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Google Offers Scanned Books To Rival Stores

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the take-two-they're-small dept.

Books 150

eldavojohn writes "Yesterday we covered Microsoft's jabs at the Google book deal, but today Reuters is reporting that the scanned books will be available to Google's rivals. Google said in a surprising statement, 'Google will host the digital (out-of-print) books online, and retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble or your local bookstore will be able to sell access to users on any Internet-connected device they choose.' They made this statement today at the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee that had been called to discuss criticism of a 2008 settlement between the Authors Guild and Google. Well, I would bet this has caught more than a few people by surprise. The Authors Guild offers a history and the fine print of the agreement."

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Microsoft's reply (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#29382963)

Google: Google will host the digital (out-of-print) books online, and retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble or your local bookstore will be able to sell access to users on any Internet-connected device they choose.
Microsoft: Well, the Jerk Store called, and they're running out of you.

(yes, that stupid joke works with almost any topic)

Re:Microsoft's reply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29382993)

Google: What's the difference? You're their all-time best-seller.
Microsoft: Yeah? Well, I had sex with your wife!

Re:Microsoft's reply (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29383021)

Microsoft: Yeah? Well, I had sex with your wife!

You leave Mozilla out of this!

Re:Microsoft's reply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29383195)

Apple: His wife's in a coma.

Re:Microsoft's reply (1)

DarrenBaker (322210) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383353)

Twix! They're all Twix!

Re:Microsoft's reply (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383799)

Google: What's the difference? You're their all-time best-seller.
Microsoft: Yeah? Well, I had sex with your wife!

Google: Did you mean: I had sex with your comatose wife ?

Re:Microsoft's reply (4, Insightful)

Quothz (683368) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383307)

Google: Google will host the digital (out-of-print) books online, and retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble or your local bookstore will be able to sell access to users on any Internet-connected device they choose.

Oh, joy. So what they're saying is that they retain their questionably-obtained monopoly over publishing these titles, but instead of paying them for a copy of the book, I can instead choose to pay both them and a retailer surcharge for a DRM-protected copy of the book? Exciting!

It's awful nice of Google to open up new channels of income for themselves. Why, I can't imagine why anyone would want to be allowed to compete directly. Anyone who does must be evil.

Re:Microsoft's reply (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383389)

Bend over.

It's a good thing we have antitrust laws to stop this kind of thing from happening. Now if only the U.S. DOJ would enforce them.

Re:Microsoft's reply (0, Flamebait)

The Stars Look Down (923389) | more than 4 years ago | (#29384507)

Antitrust laws? Fascism FTL!

Re:Microsoft's reply (2, Insightful)

Zencyde (850968) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383401)

Really? What is this bullshit? Perhaps you have a better suggestion on what we should do in order to bring these books back from the dead. Be fucking happy that Google is a pro-competitive company and stop being a damned douchebag.

And before you decide to fire back, how many companies do you know of with the spare resources, manpower, or motivation to do this thing properly?

Re:Microsoft's reply (2, Insightful)

Quothz (683368) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383511)

Really? What is this bullshit? Perhaps you have a better suggestion on what we should do in order to bring these books back from the dead. Be fucking happy that Google is a pro-competitive company and stop being a damned douchebag.

The same suggestion as always: Lobby Congress to open rights to orphaned works to publishers, with residuals going into trust via the WGA, the US Copyright Office, or a new administrative organization. And I'd hesitate to call "allowing others to buy from us, then resell" pro-competition.

And before you decide to fire back, how many companies do you know of with the spare resources, manpower, or motivation to do this thing properly?

Lexis-Nexis comes instantly to mind. Penguin Books, Del Ray Publishing, Microsoft, Ballantine Books, the Gutenberg Project, Yahoo!, AOL, Borders Books and Music, and plenty of others could pull it off, albeit some at a smaller scale. There's probably thousands of shops that would love to publish orphaned specialty titles electronically. And I strongly suspect that, if the rights to publication were open, nonprofits by the dozens would appear instantly to publish some titles.

Re:Microsoft's reply (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29384081)

You've got a nice list of companies capable of hosting the works. In fact, I've praised the Gutenberg project for their efforts. But, apparently, none of the nominees in your list have been both capable and willing to do the job on the scale that Google is doing it.

My one single question regarding Google's arrangement is, whether they have an "exclusive" deal, or not. Can Gutenberg still scan and distribute a public domain book that Google has scanned? If so - there is NO PROBLEM with Google's arrangement. If so, the I can see a problem.

When I find the answer to that one question, I'll decide just how much I support Google in this little venture.

Re:Microsoft's reply (4, Informative)

Quothz (683368) | more than 4 years ago | (#29384551)

My one single question regarding Google's arrangement is, whether they have an "exclusive" deal, or not.

It's exclusive in the sense that anyone wishing to publish electronically, other than Google, must have copyright contractually assigned by the copyright holder, but Google is no longer bound by copyright laws when choosing to publish books which are not currently being printed (including future books).

The exception is that, if Google rejects a book, the Registry may assign the electronic printing rights, under the same terms, to someone else.

There's a bit (a lot) more to it - copyright owners may, with limitations, stop Google from publishing their books, and with limitations, may set the price of the books. But it binds current and future authors and publishers to file specific forms in specific ways at specific times if they don't want Google sellin' their stuff.

Re:Microsoft's reply (2, Interesting)

Fizzol (598030) | more than 4 years ago | (#29384675)

It's a horrendous abuse of copyright, on par with the Sonny Bono Public Domain Theft Act.

Re:Microsoft's reply (2, Informative)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 4 years ago | (#29384881)

[quote]My one single question regarding Google's arrangement is, whether they have an "exclusive" deal, or not. Can Gutenberg still scan and distribute a public domain book that Google has scanned? If so - there is NO PROBLEM with Google's arrangement. If so, the I can see a problem.[/quote]

Yes. There is nothing stopping people from:

1) Scanning public domain books and distributing them.
2) Creating similar deals with the Authors' Guild and scanning the exact same books Google does and distributing them.
3) Pushing for better copyright reform which would make all this moot. (which Google fully supports, according to their latest blog post)

Re:Microsoft's reply (1)

quarterbuck (1268694) | more than 4 years ago | (#29385171)

Opening up the copyrights won't quite solve the problem. Someone then search for all these books and scan them and put it in a central database. This is the step that cost money.
Without the database the local bookstore can't publish it. Gutenberg is the only guys who could possibly step in and do that step. Microsoft won't do it (obvious) and neither will the book companies (or else they already would have).
Anyway, as long as Google does not charge for internet access, I don't really care what they do with the dead tree copies or how much they charge for it.

Re:Microsoft's reply (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383499)

I'm pretty sure that they just said "We are going to sell these on the internet. If you like, you can sell devices that connect to the internet." Perfectly fine; but not exactly news.

Re:Microsoft's reply (2, Interesting)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383967)

More middlemen. More slices out of a pie that has already been dished up.

A significant portion of "businesses" today are simply middlemen doing exactly the same thing.

Right down to the apple on my desk, a lot of someones are getting a slice of the pie. The grower, the trucker, the distributor, the vendor, the government inspector, the company that makes the pesticides and waxes that cover it, the fertilizer supplier, the taxman, the dude that made the box it was shipped in, etc, etc, ad nauseum.

Now, I realize that some of these people are essential--that apple didn't just magically appear on my desk--but when you get down to it, just how many people need a cut of my dollar to get a fucking apple on my desk?

When you start looking at businesses with this in mind, you begin to realize just how unnecessary a significant potion of these middlemen really are. They simply drive up costs--costs that are paid by all of us.

I don't really think it is evil. Illogical (from a consumer's perspective), yes, but not evil.

I also don't think that Google is being evil here. Sure, they are adding more middlemen to the equation (and yeah, I think that sucks), but more then likely, they simply realized that the arrangement converts the cost of distribution into a revenue source.

Re:Microsoft's reply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29384647)

You also realize just how necessary MANY of them are. in the case of a single apple, yes, you could go the grower and go out in the field and pick it yourself and pay by the pound, in which case, the only person needed is you and the farmer and you could get a bushel of apples cheap, but then you need corn, and peas and eggs and chicken. You need someone to gather these things into one place so that you can actually get on with life. Currenty you probably spend about an hour per week shopping and probably spend $200 doing it, even if $150 of that is actually going to middle men, it would cost you way more than that $150 you are paying to get this stuff yourself. I sure as hell do not want to HAVE to get the wheat, then get someone to grind it to flour, milk a damned cow, refine my own sugar, keep a damned yeast sponge going, etc, just because I like to have bread.

You should be grateful there are people who are willing to take such a small amount of money to gather all of your food into a single building where you can spend so little time hunting and gathering your food.

Re:Microsoft's reply (2, Informative)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 4 years ago | (#29384053)

I can instead choose to pay both them and a retailer surcharge for a DRM-protected copy of the book?

Isn't that how most retail sales work? (they are often the same price, just the OEM takes a smaller cut for the retailers service) I can buy the same book from oreilly.com [slashdot.org] or amazon.com [slashdot.org] heck soon you will have the choice, buy a kindle DRM'd version, or a non DRM'd version from either as well. The kindle is a great example, you can buy a DRM'd book from amazon and have it loaded onto your device automatically for $9.99, or go to oreilly, buy it without DRM for less, ($7.99) then transfer it to a memory card... I would hate to buy any DRM stuff from Amazon, but to not need a PC in the loop, it may be worth it at times (if you had the device and no PC handy for example.) Same as Itunes, and other music e-tailers. Buy the CD and rip, transfer. or buy the DRM'd crap straight into the thing? both actually have a audience.

Re:Microsoft's reply (1)

Quothz (683368) | more than 4 years ago | (#29384191)

Isn't that how most retail sales work?

Yes, which is why I don't see why folks are hailing it as some sort of beatific concession on Google's part.

The difference between your example and what Google's doing is simply the deal under which they gained exclusive publishing rights of orphaned works, no more or less.

Re:Microsoft's reply (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29384755)

How is it a Monopoly? It's not an exclusive agreement, anyone else can negotiate the same or different terms with publishers.

Re:Microsoft's reply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29384871)

You're an idiot. There's no monopoly. Anyone is free to negotiate rights the same way Google did. There is no language in the agreement prohibiting this.

Go spread your FUD elsewhere.

There goes Google... (4, Funny)

nametaken (610866) | more than 4 years ago | (#29382965)

Being less evil again.

That was EXACTLY my thought (4, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#29382981)

Google is basically moving us to the digital era. Companies like IBM, MS, Xerox have worked to keep us locked into a dual economy and make as much from it as possible. I think that if I were other nations, I would be BEGGING google to set up shop in their nations.

Re:That was EXACTLY my thought (3, Funny)

GradiusCVK (1017360) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383275)

If you were other nations, wouldn't you be begging Google to set up shop inside you? Sounds... inappropriate.

Re:That was EXACTLY my thought (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#29385029)

It wouldn't hurt, though. He could be frozen for the trip home. Nobody would know about the empbryo until a passing Company ship answered the call from the distress beacon.

Re:That was EXACTLY my thought (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383283)

If you made as much profit as IBM selling giant printers (for printing things like bank statements) you would prolong their life too. And Microsoft.. if they didn't have printer drivers as an easy way to royally screw a system up, blue screens, reboots, crawling slow for no reason, then nobody would upgrade to vista or windows 7. Google can't search paper. So they don't care.

Re:That was EXACTLY my thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29383385)

Businesses need paper, a lot of paper. If they didn't, don't you think our offices would have evolved closer to the paperless office we were looking at in the 80s.

Consumers rarely need paper other than to fire of the odd snail mail, and kids' art. Does Xerox and IBM make home consumables?

Re:There goes Google... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29383019)

holy first post, robin

quick, give me the batpole, batman, I need a good rogering

Re:There goes Google... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29383119)

Impossible. Google is a huge corporation so they must be evil!

(Do I fit in yet?)

Re:There goes Google... (1)

jcwayne (995747) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383399)

Impossible. Google is a huge corporation so they must be evil!

(Do I fit in yet?)

No, you're not nearly snarky enough. Try phrasing your sarcasm in the form of a meme.

Re:There goes Google... (1, Interesting)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383133)

Agreed.

It's my understanding that only orphan works are being included in the settlement, so the only people who are being hurt are

1) Incapable of protecting their rights anyway
2) Too lazy to do so, or
3) Copyright trolls looking to pounce on innocent infringers.

Mind you, I'd rather have the opt-out deadline be replaced by a zero-liability cease and desist option where someone who proves copyright can have google stop providing access, but can't claim damages.

But this isn't half bad even not considering the alternatives.

Difference with MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29383167)

While google pursues next-to-free book deals on orphaned books, MS is forcing orphans in china to work for them for next-to-free.

Re:There goes Google... (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383281)

It's my understanding that only orphan works are being included in the settlement, so the only people who are being hurt are

1) Incapable of protecting their rights anyway

Wait, I thought we were discussing copyrights? Despite the name, it's not a right; it's a privilege.

Re:There goes Google... (5, Insightful)

wordsnyc (956034) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383321)

The Authors Guild represents 8,000 writers (I used to be one of them). There are millions of "orphan" works still covered by US and international copyright law. The Guild has no standing to negotiate for anyone except their members.

Google has made absolutely ZERO attempt to ascertain the identity or whereabouts of the rightsholders of these "orphan" works. I'm one of them. I have been notified by Google about each of my in-print books (five in all), but NONE of my parents' books, even though they were published by HarperCollins, who used to send me royalty checks for those books and would no doubt be happy to tell Google how to reach me.

The fact that, in desperation, Google agrees to share the fruits of its theft does not make everything OK. They have no right to share what was never theirs in the first place. And the Authors Guild are a bunch of useless whores who stand to make a pot of money off this rotten deal.

Re:There goes Google... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29383569)

I think Google is doing a favour to the general public.

They just need an easy way to opt out or find the parents of the orphan books.

Sure some authors will get mad... but having all books at humanity disposal is a BIG step forward for everyone

Re:There goes Google... (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383623)

Now you know why I don't like class action suits.

Re:There goes Google... (5, Insightful)

UCSCTek (806902) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383627)

I won't claim intimate detail with the status of the "orphan books", but if what I've read is accurate, these are generally books that are out-of-print and not actively managed by the publisher or author. In this case, I say Google is doing a service by bringing to light a wide body of literature that would otherwise either remain unused or even disappear. Insisting on strict enforcement of copyright law leaves everyone worse off: the authors and publishers are still not getting anything because they have abandoned the works, and those who might have actually been interested in the material remain without access to it.

Re:There goes Google... (5, Insightful)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 4 years ago | (#29384765)

I won't claim intimate detail with the status of the "orphan books", but if what I've read is accurate, these are generally books that are out-of-print and not actively managed by the publisher or author. In this case, I say Google is doing a service by bringing to light a wide body of literature that would otherwise either remain unused or even disappear. Insisting on strict enforcement of copyright law leaves everyone worse off: the authors and publishers are still not getting anything because they have abandoned the works, and those who might have actually been interested in the material remain without access to it.

But this is effectively going to be 'strict enforcement of copyright law' - only Google will have the rights to electronically reproduce these works, unless of course they generously licence them to third parties (for a fee, naturally).

A much, much better solution would be to change copyright law so that if no rights holder can be identified after reasonable efforts, a work is deemed to be out of copyright.

Re:There goes Google... (1)

UCSCTek (806902) | more than 4 years ago | (#29384883)

I don't disagree; I bet most of us agree that copyright law is out-of-date. This solution seems to be rather hard to implement though: lots of interested parties, some with deep pockets. What these temporary solutions, such as what Google is doing, can do is bring the issue greater attention and urgency.

One additional point, while Google would have the rights to its scanned copies, I don't recall it being true that they have exclusive rights to the content itself. Other companies would then be free to replicate Google's activities, making their own databases of scanned books. I may be wrong...

When (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29385043)

> A much, much better solution would be to change copyright law so that if no rights holder can be identified after reasonable efforts, a work is deemed to be out of copyright.

I'd love to, but when is that going to happen?

My guess is that it will only happen AFTER Google goes through all this legal crap to drag the books back into publication...

Re:There goes Google... (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383707)

Are you sure it was Google and not Harper Collins that dropped the ball wrt. your parents books?

Re:There goes Google... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29383723)

The fact that you still expect to get compensation for something your (presumably deceased) parents did in the distant past is not going to garner you much sympathy.

Re:There goes Google... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29383739)

In what way do you think Google is going to get rich off this deal? Under ideal circumstances, it might take 50 years to recompense the enormous cost of scanning every single book in the United States. Can you even imagine the amount of work that goes into that? There's a reason nobody else is involved in this so-called gold mine. And uh, sharing their entire library with all competitors? Money, meet toilet. Flush.

And yet you're telling me they're doing evil here because they haven't managed to personally track down the heir of two presumably dead writers? And this heir has apparently not even bothered to contact Google himself. Cry me a fucking river. How about you stop and realize how much Google is already doing to support one of the greatest knowledge-preserving enterprises the world has ever seen, and get off your couch and do your own miniscule part to direct the enterprise as it concerns you.

Re:There goes Google... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29383761)

Google has made absolutely ZERO attempt to ascertain the identity or whereabouts of the rightsholders of these "orphan" works. I'm one of them. I have been notified by Google about each of my in-print books (five in all), but NONE of my parents' books, even though they were published by HarperCollins, who used to send me royalty checks for those books and would no doubt be happy to tell Google how to reach me.

So that puts you squarely into category three, "copyright trolls looking to pounce on innocent infringers".

Do you expect anyone in this community to have pity for you? You are denying humanity the benefits of your parents' (out-of-print!) intellectual legacy; then you whine about Google who make it available for humanity, just because you want to wring even more money out of your parents?

I can't think of any insult strong enough, really.

Re:There goes Google... (1)

Estanislao Martnez (203477) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383839)

Google has made absolutely ZERO attempt to ascertain the identity or whereabouts of the rightsholders of these "orphan" works. I'm one of them. I have been notified by Google about each of my in-print books (five in all), but NONE of my parents' books, even though they were published by HarperCollins, who used to send me royalty checks for those books and would no doubt be happy to tell Google how to reach me.

So that puts you squarely into category three, "copyright trolls looking to pounce on innocent infringers".

Do you expect anyone in this community to have pity for you? You are denying humanity the benefits of your parents' (out-of-print!) intellectual legacy; then you whine about Google who make it available for humanity, just because you want to wring even more money out of your parents?

I think the GP is wrong, but I still do think there's something very fishy about what Google's getting away with. It's a really bad solution to a a real problem, here. I'd support if if Congress made some sort of compulsory licensing for orphaned books, or made it easier for such books to fall into the public domain, but when it's Google and the Authors' Guild doing backhanded deals between themselves, it is just Evil(TM).

Re:There goes Google... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29384067)

> just because you want to wring even more money out of your parents?

I think it would be even better written as:

just because you want to wring even more money out of your dead parents?

Re:There goes Google... (1, Insightful)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383791)

Google has made absolutely ZERO attempt to ascertain the identity or whereabouts of the rightsholders of these "orphan" works. I'm one of them. I have been notified by Google about each of my in-print books (five in all), but NONE of my parents' books, even though they were published by HarperCollins, who used to send me royalty checks for those books and would no doubt be happy to tell Google how to reach me.

Why don't you tell Google how and why to reach you? The whole 'orphan works' problem here would be taken care of quite easily if the US reverted back to our traditional practice of making copyright opt-in for published works. If an author cares about controlling the work, perhaps because he wants those royalty checks, he can surely spare a few minutes periodically to apply for copyrights, renew the copyrights, and to keep his contact information up to date and on file with the Copyright Office. If he sells or exclusively licenses the rights, then part of that transaction would again involve updating the Copyright Office. So long as the author cares, he can keep his copyright for only a token investment of time and money -- much like we do for patents or trademarks. If the author doesn't care or stops caring, he'll likely fail to apply for a copyright or fail to renew it, allowing the work to enter the public domain sooner. And after all, if the author doesn't care about his copyrights, who are we to disagree with him?

This worked fine for about 200 years, and it was a mistake ever getting away from it. We need to get back to this right away, making all the necessary changes in the law (e.g. withdrawing from Berne) in order to do so.

Re:There goes Google... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29383889)

Google has made absolutely ZERO attempt to ascertain the identity or whereabouts of the rightsholders of these "orphan" works.

Bullshit. There is no way you would know if they made "ZERO attempts". That pure FLAIM bait.

I have been notified by Google about each of my in-print books (five in all), but NONE of my parents' books,

Why would Google contact you about someone else's books? Are your parents deceased or something? Then that's where copyright should end. Quit crying about not getting paid for something someone else created.

even though they were published by HarperCollins, who used to send me royalty checks for those books and would no doubt be happy to tell Google how to reach me.

So you are making an ASSumption that HarperCollins would freely give out your personal information to anyone that asks? Nice.

Re:There goes Google... (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383899)

AFAICT the real results of the settlement is (AFAICT):

The creation a a new organization, the Book Rights Registry. Out-of-print books will now essentially have a compulsory license, with the BRR as the royalties collection agency. This is not quite a compulsory license system, because rights holder can opt out, but otherwise acts similarly.

Any organization can scan out-of-print books, and provide limited access to the books[1], and sell full copies of the book. The organizations will need to work with the BRR who sets the prices for out of print books, and also maintains the list of rightholders who have opted out, along with the works in question.

Right holders can collect royalties from the BRR, as well as set prices for book sales, or prohibit such sales, allowing only the limited preview access, allow only tiny fragment search results[2], or opt out entirely.

[1]Limited access being only a few pages as with Amazon's search inside this book feature, or Google's current book search for books where Google has a deal with the publishers.

[2] Allowing only tiny fragment results is like what Google currently does now for in-copyright works where the publisher has not partnered with Google to provide the preview features.
---------------

Now please note, I'm not sure this is the right way to go.

Even if it is, the way this was created is less than ideal, and nobody has ever explained this clearly to the media, which has led to far more confusion about this than should ever have come about.

Re:There goes Google... (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#29384983)

Oh, so *you* are one of those bastards who claims inherited royalties. Die now please and have no children.

Re:There goes Google... (2, Interesting)

wordsnyc (956034) | more than 4 years ago | (#29385237)

Too late, my spotty little friend. Tell me, should my son be allowed to inherit the business I started, or should it be seized the day after my death and distributed to the masses? If I rent out my house, should he be allowed to collect that rent after I croak? What is so special about intellectual property?

Re:There goes Google... (0)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383197)

again ... or for once or now and then perhaps?

Re:There goes Google... (1)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 4 years ago | (#29384771)

Being less evil again.

I dunno, obtaining a private court settlement which somehow gives it a private monopoly over works to which neither it nor the other party has any rights sounds pretty damn evil to me.

Comebine this with (2, Interesting)

UltimApe (991552) | more than 4 years ago | (#29382977)

the new asus ebook reader http://images.google.com/images?q=asus%20ebook%20reader [google.com] and it looks like books are on their way of the floppy.

Re:Comebine this with (4, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383005)

About 15 years ago, I got rid of the printer. I figured that the ONLY way to walk away from paper was to not print any (zaurus and newton are wonderful tools). ABout 7 years ago, I quit buying paperbacks. ALl of my new books were either hardcover or leather bound (easton press; great group). Now, I will go only with leather bound/acid free. I figure that top end books will go up in price, while everybody is moving to e-books.

Re:Comebine this with (3, Funny)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383183)

I take it you don't play musical instruments (with sheet music) a whole lot. :)

Re:Comebine this with (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383227)

Cornet in the 70's, piano every so often.

Re:Comebine this with (1)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383349)

I wouldn't even know where to *find* a leatherbound book, I thought that was something they stopped making in the 1800s. Sounds really cool though.

Re:Comebine this with (1)

Jared555 (874152) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383467)

I think barnes and noble and amazon sell them. (Of course not for every book, it is usually collectors editions, etc.)

Re:Comebine this with (1)

timbck2 (233967) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383697)

Easton Press [eastonpress.com] . Their books are hella expensive, but very good quality. They're sold on a subscription basis.

Barnes & Noble (and probably other publishers) have a few here and there, but they're of inferior quality, in general.

Re:Comebine this with (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383875)

You can always get a regular book rebound in leather. It's nice, but pricey.

Re:Comebine this with (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383531)

I figure that top end books will go up in price, while everybody is moving to e-books.

I think so as well - paper books will not go away, but they will become expensive, high-quality collector items, like vinyl records.

Re:Comebine this with (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29384571)

Sort of like how VHS went up in price after DVDs came along... Good plan.. Good plan..

This isn't your retirement fund, right?

Re:Comebine this with (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29383139)

>>the new asus ebook reader http://images.google.com/images?q=asus%20ebook%20reader [google.com]

That is a POS for an eReader. You're book shouldn't "die" every 2 hours and need to be recharged.

Floppies aren't dead either. I'm getting a torrent together of a Windows 7 installation from floppy. I've got it down to 2361 floppies, but should be able to compress it a little more.

Re:Comebine this with (1)

howe.chris (809831) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383201)

Floppies aren't dead either. I'm getting a torrent together of a Windows 7 installation from floppy. I've got it down to 2361 floppies, but should be able to compress it a little more.

And Windows "8" should be out be the time the first installation is done.

Re:Comebine this with (1)

jcwayne (995747) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383439)

Floppies aren't dead either. I'm getting a torrent together of a Windows 7 installation from floppy. I've got it down to 2361 floppies, but should be able to compress it a little more.

Just fashion a shank out of one and jab it in your eye. It's bound to be less painful.

Re:Comebine this with (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383171)

Surely you are joking right? The Asus Ebook reader isn't E-ink which means two things, one is shorter battery life and the other is more eye strain. Plus the Asus Ebook reader isn't cheap. Yeah, its cheaper than some with E-ink displays but it is by no means a game changer.

Interns? (2, Funny)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 4 years ago | (#29382991)

Who in the hell is actually going to do the scanning? I'd be wary of accepting an internship at the Googleplex right about now.

Re:Interns? (1)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383071)

Who in the hell is actually going to do the scanning?

Google has been scanning books into their system for several years using automated scanning mechanisms. I'm not sure exactly how it works, but I can tell you that it is definitely not intern-powered.

..... did you honestly think that people are sitting at their desk running books through flatbed scanners one page at a time?

Re:Interns? (4, Informative)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383319)

Google's book scanner is indeed robotic [slashdot.org] , and it doesn't need to press the pages flat. It uses two cameras and a light pattern projected on the page so that the curvature of the page can be determined, and thus eliminated via software.

Re:Interns? (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383357)

did you honestly think that people are sitting at their desk running books through flatbed scanners one page at a time?

no...with a decent scanner, they should be able to get two pages at a time.

Re:Interns? (1)

quickOnTheUptake (1450889) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383395)

A couple years back I was involved with some people doing digitization and at the time there were basically two options:
a) unbind the book and just feed it through an automatic scanner. This is fast but not good if you are dealing with old, rare books.
b)use a special table that is shaped like a V: you put the spine in the bottom of the V, and open to the first page, then a piece of plexiglass (also shapped like a V) drops down and holds the pages flat while two cameras each snap an image of each page. The plexiglass goes up, you flip the page, it drops . . . It took longer but I understand if you have cheap labour it is quite feasable, and can go surprisingly fast.
I know big libraries are involved in Google's digitization, so I wonder whether the libraries are using student workers to do this sort of work.

Re:Interns? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383089)

Who in the hell is actually going to do the scanning? I'd be wary of accepting an internship at the Googleplex right about now.

Don't worry. Asok is used to it by now.

What about non profits? (4, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383033)

Will libraries, project gutenberg, etc also be allowed access to these out of copyright files?

Re:What about non profits? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29383237)

Was there anything keeping them from having to those out of copyright files in the first place?

Re:What about non profits? (1)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383325)

The scanning activity is labor and the data in scanned form -- meaning pixels, not text, and text as a product of OCR, not the text of the book (even though, ideally, those are one in the same) is Google's property.

I therefore doubt that Gutenberg can have the files. They can link to them, though.

Can someone else answer this definitively?

Re:What about non profits? (1, Interesting)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383671)

The scanning activity is labor

Well, in the US at least, mere labor is insufficient for copyright to arise. Rather, a copyrightable work (or the copyrightable portions thereof) must be original and creative. Here, Google is engaged in slavish copying; they are copying extant works, so their scans are not original, and they are copying as exactly as they can, so they are not creative.

and text as a product of OCR

Again, though, they are copying as exactly as they can manage. This means the machine readable text will also not be independently copyrightable.

However, the uncopyrightable copies -- that is, the tangible media on which the scans and text are stored -- are Google's property, and they are not obligated to give anyone access to them unconditionally, much less at all. So while Google lacks a copyright on their copies of public domain works, they can condition access to those copies on users promising not to make their own copies from the scans or text, and to not engage in distribution of such copies. If a user did it anyway, it wouldn't be copyright infringement, but breach of contract.

Of course, Google could allow unrestricted access to those works just as easily. Given their 'don't be evil' ethos, that would be the appropriate thing for them to do.

Re:What about non profits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29383337)

Google's terms of service. :( They assert copyright over their scans and wrap it up in a set of terms of service that make you culpable if you copy from them in bulk. Google's deals with most libraries are mostly exclusive, so you can't just go scan the books yourself anymore. This really sucks. It's why archive.org tried to join in on the google settlement as another defendant, but the author's guild refused.

Re:What about non profits? (1)

quarterbuck (1268694) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383479)

Google has already agreed to provide access to libraries. The plan is to set up a google terminal in libraries so that people can access them.
It seems unlikely that they will allow Project Gutenberg any access though.

Re:What about non profits? (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 4 years ago | (#29384153)

Only some of them are out of copyright. And we don't know what proportion that "some" is.

Anyway, the answer is "NO!". Google signed deals with the libraries that had the books to only allow Google to scan the books. (Possibly not all the libraries, but at least some of them.)

What is this??? (1)

MM-tng (585125) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383187)

Imagine if this kind of behaviour catches on in corporate America. There would be nothing left to criticize. This could very well be the end of slashdot.

It happens all the time already (1)

MushMouth (5650) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383689)

Google saw the writing on the wall, they were going to lose, and they were taking a huge beating in the press while losing, and an even bigger one when they would eventually lose. So they did what most companies do, try to find a settlement.

One major concern (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383273)

From reading TFA it seems that Google is doing this voluntarily. Is there any guarantee that google will do this indefinitely and won't make any associated feeds unreasonably large?

Re:One major concern (2, Interesting)

Saysys (976276) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383423)

No, but voluntary regulation is always preferable to the innovation destruction inerrant in top-down regulation. It is only when voluntary regulation isn't working that top-down regulation becomes a necessary evil. That someone could use something for evil doesn't mean we need to keep them from using it for good.

Re:One major concern (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383711)

It would be better if they kept their advantage of having scanned all those books themselves but negotiated a deal allowing anybody to do what they have done!

Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29383379)

Did Google just tell Microsoft, firmly but politely, to go fuck off and die? Because it sure as hell seems that way. I really wouldn't want to be in Microsofts shoes right now, boy would I feel like a fucking douche.

How Is This a Good Thing? (2, Insightful)

mpapet (761907) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383449)

Don't you guys and girl get it?

Google is circumventing copyright law and capturing works that are in the public domain. Going forward, they monetize a previously free work eternally.

If information wants to be free, then how *exactly* is that freeing books?

Re:How Is This a Good Thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29383665)

Orphan books are not public domain... they are in a a very gray area

publc domain books are still free

http://books.google.com/books?id=VxVKAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=el+quijote#v=onepage&q=&f=false

Re:How Is This a Good Thing? (2, Insightful)

UCSCTek (806902) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383673)

To me, information freedom includes diffusivity. If no one actually sees the information, e.g. a pile of books sitting in a disused corner of a library, it is not "free". Google is allowing these books to be seen, through digitization and online availability, and asking to be reimbursed the labor cost.

Re:How Is This a Good Thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29383717)

It isn't. Remember the article breathlessly stated:

"Well, I would bet this has caught more than a few people by surprise."

And those more than few people are morons. Ths is a disingenuous, tactical move done at the last minute to throw people off at the meeting. Opening up free books to (large) competitors, for an access fee, is still restricting the books.

Google has done a fine job in creating a polarity in an issue that should not exist. The rarity of the book restricts access in numbers. The library withholidng the book restricts access via private ownership. Google says they'll allow access, on their terms, so people who want to see the book cry "hooray" while the rest who want the public domain works actually released just cry. They've created a wedge by the restricted access and will only play with the big players.

I should remind people not only to be pissed at Google, but also every educational institution that restricted the public domain works in their collection while have years upon years of opportunity to release it to the general public. Ivory towers indeed.

Re:How Is This a Good Thing? (2, Informative)

Tauvix (97917) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383805)

If a work is in the public domain, then it is no longer protected by copyright law in regards to the possibility of circumventing it. What they are doing is creating a derivative work of a public domain work (which they are free to do, as the original owner no longer has rights in regard to how the materials are used), which they will then own copyright on until such time as that expires and their scans/ocr of the original text enters the public domain, at which point you are free to use their materials to do whatever you like.

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_domain [wikipedia.org]

On the other hand, what Google seems to be doing, and what is the contention of The Author's Guild and others, is taking orphaned works, those works still under copyright, but are A) no longer in active production, and B) the owner of the copyright cannot be easily located, and creating a derivative work of those. The legal status of which is questionable at best.

Additionally, as a derivative work, Google will only hold copyright on any changes they make, not to the original text itself.

See: http://www.photosig.com/go/main/help?name=help/copyright [photosig.com]
and
http://www.copyright.gov/ [copyright.gov]

All of the above only holds true in the USA, laws differ around the world.

Re:How Is This a Good Thing? (3, Insightful)

fan777 (932195) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383835)

Maybe free as in liberating rather than price? I don't mean to threadcrap but I thought Google's intent was to take books that basically nobody have access to anymore and making them available. What use is a previously free work that nobody can read? Ideally, publishers should take the initiative to make all out-of-print, rare, orphaned books available.

Re:How Is This a Good Thing? (1)

city (1189205) | more than 4 years ago | (#29384329)

I'm not sure I do get it yet, but I think I'll at least wait until Google digitizes everything before I get too worked up over it. None of these works do me any good if I can't get to them. And it doesn't bother me if wordsnyc (above) doesn't get paid for his parent's work.

Re:How Is This a Good Thing? (1)

samantha (68231) | more than 4 years ago | (#29384917)

Quite a leap there. Out of print books are not available digitally for the vast majority at all. Someone makes them available digitally and charges a fee to some commercial users. That it no way says the fee will always be there or that it will apply to those who are merely readers. Actually I would be very suprised if they did not drop this fee and only proposed it to have something else to give away as a negotiation point. I am continually amazed when people do not see a step toward much better as good because it isn't an immediate leap to their ideal paradisical situation. They see the step in the right direction as evil. Odd lot these humans.

Doesn't Google already offer free viewing? (1)

zero0ne (1309517) | more than 4 years ago | (#29383589)

Doesn't google already offer you the ability to freely view all these books on their site? Can't I just go to books.google.com and browse freely and completely through any public domain books?

The article sounds like it's more "here is an API for all you scumbags if you actually want to charge people for this information, but we are still going to offer viewing of the books on our site for free [with our ads of course]"

I'm not sure how this is bad. Smart users still get free access to all the books, and companies can build a simple application that allows them to charge their dumbass customers money for something that is and should be free

It's the data stupid! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29383907)

Meh.

The biggest(?) value of the Google Books Corpus will probably come from data mining (see Prof. Samuelson's critique [thepublicindex.org] ). Google is throwing out a little crumb here. They'll still have monopoly control over facts that can be extracted from these texts.

I am not surprised (1)

samantha (68231) | more than 4 years ago | (#29384887)

Google's goal is to make all the world's data accessible computationally - indexable, searchable, findable and available to any other computation that can be performed on it such as data mining, concept extraction, knowledge extraction, translation, and so on. It in no way needs to be the sole access path to the data in order to do this. So there is no logical reason it would not offer access te the digitized books through non-google channels. Its plan is much broader and not nearly so evil as trying to own all the information/data.

what I want (1)

samantha (68231) | more than 4 years ago | (#29384951)

What I really want is digital versions of all books in my library and all books I will ever care to read. I have no use anymore for dead trees and unsearchable text. I hope someone offers a reasonable price on digital versions of all books I already own.

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