that I'd be willing to pay dearly too - if I had a great choice of books to read on it.

Try Fictionwise (Matter is the book you're looking for, I take it?) [fictionwise.com], or BooksOnBoard [booksonboard.com]. Admittedly the amount of books offered isn't very large yet, but there are some efforts being made, and esp. scifi/fant is already fairly well available.

Re:Old dilema (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 4 years ago | (#28292285)

Not to mention you want a PDF of a book that doesn't look like someone merely printed a text file to the PDF file. Most books that are available to download infringingly have a shitty font, no chapter markers, misspellings, and other godawful things.

the DOJ can get bent (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#28290221)

Google is doing something useful.

Where were these clowns when MS was taking a dump all over personal computing for their own gain?

Re:the DOJ can get bent (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#28290443)

Well, we will have to go the road that the music industry goes. Because when printing and distributing books becomes free, writing books becomes a service only.

But this is not the point here. The point is the authors guild acting as if they were the authors. Even for authors that they do not represent. And then making deals. With money. For those authors. Which is pretty much the same as printing CDs and *selling* them. En masse. For every musician out there.

The selling point and the representing point, are the problems.

So what's new about it? (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 4 years ago | (#28292101)

The point is the authors guild acting as if they were the authors. Even for authors that they do not represent. And then making deals. With money.

There are lots of legal precedents for this; to list a few:

  • RIAA getting paid a tax on audio cassettes and "audio" CD-R disks.
  • ASCAP/BMI collecting licensing fees from businesses which play music and distributing the fees based on what they believe was played.
  • The collection of fees from Internet radio by SoundExchange.

In all of those cases, licensing fees for (or compensation for copying of) music of independent artists (or even associated artists!) gets paid to someone else.

Personally, I think they all should be thrown out. But the DOJ has thought differently in the past, and might very well think differently here. In fact, if I were to be even more cynical than usual, I'd guess that the DOJ will do a 180 and nix this deal, since it actually helps the public somewhat in that they could get legal access to orphaned books, even if they would have to pay arbitrary people for that right.

Re:the DOJ can get bent (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#28294285)

Spending a decade or more investigating and suing MS in court and finally winning. If you don't like the result, blame the instigators of the investigation (Sun, AOL, etc). They got big bucks from MS so the government efforts succeeded as planned.

Re:the DOJ can get bent (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 4 years ago | (#28302837)

How did the government's efforts succeed? Seems to me the DOJ rulings against msft were nothing but a joke. Msft certainly has not curtailed their abusive business practices.

Re:the DOJ can get bent (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#28304951)

As I said, it succeeded to benefit MS's competitors such as Sun and AOL, who spearheaded the investigation. After MS was found to be an abusive monopoly, those companies sued MS using the court verdict as evidence. Eventually MS paid them off.

How would it have helped the consumer if MS had been ordered to use Netscape's old browser (which isn't Firefox) or bundle Sun's JVM with Windows? The remedies that MS didn't end up having to agree to were also transparently designed to benefit other companies and not the consumer.

Google is NOT a monopoly (3, Interesting)

Disstress (928999) | more than 4 years ago | (#28290245)

The idea of google as a monopoly is silly. You still have ask, bing, yahoo, and even altavista is still around. There is not one product that google provides that is monopolistic in nature. Being a leader in your field does not mean that you are a monopoly. Look back at Ma Bell's past, that was a monopoly, people had no choice. People have a choice not to use google and are by no means forced to do so out of lack of options or availability.

Re:Google is NOT a monopoly (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#28290277)

it's only a monopoly if google somehow prevented you searching else where, or stopped anyone else starting a search engine business.

as you said, yahoo and MS have significant slices of the search pie. google is just better at it, and it sickens me that a company which is actually good at it's business is being targeted by the government purely for being.. the best.

Re:Google is NOT a monopoly (4, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#28290505)

Again. You are completely off the point.

Think of it like this: You wrote a book. And Google scanned it. Now you could sue them, but you think, well, it might be something good. So you try to call up Google, and tell them, that although they should have asked you first, you can make a deal of which both of you profit.
But Google ignores you, and tells you that the Authors Guild already handles it all.
Now you are stumped, because you never made any deal with that guild, to represent you. So how can they make a contract in your name. Deciding the price and terms for you?
Well, if you ask them, they will tell you some bullshit about them OWNING IT AAAALLLL MUHAHAHA!!!1!1one
And you're out of the game.

I don't think you think that this behavior is cool. ^^
Of both of them. Google and even more the Authors Guild.

So please inform yourself a bit, before taking sides.

Re:Google is NOT a monopoly (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#28290565)

so google made a deal with the authors guild, how is it google that needs investigating if the authors guild is misrepresenting itself as the owner of copyrighted material?

nothing in your post indicates google is at fault.

oh and my whole point was about the misconception of google being a monopoly so double fail to you.

Re:Google is NOT a monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28291723)

its a class action which means unless you opt out and are part of the class (author) then you are agreeing to the terms of the settlement

Re:Google is NOT a monopoly (2, Informative)

Late Adopter (1492849) | more than 4 years ago | (#28291781)

It's a little more complicated than either you or GP make it out to be.

Google decided to go ahead and copy all these books digitally into their archive, and the Author's Guild sued on behalf of the works to which they *do* control the copyright (or at least the right to represent the authors in legal matters). Somewhere along the line the Author's Guild asked for the lawsuit to be promoted to a class-action, which means that the outcome of the suit is binding for all possible plaintiffs (in this case, authors).

Usually class-action lawsuits are good things (especially for the lawyers who get to prosecute the case, but also marginally for the little people involved). You and I don't have the resources to take on big tobacco, for example, but once somebody does, qualified people are in on that suit by default (usually with court-mandated notice and an opportunity to opt-out). I myself made a tiny bit of money out of the Best-Buy/MSN settlement where they were signing people up and charging them for Internet service without telling them.

So in this case the Author's Guild was granted by the court the right to represent all authors in this matter. Then they settled with Google, and the terms of the settlement were especially wide ranging. Then the judge involved ok'ed it, again with the traditional notices and opportunity to opt out.

So that's how it happened. It's shady as hell, but it's the way class-action suits work in this country, and entirely legit. Perhaps the judge involved in the case made some errors in judgement, I'm not educated enough on the matter to say.

Finally, regarding your monopoly claims, you're right but you're entirely off-topic. You don't have to have a monopoly to engage in illegal anti-competitive behavior. Dumping, just to offer one example, is pretty much always illegal, regardless of your market-share. The FTC has a bunch more information on their site. The DoJ is not necessarily off the mark looking into this case (they haven't even decided they have the grounds to file a suit yet, so any rush to judgement would be premature).

Re:Google is NOT a monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28291805)

You're trying to argue against all the Googlers who get on here to defend their company...

Re:Google is NOT a monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28294355)

I have just invented the "Slashdot Article Reply Writers Guild" and I own the above post.

Google, you guys can index this and link to it for only $1 million. Thank you.

Re:Google is NOT a monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28296997)

Fair use?

Re:Google is NOT a monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28295103)

So please inform yourself a bit, before taking sides.

Did you know you can opt out of this with Google? Did you know you can opt out of this with the Author's Guild simply by saying "hey I'm the author", since that would make the work no longer orphaned? Either of those points pretty much invalidates your premise of having no control as an author. Perhaps you should learn more from the original or reputable sources, rather than just reading discussion forums. Groklaw would be a good start.

Re:Google is NOT a monopoly (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#28304011)

You (meaning Americans) can only opt out of it for a short period of time, then it's done. Anyone in America who writes a book in about 6 months or so will be bound by the settlement.

Re:Google is NOT a monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28304939)

I have to say this, google "tragedy of the anticommons". This is a classic example. A long time ago, as a promotion, a cereal company bought up a lot of land (it was cheap in those days) and put a land deed to a square inch of that land in their cereal boxes. Fast forward to the present day, present time, and imagine that you were a company that had reason to believe that their was oil (or Germanium, or some other resource) under that land. You wouldn't even bother to try to make use of it, because you would never be certain that you owned every square inch, so thus the land is underutilized, because there are so many owners that it's not possible to negotiate with all of them to make something which requires unanimous consent.

Re:Google is NOT a monopoly (1)

Kopiok (898028) | more than 4 years ago | (#28292563)

That would be an abuse of monopoly. A company can have a monopoly on a market by having the vast majority of business. A monopoly isn't inherently bad. If a company is simply the best in the market and everybody decides to use their product, then good for them! It's still a monopoly. When that same company starts using their monopoly to force competitors out of the market, or keep people from switching, then they are leveraging their monopoly to corner the market, which is the illegal part.

Re:Google is NOT a monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28291035)

It is not material that Google's search is not a monopoly. Under the proposed agreement, Authors Guild + Google is establshed as a monopoly. No other group, ever, anywhere, could have the rights of AG + Google. Individual authors can opt out ... to where? No other aggregator is allowed to do a blanket deal with AG, ever, anywhere. No AG publisher is allowed to deal directly with any other aggregator, ever, anywhere.

Re:Google is NOT a monopoly (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#28291463)

If Google gets an exclusive right to digitize books from the Author's Guild, then they effectively become a monopoly.

Re:Google is NOT a monopoly (1)

jvkjvk (102057) | more than 4 years ago | (#28293789)

So, who else has a blanket license to all out of print books (unless you specifically opt out)?

It appears that they may hava a monopoly on this.

So, yes, as of now google is a monopoly. It's not silly, it's a fact.

Regards.

Re:Google is NOT a monopoly (1)

hkmwbz (531650) | more than 4 years ago | (#28298529)

Actually, Google is a monopoly according to the law. By law, you only need a market share of 60-70% or so. Which Google has.

However, being a monopoly is not illegal in itself.

oH NOOOOes!!!! (1)

TimMD909 (260285) | more than 4 years ago | (#28290279)

The government is double checking court decisions to make sure they're fair and right?

Sweet Torvalds GNU/Jesus! What if the government behaved as a regulatory and fair entity that gets all the facts while laying down the law!?!? Heaven help us!

Following recent trends (0, Offtopic)

NaCh0 (6124) | more than 4 years ago | (#28290283)

Obama will appoint a czar of online books and nationalize the service away from google.

Re:Following recent trends (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#28290501)

Obama will appoint a czar of online books and nationalize the service away from google.

Like a goo-czar?

Re:Following recent trends (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 4 years ago | (#28290833)

That would be the opposite of recent trends. Name one failing company that we've taken anything away from, rather than poured huge amounts into? The worse you perform, the more we pour in.

Re:Following recent trends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28291699)

LOL. As much as I wish this parent comment was a "troll" post, I can't even laugh because there is too much truth in it. Please mark this "interesting" so people unaware of all the Kings/Czars Obama has appointed. No other president in history has appointed so many kings/czars, and it goes completely against democracy as they have no oversight.

open for everybody (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28290847)

I think that if Google wants to show their good intentions (and show that they are not creating yet another monopoly), then they should really open up the literature for everybody (individuals and companies alike), and publish their scans in downloadable form. Rationale: I am sure that if Google is allowing themselves to scan those materials, then there should be no (moral/legal) problems against having other individuals/companies copying those scans in turn; so why not open it up for everybody?

Also, we certainly don't want every company out there to re-scan all those libraries, as this would only damage those materials.

ironic (-1, Troll)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 4 years ago | (#28290879)

You know, the big irony here is that the issues are essentially the same as those with the news websites who don't want to like being aggregated by Google.  Sure, it feels a little like a violation, but on the other hand, without it, Google isn't giving you all those free hits.

Ultimately this is simply the case where book publishers have apparently *not noticed at all* what the music and movie industries have been going through for the last decade. 

I like Google stance here, not the Author's Guild (1)

jshackles (957031) | more than 4 years ago | (#28291691)

Google seems to be doing EXACTLY what Amazon is doing with their Kindle book service, they're just going all in wholesale. Whereas Amazon waits for the book publishers and authors to explicitly authorize their content to be sold on the Kindle, Google is taking more of a "shoot first and ask questions later" approach. Since a presumably large number of these scanned works will be from Author's Guild writers, I don't see why the Author's Guild can't say "Sure, you can scan the books of our patrons!". But instead, they are douchebags and say "In fact, you can scan ANY* book and we'll collect on the revenue for it." Which, as we all know, is retarded. Google is trying to one-up all of the other online book stores by being able to offer EVERY book. The Author's Guild is giving them the unjustified legal means to do so.

Book search is a great thing (1)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 4 years ago | (#28293155)

Everyone - both authors and readers - would be better off if there was an easy way to search through all books online, and to read or download books which are abandoned or out of print. Unfortunately, the law is focused on how to restrict people, rather than being focused on how to make written works as accessible as possible.

It just makes me sad to think that we have the technical capacity to create something amazing like a public, global book search, but we can't make it happen due to legal and human factors. It's not ideal to allow a private company to have exclusive rights to such a project, but I'd rather see Google be allowed to continue than to see it simply not exist.

The deal is full of holes (1)

bizwriter (1064470) | more than 4 years ago | (#28298247)

You can check here for a summar of the criticisms [bnet.com] of the deal. Notice that the critics include librarians, the EFF, the Internet Archive, some authors, and at least one major copyright expert that you woudln't normally expect to be on the same side of a copyright issue.

I'd be rightfully shocked (1)

metaforest (685350) | more than 4 years ago | (#28304813)

if the DoJ doesn't shit-can this whole deal.

The Author's Guild seems to have seen a way to turn a class action lawsuit into a gold mine, and Google saw it as a way to trump copyright law for fractions of a penny on the dollar.

It's truly disturbing that the judge involved in approving this foul marriage is actually allowed to practice law....

Ok... Now, and forever more Author's Guild and Google get to A$$Rape the down trodden, lost, and dead authors of the world, AND their heirs.

If I were an author working on a novel or any copyrightable written materi

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