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Delay, Renegotiation Sought For Google Books Settlement

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the back-to-the-drawing-board dept.

Books 83

Miracle Jones writes "The Google Books settlement has been removed from consideration by Google and the Authors Guild after the DoJ made it crystal clear that the settlement would not be ratified 'as is' due to foreign rights, privacy, and antitrust reasons. The October 7th 'fairness hearing' has been canceled, and the next step is a November 6th 'status hearing' where the plaintiffs will reveal changes to the new settlement, such as how they plan to make it more fair, legal, and inclusive, and whether or not they will need to notify all the members of the class action lawsuit (7 million writers or so) yet again as a result of the changes. Some people are very happy about this."

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fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29515739)

fp

A Small Victory for "Good" in Battle v. "Evil" (2, Interesting)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 5 years ago | (#29515899)

Google tried a fast one, the global publishing equivalent of tightly packaging a web browser with an OS, and got caught. The only "negotiations" up to this point had been akin to the conversation the kid has with the candy jar. Now, perhaps, a genuine dialogue can begin.

Re:A Small Victory for "Good" in Battle v. "Evil" (3, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#29516313)

Google tried a fast one, the global publishing equivalent of tightly packaging a web browser with an OS, and got caught.

How is that exactly?

The only "negotiations" up to this point had been akin to the conversation the kid has with the candy jar. Now, perhaps, a genuine dialogue can begin.

There was a genuine dialogue between the Author's Guild and Google. What, you think this rejection is going to result in Microsoft and librarians testifying in the DoJ's analysis of this deal? I highly doubt it. The official word makes it sound like they want it to be 100 pages of clauses instead of 2 pages [thepublicindex.org] but we all know it's essentially going to come down to one hundred million dollars from Google to the Authors Guild with opt out abilities for any author or publisher. Some clauses on orphaned works, some clauses on allowing your competitors sales rights (already promised), subscriptions for libraries (already promised) some more clauses on this and that. And BOOM! it's done. Even Google seems to think they're just going to rework and resubmit [out-law.com] . Is this what you mean by "genuine dialogue" and how does that make this deal less evil?

Re:A Small Victory for "Good" in Battle v. "Evil" (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29518957)

Some clauses on orphaned works,

That's one of the big ones right there, since the way Google's deal was set up the first time around, "orphaned works" weren't always "orphaned works". They basically equated "orphaned works" to "not for sale in the USA, but quite likely still in print and under copyright in their countries of origin however we don't care."

Winners and losers from a half solution (2, Interesting)

bzzfzz (1542813) | more than 5 years ago | (#29515905)

Hopefully whatever comes of this will help out groups like IMSLP [imslp.org] that are working on books and other media outside the text-centric Google mold. Orphaned copyright, and excessive copyright terms in general, are too large a problem to let an almost "good enough" solution like Google Books carry the day.

Re:Winners and losers from a half solution (2, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#29516619)

Yeah, because half a solution is worse than none at all. Especially when someone isn't getting their place at the trough.

Historical analogy (4, Interesting)

TorKlingberg (599697) | more than 5 years ago | (#29515967)

This is like when airplanes were invented. Before that if you owned land, you owned it all the way up to the sky. Imagine if every airline and hobby pilot had to get permission from each individual owner of the land they would fly over. Well, it was decided that property rights would have to yield to progress. There are of course limitations, such as how low you can fly, noise and other things that actually affect the land owner.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_rights [wikipedia.org]

Re:Historical analogy (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 5 years ago | (#29522949)

Indeed but IMO a class action settlement is not really going to solve much. this settlement could easilly end up giving google a monopoly or nesr monopoly (particulally if there is another similar lawsuit that goes to the end and rules against the clone of google books)

Personally I don't think class actions should be allowed to be settled at all but if they are going to be the implications of those settlements need to be carefully considered (as it seems this one is being) before approval.

What this really needs is either a sufficiantly high court to rule it if fair use (as IIRC google claimed in thier defense) or legislation explicitly dealing with orphaned works.

Re:Historical analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29525677)

Close, but not quite.

This is as if when this came up with airplanes, the first farmer sued the first airline in a US court, and somehow that ended up with the Florida Farmers' Association giving international "air rights" to Panam over all "orphan" properties that are not formally registered in the US.

It's broken because:
- The settlement exceeds the scope of the original litigation, in terms of "land"
- The parties exceed the scope of their legitimate representation
- The "air rights" in question exceed the jurisdiction of the legal system for the original litigation
- Establishes a precedent whereas "Panam" is cleared from future litigation, but other airlines would need to come to other 'agreements' - perhaps with those same Florida farmers? - before flying over any land, anywhere.

Attribution (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#29527563)

That is from Lawrence Lessig's Creative Commons. The book is available at bookstores, the public library, and for free from his web site. It's a good read, and I recommend it to anyone interested in this debate.

Google should just... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29516021)

donate their questionable results to the Library of Congress and get a tax deduction for their expenses.

It's just an ugly mess that arose from well, doing things without taking the consequences into account first.

FTFA (1)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 5 years ago | (#29516047)

"The Justice Department told U.S. District Judge Denny Chin in a brief filed last week that the agreement threatens to give Google the power to increase book prices and discourage competition,"

Wait, how is offering out-of-print books discouraging competition? I thought part of being an out-of-print book is that there is no competition because there is nobody printing the book anymore...

Re:FTFA (3, Informative)

zoward (188110) | more than 5 years ago | (#29516331)

Wait, how is offering out-of-print books discouraging competition? I thought part of being an out-of-print book is that there is no competition because there is nobody printing the book anymore...

I think book publishers are afraid that you won't buy their latest offerings, preferring instead to download some out-of-print book you can get for free from Google. It seems unlikely, especially since you can currently download many of the classics (ie, the best-of-breed out of print books) for free from sites like Project Gutenberg [gutenberg.org] .

Re:FTFA (1)

ajs (35943) | more than 5 years ago | (#29519811)

And if the publisher lobby could have its way, copyright would be re-applied to those older works because every download of a public domain book is, in a certain light, a reduction in publisher profit.

I know that that's absurd, but that's exactly why they want to stop Google from offering OOP books.

What makes me sad is that most of the Slashdot crowd is convinced that when they want to share music, that's fine, but when Google wants to put libraries online, there's something in it that will cause their milk to sour and their cat to die. Sad, really.

Re:FTFA (1)

david_thornley (598059) | more than 5 years ago | (#29521261)

What makes me sad is that most of the Slashdot crowd is convinced that when they want to share music, that's fine, but when Google wants to put libraries online, there's something in it that will cause their milk to sour and their cat to die. Sad, really.

You're missing something. The problem is that Google, and only Google, puts libraries online. Other parties have tried to get in on the deal, and have been told to get lost.

If the deal was open to anybody interested, most of us would be all in favor of it. However, we tend not to like monopolies, even ones with the motto "Don't be evil." Google's search monopoly can be overthrown by anybody with a better idea (those who live by the low barrier to entry can die by the low barrier to entry), but a formal supercopyright is another thing entirely.

Re:FTFA (1)

ajs (35943) | more than 5 years ago | (#29521385)

The problem is that Google, and only Google, puts libraries online. Other parties have tried to get in on the deal, and have been told to get lost.

If there are such other parties (and I haven't heard any specifics yet about there being any such cases), then they have every right to bring an anti-trust suit against the publishers. Google doesn't really have any way to force the publishers to change their stance on this, nor are they responsible for such.

Re:FTFA (3, Interesting)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#29516473)

I guess you haven't heard, but it is possible to actually keep a book rather than throwing it away after it has been read. There are stores which specifically cater to the idea of buying old books, most of them being out of print. These books are not "popular" in the current sense and therefore have obviously failed, but some places still offer them for sale.

The concept of a book is an interesting one, but if Google gets their way a "book" will be a quaint collector's item that some funny old people have whereas everyone else gets their books from Google. Together with some ads. The idea of a "used book" will become about as popular as a "used kleenex" primarily because of the actions of a single corporation. Isn't this something that we, as a society, might want to think about a little bit before doing it?

Re:FTFA (3, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#29516777)

I see your point. Why don't we start a movement to bring back scrolls made of papyrus or parchment? I mean, those guys have been suffering for hundreds of years now. Paperback and hardback books were unfair competition to an ages old profession.

Seriously, I love books. I'm also fearful of moving into a world where physical books don't exist. If the electricity goes out, and the batteries go dead, you CAN'T READ ebooks. But, all the same, I see no rational reason for preventing electronic libraries. At this point in time, I see no objection to Google's plans, but whether it's Google or any other company, let's get the out of print books online.

Dead tree publishers will just have to adapt somehow. Think of it as a carbon credit. Every book that you download and read saves a few pounds of cellulose, somewhere.

Re:FTFA (2, Informative)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 5 years ago | (#29517913)

perhaps I'm wrong about this, but using dead trees isn't really a problem in terms of carbon consumption. It may have other environmental factors (the types of trees grown on tree farms for use in paper mills do tend to grow quickly, sap the ground until it is effectively dead, and replace native species. The issue with paper made from trees is one of resource management related to other fields than carbon trapping. When we turn it into a book, the carbon in the tree is still trapped, not released into the atmosphere (unless you are a fan of burning books, in which case, some might become atmospheric depending on the level of your burn and whether or not you included steinbeck's works in your affair).

Re:FTFA (2, Insightful)

ajs (35943) | more than 5 years ago | (#29520299)

perhaps I'm wrong about this, but using dead trees isn't really a problem in terms of carbon consumption.

Planting, harvesting, grinding, processing, shipping and printing on that tree, however....

Re:FTFA (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#29527915)

(the types of trees grown on tree farms for use in paper mills do tend to grow quickly

Which would seem to sequester more carbon faster than a slow growing tree, although I'm not sure about that.

Re:FTFA (1)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 5 years ago | (#29541363)

Yes on sequestering carbon faster... problematically, they also sap everything useful out of the ground (which then either requires chemical fertilizers--nasty on the environment) or crop rotation / resting. Also problematically, one of the most commonly used trees, the eucalyptus, grows like a weed almost anywhere you find a paper mill and chokes out whatever was already there... that and it's inedible to many native animal species (apart from its original home) and the problem is compounded. It's a toss up as to whether or not paper tree farms are environmentally a problem.

Of perhaps greater import, recent initiatives in the US have pushed for more trees to be planted everywhere. This is despite the fact that significantly more trees/forests exist than a 100 years ago (look at a US forestry service historical survey for more on that), and the need for balance. One disturbing claim to me was that we needed to return the forests to Kansas, which, if I recall correctly, was actually part of the "Great American Desert" / great Plains until recent changes. I am all for having more trees, but to say that environmental responsibility requires the US to turn the Great Plains into Amazon2 is a bit much.

Who is more evil? (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 5 years ago | (#29516933)

> primarily because of the actions of a single corporation.

"Single"? How exactly does your post jive with the reality of the Kindle's DRM? Or am I missing something?

And with regard to the main point of your post, I hate to tell you, but in most of the better futures we could have, dead-tree books are eventually going to be "quaint collector's items", no matter what your personal opinion about is. And yes, this may take a generation, or two....

Re:Who is more evil? (1)

ajs (35943) | more than 5 years ago | (#29521337)

dead-tree books are eventually going to be "quaint collector's items"

I don't buy that. Why would this change? Sure, consumption may drop as things like physical reference books may die out a bit. But, I just don't see myself going with an electronic version of most of my books. I could today. I have the Kindle app on my iPhone and I have several computers. I can read PDFs or browse the web. But, sometimes I want a BOOK. I want something that's I can spill coffee on and lose exactly one book. I want something that I can take to bed and not worry about breaking it.

The only thing that could replace a physical book completely for me would be a cheap, nearly disposable, device that could connect to a wall-display showing me all of my "books". The technology is no where near that.

*Eventually* (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 5 years ago | (#29529333)

> The technology is no where near that.

But eventually it will get there (barring global disasters, etc., which is why I qualified it as only perhaps in the better futures). We, however, might not live long enough to see it, so I don't think you should really worry about it on a personal level.

Re:Who is more evil? (1)

Omestes (471991) | more than 5 years ago | (#29524073)

And with regard to the main point of your post, I hate to tell you, but in most of the better futures we could have, dead-tree books are eventually going to be "quaint collector's items", no matter what your personal opinion about is. And yes, this may take a generation, or two....

How is this going to happen? How will these futures be "better"? Better at what? Better for whom? No offense, but so far you haven't said anything. Are these "better futures" like the "better futures" of the past with ubiquitous personal robots, flying cars, and personal space travel, not to mention the various kitchens of the future?

I doubt books are dying any time soon, much less in "a generation or two". That is a bit like stating that "writing will die in a generation or two".

how the futures are "better"! (1)

gnu-user (162334) | more than 5 years ago | (#29528075)

2 examples....

1) I went to visit my grad student mother 5 years ago in New Hampshire. On a whim, I went to the U library and looked at the computers. I looked up a relatively obscure 18th century figure I'm interested on the library catalog. There, on the catalog system were digitized copies of small run monographs that were only really available in a few british libraries. At the time I was floored.

2) In the context of something totally different, I became fascinated by the role of Mark Twain as blurring what "honesty" means. About 15 minutes of googling came up with a Google books reference i would likely have never found otherwise that spoke in a rich and direct way to my thoughts. I ended up buying a used copy of the book. It was an academic book, and I would not have been a likely candidate for purchasing it (I couldn't justify the $60 it would have cost to buy new).

I love books. I grew up with books. Kindle may be getting there, but books are a great form factor. That said, books are still just a medium. The message is what really counts. Putting culture online has many wonderful and far-reaching effects. It also is, and will continue to create a sea-change which will undoubtedly hurt people.

Re:Who is more evil? (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 5 years ago | (#29529421)

> How will these futures be "better"?

"Better" in that technology continues to progress rather than be stopped by various possible global disasters. That is all

> books ... writing

As another poster has pointed out to you, I didn't say that books would die out, I said that eventually dead-tree books would die out. Of course books, in whatever different form they will take in the future, will remain with us (although, I could see it being possible that text-only books might also become relics or at least be looked upon as an unusual retro art form).

Re:Who is more evil? (1)

Omestes (471991) | more than 5 years ago | (#29531835)

I could see it being possible that text-only books might also become relics or at least be looked upon as an unusual retro art form).

Sadly they already are by a large segment of the population. Whatever happens to books probably won't matter to a huge swash of the population, so I doubt that there will be much innovation in the long run.

Re:FTFA (2, Insightful)

ajs (35943) | more than 5 years ago | (#29520203)

if Google gets their way a "book" will be a quaint collector's item

I'm sorry, I'm just not seeing it. You'll have to explain it to me. Why will I no longer want my books?

everyone else gets their books from Google.

Or whoever else makes a deal with the publishers. Remember that the publishers don't have their hands tied. They can make licensing deals with anyone they want.

The idea of a "used book" will become about as popular as a "used kleenex" primarily because of the actions of a single corporation. Isn't this something that we, as a society, might want to think about a little bit before doing it?

Why would used books go away? I buy used books. I would continue to buy used books. What changes?

Re:FTFA (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 5 years ago | (#29525383)

Why will I no longer want my books?
 
Storage, mobility and ease of reference.
 
Why haul 500 pounds of books from place to place (plus associated bookcases, etc) when you can have all of that and more in a single tiny ebook reader that you can scan, "thumb-through" and search with ease?
 
I have hundreds of ebooks ranging from fiction to Perl programming, and everything in between. With the exception of what's in the bookcase right beside my computer desk, most of my "real" books have now been banished to boxes in the basement. And believe me, that's a real change from what this room looked like a couple of years ago.

Re:FTFA (1)

ajs (35943) | more than 5 years ago | (#29533427)

Why haul 500 pounds of books from place to place (plus associated bookcases, etc) when you can have all of that and more in a single tiny ebook reader that you can scan, "thumb-through" and search with ease?

1. ... from my cold, dead hands.
2. Because my books are part of my home
3. Because I like to browse books passively without picking up a device. I'm often reminded of something simply by walking into a room that has a bookshelf.
4. Because no UI has ever matched the utility of flipping through a book.
5. Because there's value in simply being reminded of the books you're started but not finished whenever you walk into your home.
6. Because I don't need to worry about power or upgrades or versions.

Don't get me wrong. I'm no Luddite. I'm happy to use an e-reader, I just have no desire to give up my library, nor will I suddenly develop one.

Good (4, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | more than 5 years ago | (#29516199)

Class action lawsuits shouldn't be allowed to absolve future infringement against an entire class just because a few people agreed to the terms. This settlement should have dealt solely with liability for past infringement, and terms of further distribution should be handled in an opt-in manner, or by changing the law (which does need to be changed to better handle abandoned works).

Perhaps (2, Interesting)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 5 years ago | (#29517717)

Personally, I understand your position, but I lean more to preferring a half-bad workaround to the current bad law, as opposed to waiting for it to be changed for the better, when the direction of recent changes are all in the opposite direction.

Frankly, I'd have been OK for the DoJ to have come out with a few recommended changes which remove Google from a monopoly position, while maintaining the orphaned works workaround.

Re:Perhaps (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 5 years ago | (#29525409)

The best way for it ("it" being the state of copyright law) to become genuinely better may be for it to become tremendously bad.
 
Therefore, a half-bad workaround is arguably worse than none at all.

Re:Good (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#29528345)

Opt-in is fine for works still for sale, but it doesn't work at all for out of print or orphan works. Copyright is supposed to be so works are created and available, not for the authors to be able to keep them hidden.

The problems are copyright length and automatic copyright without registration. If you had to log on to the Library of Congress and register your work (for free), and your copyright only lasted 14 years with ability to extend it another 14 years, the "orphan works" and "out of print" problems wouldn't exists.

"...very happy about this." (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29516355)

I clicked on the last link of the summary, which brought me to a page that has several pictures of stock car drivers in victory poses.

Are we to suppose this website got the rights from NASCAR and other related property holders to use these images?

Just a thought, since they seem to be a group championing "digital rights".

"Of course they're guilty! Filthy pirates!".. uggh (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 5 years ago | (#29517937)

> Are we to suppose this website got the rights from NASCAR and other related property holders to use these images?

Are we to suppose guilt without proof now, just because it has to do with crimes which are easy to commit, even unintentionally?

Just a thought, that maybe we all should be trying to champion "constitutional rights"? (Instead of jumping down each other's throats for no good reason whatsoever? You're going to tell me that you've never forwarded an email you got from someone else to a third party, without proper licensing from the author of the message, for example?)

What did Google do wrong? (5, Insightful)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 5 years ago | (#29516429)

I don't understand what Google is doing wrong. Can somebody please explain it what it is that so many people and corporations object to? I've read a bunch of articles but none have explained what the actual underlying problem is.

The closest thing I've heard that makes sense is that a book (unlike a web page) was never written with the understanding that it would be read and indexed by a machine. But really, I have a hard time seeing how this would hurt authors or publishers or anybody. The benefits seem great.

-ec

Re:What did Google do wrong? (2, Informative)

pavon (30274) | more than 5 years ago | (#29516709)

This is nothing like indexing. The terms of the settlement (which are actually broader than what google was doing before it was sued) are more like google going through the WSJ subscription only archives and posting preview copies of the works on it's own site. Then google will sell you the full copy, and pay the WSJ what they decide to pay, whether the WSJ agreed to any of this or not. It's not hard to see why the WSJ would take issue with this.

Re:What did Google do wrong? (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 5 years ago | (#29519985)

What, like a compulsory license [wikipedia.org] , where somebody can distribute an audio/visual copyrighted work for a fee decide by judges, regardless of how the owner feels about it?

I wonder why copyrighted texts aren't treated the same.

Re:What did Google do wrong? (1, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | more than 5 years ago | (#29516761)

Imagine I wrote a book. That book was made in 1.000 copies and is not on the market anymore. I am the copyright holder and want to keep it that way for whatever reason. That is what copyright is about.

Now Google comes and suddenly has the right to re-produce it.

Now obviously you can start disagreeing about the copyright (and especially the duration). The fact is that I now have a copyright and Google takes away those rights.

Re:What did Google do wrong? (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 5 years ago | (#29516991)

Oh. I didn't understand that they were going to republish anything more than just excerpts (which I believe would be fair use).

Re:What did Google do wrong? (1)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 5 years ago | (#29517961)

There are already companies set up and re-printing books, paying a fee to google for the use of their archive of out of print material. I think there was an article on it recently here but don't remember the name of machine used.

Re:What did Google do wrong? (2, Interesting)

gnu-user (162334) | more than 5 years ago | (#29518185)

Can you provide any actual cases even remotely resembling this? I do not believe you can, and thus i believe your argument carries almost no weight.

The settlement specifically applies to works where the intent of the copyright owner is not discoverable. Your example seems to have no application here.

Authors wishes raise some interesting questions. Some that seem worth mentioning.

1) Kafka explicitly did requested his work not be published. Should we honor his wishes? This is not an uncommon situation.

2) At what point do the authors wishes expire? One of the central goals of copyright is to expire that right. Given that the works in question are all quite old, and that the probability that the author has expired, what credence should we give that authors wishes.

3) Since the original book can be resold, and viewed by non-owners (i.e. library patrons) and the right to control that is explicitly denied the author, what distinguishes the Googles attempts?

Re:What did Google do wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29519415)

Imagine I wrote a book. That book was made in 1.000 copies and is not on the market anymore. I am the copyright holder and want to keep it that way for whatever reason. That is what copyright is about.

Wrong. That is not what copyright is about.

"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

Copyright is about ensuring that creators are given the chance to profit from their creation before it passes into the public domain in order to encourage them to create things that may be of benefit to all.

Re:What did Google do wrong? (1)

Shagg (99693) | more than 5 years ago | (#29519605)

That is what copyright is about

No. That is not what copyright is about, that's the problem. Copyright has never been about guaranteeing control.

Re:What did Google do wrong? (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 5 years ago | (#29520047)

The public gives an author copyright to induce him to create for the benefit of the public.

If the author ceases to share to the detriment of the public, he is no longer fulfilling his end of the agreement and the public may take back what they have given him.

If you don't want to share, don't register your copyright and only sell/give your texts under an NDA.

Re:What did Google do wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29522963)

No, your rights aren't being taken away. Any verifiable author is free to opt-out of the system at any time.

Re:What did Google do wrong? (1)

HunterD (13063) | more than 5 years ago | (#29524157)

This is patently false. Under the settlement, any book for whom the rights holder can be established, said rights holder has the right to pull the book from the google book search for whatever retarded reason they have justified this to themselves. The only 'special' right google has is to redistribute works for which the rights holder cannot be found.

This is in practice a very small percentage of the works, as the rights holders are actively being sought out by the author's guild.

The idea that works that have intellectual value should be kept away from the public because it has become functionally impossible to find the person who has the rights is a blatant violation of the copyright clause, which states:

"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

How does keeping something secret from the public when a work has been abandoned promote the progress of the useful arts?

Re:What did Google do wrong? (1)

slaingod (1076625) | more than 5 years ago | (#29525293)

Except of course you could ask Google to withdraw your book at any time according to the settlement.

If you wanted to keep your book PRIVATE then you shouldn't have made it PUBLIC by PUBLIshing it.

Copyright is not intended prevent works from being published, it is intended to PROMOTE works being published.

Re:What did Google do wrong? (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#29516789)

Really?
You don't see the problem with Google going around to libraries, scanning millions of books, indexing them, then providing access?

Google is not the copyright holder for these books, yet they are essentially printing infinite (digital, you know) copies. Then giving them away for free. Or for pay. Sometimes with money going back to the copyright holder.

It's illegal for you to make copies of a book with a scanner. Why is it not illegal for Google to do the same on a scale of millions, while also providing access to them online?

Sure - preserving shit is good. Especially shit that's out of print. But Google shouldn't have some magical right to ignore the law that everyone else doesn't have.

Google basically went full steam ahead, got sued, and tried to pay them off while granting itself exclusive immunity for the future.

Under the proposed agreement, Google could scan index publish, and sell/give away your latest novel without you seeing a fucking dime, and there's nothing you could do about it.

Oh, and under that same proposed agreement, only magical Google would have those rights.

We're going to need a robots.txt for fucking books now.

Re:What did Google do wrong? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29517309)

One. Out of print means you are not getting a dime anyway for you book 'sales' they are used book sales. Two, if more people read your book they may want more which could lead to A) it being published again or B) an offer for another book. Yeah real bad for you the author. The thing I think is missing is what if a book is to be republished? How do remove those electronic copies? Probably you don't so do book on demand printing and have people pay for a printed copy with the usual royalty rates or maybe even a newly negotiated royalty rate.

I am not sure but I believe the original proposal was that the author also had to be dead first so, you, the author really don't care. Maybe your estate cares, but you are a bit beyond that.

The good thing I think is that this may be modified to be for all possible groups that want to come along and do what Google is doing differently, but with the same books or set of books at least. Like 1984 for example.

Re:What did Google do wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29528417)

One. Out of print means you are not getting a dime anyway for you book 'sales' they are used book sales.

Except the the definition of "out of print" used in the settlement was something along the lines of "not available through the normal channels in the US", so books published and currently available in other countries but not the US (e.g. because they are in a foreign language) count as out of print.

Re:What did Google do wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29522835)

sexconker said:
"It's illegal for you to make copies of a book with a scanner."

I'd like a legal citation where this is explicitly stated. None of my reading on copyright has made this claim. And, from http://www.alltech-tsi.org/resources/digital-text.php, "In 1996, Congress passed a copyright exemption that eliminated the need to receive permission from publishers before reproducing text in digital format for the use of individuals who have disabilities." So there appears to be some leeway in this.

Re:What did Google do wrong? (5, Interesting)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#29516873)

Rough translation of the current state of affairs:

Google has been eyeballing this huge mass of abandoned property, as have a few other companies. Google has finally moved toward putting this property to some use. Understand, the use is not an "exclusive" thing - they are just going to use it, since no one else is. Little kids can still romp and play on the property, people can do anything they like.

But, other corporations see Google preparing to use the property, and fear that Google might make money from it in some way. Of course, if there is any financial gain to be had, then "MY COMPANY" should be entitled to some of it.

In effect, the new negotiations are meant to ensure that other people and companies CAN make money. There really isn't much more to it than that.

Odd, that Project Gutenberg has been quietly doing the same thing for some years now, and no one has jumped on them. No one else has volunteered to step forward, and get their hands dirty. Much ado about nothing, IMHO

Re:What did Google do wrong? (2, Informative)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 5 years ago | (#29516969)

I thought Project Gutenberg was doing this only with public domain works. That would be the big difference, no?

Re:What did Google do wrong? (0)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#29517127)

I summarized my view. IMO, "abandoned works", "out of print", "public domain", "creative commons", and a variety of other terms are very nearly interchangeable. Bottom line is, no one is using them, no one is making any effort to protect their "IP" rights, no one is doing anything.

Please don't be pedantic by showing me links to legal terms - I will insist that they are effectively the same.

"Use it, or lose it"

Re:What did Google do wrong? (2, Interesting)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 5 years ago | (#29517263)

I mostly agree with you with the exception of certain out of print books. Somebody in another part of the thread mentioned than an author may deliberately choose to have only a small print run. I hadn't thought of that before. The work may then be valuable because it is scarce or out of print.

Re:What did Google do wrong? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#29517663)

I missed that post. And, I certainly never though of "limited editions" of an author's works. Now that you mention it, I'm asking myself, "Is that ethical?"

Ethical or not, it's food for thought.

Re:What did Google do wrong? (2, Informative)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#29518269)

Limited edition runs would still be valuable since google's print is not an original. Ontop of that authors defending their copyright can opt out.

Re:What did Google do wrong? (2, Informative)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 5 years ago | (#29519055)

There are some other issues relating to copyright material distributed under GFDL and some CC licenses. Redistribution is allowed, but certain nonfinancial conditions are attached, applying to the distributor and/or to the recipient. A financial settlement, which is meaningless in the context of GFDL or CC material, cannot absolve the distributor from the nonfinancial duties associated with distribution.
General GFDL conditions for distribution can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GFDL#Conditions [wikipedia.org] . Additionally, if anyone distributes GFDL documents in quantity, they are obliged to make available also the associated document source (such as LaTeX), and if it is a program manual for a GPL program, they must also make the program source code available. There are analogous issues for the several variants on CC licenses http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_Commons#Types_of_Creative_Commons_licenses [wikipedia.org] .
Even the FSF is against the Google settlement...

Re:What did Google do wrong? (3, Insightful)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 5 years ago | (#29518325)

Your insistence does not make it fact, however. Each of those options have different names because they are different things, with different rights, responsibilities, and qualities.

You say that "no-one is using them, no one is making any effort to protect their IP rights, no one is doing anything". Categorically, that only applies to public domain works.

Creators of ''abandoned works" and "out of print" material will often act to protect their IP rights, despite not republishing them. This is very common with computer software. There may be a good reason not to reprint the material. They may be attempting to create artificial scarcity. They may be holding out for a better publishing deal. They may decide that the cost of publishing will outweigh any returns, but wish to prevent the work from being republished by others in order to generate revenues on other works (for example, Microsoft does not sell Word 2000- but presumably they would act immediately and stringently to block infringement of their rights on that work because the limitation on accessibility to Word 2000 sells more copies of Word 2007).

Creative commons material is a different beast entirely. People who publish their work under the creative commons license will often act strongly to protect their works and those same works are probably still being published under said license.

The only work to which your argument applies is the works in the public domain, which have passed out of copyright, which never had copyright on them, or which copyright has been renounced. These, of course, anyone is free to do anything with and nobody is saying otherwise.

Your argument is remarkably short-sighted in that it presumes that work that is not being currently put to use has been abandoned to the public domain. This is simply wrong, and it is not an assumption you, nor Google, has a right to make. There are procedures in place to allow work to be placed in the public domain. If a creator wishes to do that, they have that option. Why should you have the right to act as if they intended to do something, when in fact, had they intended to do that, they could easily have done so but have not?

Re:What did Google do wrong? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#29519129)

"Your argument is remarkably short-sighted in that it presumes that work that is not being currently put to use has been abandoned to the public domain. This is simply wrong, and it is not an assumption you, nor Google, has a right to make."

I am a presumptuous bastard. If you leave your car parked on my property for several months, I will presume it to be abandoned, and use the car as I see fit. Likewise, leaving a published work unattended for a number of years indicates that you have no intention of using it, and that it SHOULD go into the public domain. We might argue over how many years is sufficient to indicate that the work has been abandoned, but at some point, I will win the argument. Copyright law backs me up.

"You say that "no-one is using them, no one is making any effort to protect their IP rights, no one is doing anything". Categorically, that only applies to public domain works."

No, you are categorically wrong. Google has offered an "opt out" deal. Any publisher or IP owner who is blissfully ignorant of that deal, and fails to take advantage of it, is demonstrably NOT protecting their IP rights. They have done NOTHING.

Again, the distinctions are merely legal distinctions, quibbled over by lawyers, at the expense of one and all. For my purposes, they are all the same - they grant me the right to presume that the owner doesn't care enough to protect his property.

Re:What did Google do wrong? (1)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 5 years ago | (#29522413)

Likewise, leaving a published work unattended for a number of years indicates that you have no intention of using it, and that it SHOULD go into the public domain. We might argue over how many years is sufficient to indicate that the work has been abandoned, but at some point, I will win the argument. Copyright law backs me up.

I do not agree, and you will not win. Your argument is based on an entirely mistaken interpretation of copyright law, and the law in general, that conflates a whole bunch of totally separate constructs.

No, you are categorically wrong. Google has offered an "opt out" deal. Any publisher or IP owner who is blissfully ignorant of that deal, and fails to take advantage of it, is demonstrably NOT protecting their IP rights. They have done NOTHING.

You do not, apparently, understand the meaning of the term 'categorically', which means 'as a category'. The rest of your statement is mere bluster.

Again, the distinctions are merely legal distinctions, quibbled over by lawyers, at the expense of one and all. For my purposes, they are all the same - they grant me the right to presume that the owner doesn't care enough to protect his property.

My mistake. Not only are you presumptuous, you're also an idiot.

Why should I be forced to protect my property against your intrusion upon it? If I do not put up a fence, that is no license for you to walk in and set up camp on my front lawn.

Re:What did Google do wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29522637)

Important point: copyrights are not property.

Re:What did Google do wrong? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29520325)

Your argument is remarkably short-sighted in that it presumes that work that is not being currently put to use has been abandoned to the public domain. This is simply wrong, and it is not an assumption you, nor Google, has a right to make.

With other copyrighted works, if a work isn't available and you can't find the creator, you're allowed to go to the government and say "hey, I can't find this guy to negotiate, decide a fee for him and I'll pay it".

Some works, you don't even have to try to find the creator, just send the copyright office a letter 30 days before you start distribution.

This is the same deal.

Re:What did Google do wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29522081)

Word 2000, $24.99 [everythingoutlet.com]

Re:What did Google do wrong? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 5 years ago | (#29523171)

Microsoft does not sell Word 2000
They don't sell it directly but IIRC they do sell volume licenses with downgrade rights to it.

Re:What did Google do wrong? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#29529517)

Odd, that Project Gutenberg has been quietly doing the same thing for some years now

They've been trying to get orphan works and out of print works but have been unsuccessful. They hired Lawrence Lessig to shoot down the rediculously long "limited times" but Lessig failed; SCOTUS ruled that "limited" means whatever Congress says it means.

Depends who you are (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 5 years ago | (#29518181)

What Google are doing wrong depends largely on your viewpoint.

  • If you are a pedant for copyright, it could offend you that this agreement might affect someone's ability to profit from their copyright, even if it was highly unlikely, and you might even believe it would make it less interesting for people to write books.
  • If you are for "freedom of information", it may offend you that Google ends up with a monopoly on use and maintenance of the orphaned works, since they might abuse this position of power and in the end the information doesn't become as free as you would like (even though they have already said they would have allowed others to use/sell the works, also).
  • If you are a publisher or author, you might find the sudden influx of orphaned works into the book market as threatening to your current pricing schemes.

Re:Depends who you are (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 5 years ago | (#29519501)

I don't understand the monopoly argument. As far as I know, Google has a monopoly only because they are the only ones trying to do this. Is there anything that prevents others from doing the same thing?

Re:Depends who you are (1)

KlaasVaak (1613053) | more than 5 years ago | (#29520001)

Yes. It is called copyright law. I don't understand why people keep repeating this strange talking point. Copyright prevent companies from digitalizing books, Google will be the sole company exempt from this through a class action lawsuit. Of course theoretically other companies could try to get a similar agreement with the writers guild but what incentive does the writers guild have to renegotiate the same agreement with other companies? None I say. In fact it would go against their interest so it's a classic case of a monopoly and anti-trust legislation is preventing this.

Nope, copyright law still lets others (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29550047)

do this.

ANYONE who can negotiate a deal with the authors can do exactly what they want with these works, just like Google did.

If the authors guild doesn't want this done by anyone other than Google, then this is the authors guild fault, enabled by copyright, which is a monopoly grant by intent.

Nothing to do with Google.

Re:What did Google do wrong? (1)

HunterD (13063) | more than 5 years ago | (#29521901)

What they did wrong was try to make books more available to individuals, and easy to search. The people crying over this are upset because they feel that their product being more available, easier to find and easier to buy clearly represents a copyright infringement.

Scanning the world's libraries and making the material available is clearly quite possibly one of the most individually empowering acts in history, as it will put far more *good* information into the hands of everyone. This is unacceptable because this is an industry based on artificial scarcity.

As for the exclusivity issue, why is it Google's job to negotiate rights for everyone else? Clearly this is creating a template, and any other business that wants to go through the monumental task of scanning millions of works should have no problem securing the same deal. This is just a smoke screen put up by people who don't want the mass of humanity to have good access to the materials in teh best libraries in the world.

Publishers and most authors *hate* libraries. They *hate* the idea that a book can be read by more then one person, and they *hate* people sharing the ideas from works without paying for the privledge of the knowledge. This is an industry that has been activly hostile to the first sale doctrine, and that has been positivly drooling at the idea that they can sell books to people covered in thick layers of DRM so that they can end the library loophole.

I'm positivly shocked to see most of slashdot actively siding with a group of people who are today celebrating the scuttling of a deal that would make books far more available to the world, and did so for their own anti-intellectual, anti-consumer, pro-drm reasons.

Re:What did Google do wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29525897)

I don't hate libraries, Libraries gave me a love of books. Having had 4 works published, I'm never going to make a living as an author. I don't care if the whole world buys,borrows or steals the first 3.

Due to t being a personal gift, the last would be classed as a vanity publishing. It was a single digit print run and you were never going to be able to read it. Nor were you ever invited to.

My question is just because its out of print and I don't live in the US why should google be able to steal my work?

.

Re:What did Google do wrong? (1)

LrdDimwit (1133419) | more than 5 years ago | (#29522615)

Many legal experts have said Google had a strong case that what they were doing originally was not illegal at all. Witness the recent appeals court decision on remote DVR: even though the company technically made a copy, it was ruled to be fair use. Sure, Google scanned all these books without permission. But the factors of fair use weighed heavily in their favor. They were not selling any of the books at all, only offering snippets (clearly fair use) and the lawsuit was about whether the scanning itself was OK. Many observers say that because of the purpose of the activity, it was likely Google would prevail.

However, the settlement goes far beyond what activities Google was engaged in. It was a joint venture agreement masquerading as a class-action settlement. Indeed, it goes beyond even a joint-venture agreement, since it covers things no reasonable joint-venture could cover (such as granting permission to ignore certain rights held by persons unknown, unidentifiable, and/or unlocatable; not just the plaintiffs). It was a wholesale policy shift, to sell these books online, and more or less to permanently change the way copyright law interacted with very old books. Google's pre-lawsuit plans never involved sales at all.

Win? (2, Informative)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 5 years ago | (#29517477)

The win situation would be that everyone would have got easy access to orphaned books. Having the ability to search them would be very beneficial for any researcher in the world. Especially if work was put to scanning old books held in small amounts by collectors and institutions.

The only win i can see is lobbyism from a few parties that felt left out and couldnt tag along on googles settlement money. I hope Google just drop this and let someone else foot the bill and then make the same demand for equal access as Microsoft makes now.

Re:Win? (4, Insightful)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 5 years ago | (#29518027)

Part of the original settlement has unfortunately made much of the google book search feature worthless for people in my field--too many books are restricted to "snippet" view by the publisher. I have purchased two books as a result of successful searches on Google because I wanted to have a physical copy for when the search still worked but the viewing of pages went past the limit. I have purchased none of the books I couldn't search through because I couldn't find the content. The library has been helpful but having a physical copy and an unlimited search to go alongside it has been vital to my studies.

Re:Win? (2, Insightful)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#29518323)

Google spent tons of money and work scanning several million books. And they are willing to share all of this with their competitors to open this market up they are so confident they'll blow away MS and whoever anyways. Seems more than fair.

Re:Win? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29518897)

They did not have permission to make [electronic] copies.

That is a blatant violation of existing copyright law.

Re:Win? (1)

KlaasVaak (1613053) | more than 5 years ago | (#29520041)

You don't get it Microsoft wants to be able to scan their own books too. They don't want to use books scanned by google. Letting someone else foot the bill is not the issue here.

What about reverse RIAA style lawsuits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29519079)

Why don't the individual authors sue Google for a few million dollars each?

An illegally copied book is worth as much as an illegally copied record album.

And then each individual author offers to settle for $6000 cash.

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