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Frustrated Judge Pushes For Solution In Google Books Case

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the no-time-for-you-slackers dept.

Books 134

SpuriousLogic writes with this excerpt from a Reuters report: "A Manhattan federal judge set a Sept. 15 deadline for Google, authors and publishers to come up with a legal plan to create the world's largest digital library, expressing frustration that the six-year-old dispute has not been resolved. At a hearing on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Denny Chin said if the dispute is not 'resolved or close to resolved in principle' by mid-September, he will set a 'relatively tight schedule' for the parties to prepare for a possible trial. ... Citing antitrust and copyright concerns, Chin had on March 22 rejected a $125 million settlement. He said it went 'too far' in allowing Google to exploit digitized copyrighted works by selling subscriptions to them online and engaging in 'wholesale copying of copyrighted works without permission.'"

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good (-1, Troll)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817134)

Google is getting way too much of a monopoly here for very little money.

A monopoly in what? (1)

earls (1367951) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817204)

...

Re:A monopoly in what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36817232)

Billions of dollars in exclusive advertising revenue with the audience of anyone who visits their "library". Why did you think they wanted to do this anyway, the good of humanity?

Re:A monopoly in what? (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817282)

If there is good for humanity in it, what does it matter if they earn advertising revenue?

As a user, you would not be obligated to pay. So then it simply becomes a matter of your jealousy that Google is profitable.

Prior to Google Books your chance of finding most of these long-out-of-print books was essentially zero, unless you happened to live in a major city.
That Toshiba or Toro, or T-Mobile are willing to pay google to make it available to me for free bothers me not in the least. Get over yourself.

Never the mod points when I need them (5, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817360)

This is to be the greatest library ever assembled. It is worthwhile in and of itself. A noble goal to prevent the permanent loss of so much art and knowledge - to avoid the Great Forgetting. It is the very preservation of world culture.

I wonder... (1)

earls (1367951) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817396)

I wonder how long the Library of Alexandria was in court.

Re:I wonder... (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817492)

Apparently just long enough to prevent copying and dispersal of its holdings.

Re:Never the mod points when I need them (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817482)

This is to be the greatest library ever assembled. It is worthwhile in and of itself. A noble goal to prevent the permanent loss of so much art and knowledge - to avoid the Great Forgetting. It is the very preservation of world culture.

I wish I had mod points.

A dispersed and replicated library freely available world wide. This is something you see in every sci-fi novel about futuristic super advanced civilizations.
Its like the entire community of Sci-Fi writers secretly wished this existed already.

Here some private company is build that for zero dollars. You would think this would have to be done by Governments.

Re:Never the mod points when I need them (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#36818118)

Here some private company is build that for zero dollars. You would think this would have to be done by Governments.

Eh? There already is another project that is building (has built) that for zero dollars. All you need is a torrent client to get a copy of it, and you can get it today, right this minute if you like.

If you believe that the goal of a free universal library for everyone on earth is more important than petty legal arguments, then support your local pirates who selflessly and anonymously make the work happen.

If you can't support the pirates, ask yourself why? Clearly, what they're doing is against the law, so that means you care about copyrights more than about having a universal library. And if that's what you believe, then you should also be against preferential treatment for Google at everyone else's expense.

Choose a side, and stay consistent.

Re:Never the mod points when I need them (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36818224)

Piracy is not the issue here.
Google Books does not pirate books.
Educate yourself before you climb on your soap box.

Re:Never the mod points when I need them (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#36818290)

Google Books does not pirate books.

BWAHAHA. You just made my day. If Google didn't pirate books, why were they sued?

Google is the biggest book pirate in the world, and they've been sued for it. That's a fact. Educate yourself.

Re:Never the mod points when I need them (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36818360)

You can sue a ham sandwich.

The people that sued them had no standing, because they were not the author or the copyright holder of the abandoned books.

Re:Never the mod points when I need them (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#36818450)

Of course they have standing. It's a CLASS ACTION suit. In the eyes of US law, they literally speak for every author in America (and probably the world, IANAL).

It doesn't matter if some random author (dead or alive) has never set foot in the courtroom, or has never even heard of the suit. Once the dispute goes to trial, he's on the side of the author's guild and whatever gets decided is final and applies to him.

Now you could argue that this should never have been allowed to become a class action in the first place, but it has and here we are. The stakes are very high.

Re:Never the mod points when I need them (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820284)

They were sued to prevent the collection of this library by corporations that stand to profit from the Great Forgetting. There is great profit in selling the same ideas over and over, or in forgetting old stories in preference to new ones - but such business is not in the common interest of Mankind, culture or science. The purpose of copyright in the US is "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts...."

As Isaac Newton said: "We are like dwarfs sitting on the shoulders of giants. We see more, and things that are more distant, than they did, not because our sight is superior or because we are taller than they, but because they raise us up, and by their great stature add to ours."

We don't get this benefit by forgetting what has gone before. With the Great Forgetting we step down from the shoulders of giants and aspire to reinvent what they once knew over and over again. It is an end to progress. It is a loss of art. It is an outcome not to be wished. Unless what we have known already is preserved how can we hope to learn things that are truly new, to know that our art is innovative and not derivative of some lost tome?

How can one legitimately argue against digitizing, preserving and making available the lost works of Mankind, the universal translation thereof, of making such available to all who come - where they are - at little or no cost? I can't imagine the depravity of soul that would be required to oppose such. To me it is evil in simple terms - the seeking of profit at the expense of progress in art and maturity of people, the exploitation of human forgettery.

Re:Never the mod points when I need them (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820334)

I agree completely, which is why the rights that Google seeks to obtain for itself should be automatically given to everyone on the planet. You and I, we should all be able to scan any orphaned book we find and publish them on the web without seeking permission first. This settlement is a farce as it stands, and should be amended to make that happen.

Re:Never the mod points when I need them (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820566)

I'm ok with this proposal as long as it doesn't block the resolution of the current case in the courts. I'm more concerned that the library be built than who owns it. It does not - and can not - actually belong to any company. It belongs to all of us. We in general own our culture and the artistic works that created it. AFAIK, Google is not opposed to other companies scanning and making available all works. Microsoft even had a similar project Google lauded while it lived. Microsoft lost interest though, and won't be going forward unless they can find money in it.

This evolution is a Brin project. Sergey Brin is the son of Russian immigrants to the US who fled Russia to escape oppression of speech and privacy. He's brilliant and committed. He invented the trawl and indexing methods of Google. He has higher goals than you might imagine. He's wealthy beyond your imagining and he doesn't care. He aspires to do things your grandchildren will saint him for, and he would impoverish himself to do it. He's smarter than you and me, and just about everybody else - and he has the means to work his good will. But for how you feel about him today he cares not at all.

Google cares that the back history of forgotten works can be found and acquired by the common person - that's their mission: to index all human knowledge. That they have it for sale or you have it matters not to them a whit. They paid to scan, convert and index these works because that needed to be done to achieve that mission. If you can do it also, they don't have a problem with that - others, including Microsoft, have made the attempt.

Re:Never the mod points when I need them (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820778)

I agree that Microsoft's project was technically better quality than Google's at the time. You can check it for yourself on www.archive.org in fact, there are quite a few examples of scans where the same book was scanned by Google, Microsoft, and by various libraries, and the results speak for themselves.

The difference is that Microsoft didn't elect to break the law to amass an illegal library of books - probably because they were already under pressure from the DOJ at that time (early to mid 2000s).

I couldn't care less that Brin is wealthy and perhaps thinks that entitles him to act above the law. I'm egalitarian, and I believe that the same laws should apply to all. If the laws are bad, they need to be fixed for the good of all, rather than selectively enforced or horse traded among special interest groups. That's how society progresses into freedom.

As to Google's mission, that's their business so long as they don't trample other people in the process. Nobody told them to index all the world's information, and frankly if you're not scared about that prospect then you ought to be: It's just one small step to the Russian and fascist models from there. Why Brin (according to you) would want to go in that direction is beyond me.

But we're digressing. It doesn't matter that Google paid a small fortune to scan and index the books. They should not be allowed to benefit from breaking the law.

Re:Never the mod points when I need them (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#36818292)

Google Books does not pirate books.

Actually, that is EXACTLY what Google is doing. They are distributing books that are still under copyright but for which the copyright owner can not be located. That's still "piracy" under the law.

Re:Never the mod points when I need them (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36818410)

That's still "piracy" under the law.

Apparently not, but thanks for your dissenting opinion Judge.

They make a good faith effort to find the author or their heirs.
They will pull any book should the author come back from the grave and contact them.

Re:Never the mod points when I need them (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#36818482)

Apparently not, but thanks for your dissenting opinion Judge.

They make a good faith effort to find the author or their heirs.
They will pull any book should the author come back from the grave and contact them.

WTF? Don't be so smug in your ignorance. What you wrote still doesn't negate the fact that what google wants to do is explicit copyright infringement. Think I'm wrong?? Go ahead and prove it, I challenge you to show in US statute or case law where making a "good faith effort" for something you already know to be currently copyrighted is an exception to infringement.

Re:Never the mod points when I need them (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820954)

Go read the Settlement Agreement. These authors are dead. They left no heirs. They have no estate. There is no known rights holder on the face of planet earth for these works. There is no explicit provision in US (or any country's) law for a copyright to survive the life span of all rights holders.

Who the hell gave you the right to object anyway? Are you a rights holder?

Re:Never the mod points when I need them (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#36819702)

Google is looking to make Memory Alpha. That would be fantastic. Now all the need to do is merge it with Google Lunar and get it up on the moon.

Re:Never the mod points when I need them (1)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820572)

But that's not quite what Google Books is. Google Books is a single archive under the control of a single company. If something should happen to Google, it would disappear. Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive are more of what you envision.

Re:Never the mod points when I need them (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820672)

I'm pretty sure that archive.org mirrors all publically available Google books. Archive.org is a charitably funded organization with the remit to archive all of the Internet they can.

Re:A monopoly in what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36817368)

You are missing that authors would get screwed. none of this matters though; it's not going to happen because Google is basically asking for all intellectual property law to be thrown out the window so that they can make whatever they can find and scan available online, since that's how they make money.

Re:A monopoly in what? (4, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817428)

Authors are either dead or unknown. Fate has already screwed them.

This is not an argument about current authors, or currently valid copyrights.
In no way is Google proposing to screw living authors or copyright holders out of money.
The works in question are abandoned works, where the copyright holders are unknown.

Why should OTHER authors or publishers profit from these abandoned works? Believe me, that is what this is, nothing but a money grab by publishing companies trying to lay claim to works long ago abandoned by authors, or works of dead authors where there is no clear copyright.

Re:A monopoly in what? (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817926)

Nonsense. It's a money grab by Google. The only way I would support this is if I (and you, and everybody..) get to scan all the orphaned books in my house and put them on the web and sell them if I like.

Oh wait, I don't get to do that. Only Google gets to do that. DO NOT WANT.

At least the publishers have to sign contracts with the authors.

Re:A monopoly in what? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36818042)

How is this a money grab by Google?
Have you even once visited the Google books on line and read the FAQ?
How are you prevented from scanning your out-of-copyright books and selling them?
How does a publisher sign a contract with a dead author or an abandoned works author?

You would rather the books disappear all together?
You would rather have some cheesy "collection" author pen 5 a five paragraph introduction and then copyright the entire thing as his own? (Don't laugh this is happening every day in the Kindle Store an Nook books.

Re:A monopoly in what? (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#36818252)

How is this a money grab by Google?

They intend to monetize the exclusive right to show people scanned copies of orphaned books.

Have you even once visited the Google books on line and read the FAQ?

Of course. Have you visited other providers of public domain online books? There's quite a few other sites besides Google if you look.

How are you prevented from scanning your out-of-copyright^H^H^H^H orphaned books and selling them?

The same way you are. It's against the law.

How does a publisher sign a contract with a dead author or an abandoned works author?

They don't. So what do you propose to do about it, besides giving Google an exclusive monopoly on copying the orphaned works without a contract?

You would rather the books disappear all together?

I would rather that everybody gets to read them if they want.

You would rather have some cheesy "collection" author pen 5 a five paragraph introduction and then copyright the entire thing as his own?

Why not? Who reads introductions anyway? If the book gets published, I don't care who the cheesy author was who made it happen.

But let's be clear, you're arguing that we're better off if Google has the exclusive right to copy orphaned works, and you're claiming that there's no problem because we all have the right to copy public domain works. Non sequitur much?

For the record, I'm in favour of moving all the orphaned works into the public domain right away, but if that happened, then Google's proposed settlement would be meaningless and we wouldn't have this conversation.

Re:A monopoly in what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36817448)

I don't care about a few authors if freeing books means benefiting society.

Re:A monopoly in what? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36817462)

Google is basically asking for all intellectual property law to be thrown out the window

That would be great, but that's not what Google is asking for. They're asking for all intellectual property on an immense corpus of works to be assigned to Google and nobody else. Google isn't releasing anything into the public domain or even making it really available online. All we get is blurry images of pages and a search box. No full text, really crappy metadata, and they're taking special care to prevent people from downloading more than a few pages.

Re:A monopoly in what? (5, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817530)

Don't be ridiculous.
Every person who has used google books knows you are lying.
How can you say its not available on line, and in the next sentence claim you only get blurry images? You can't have it both ways.
Its all on line.
Full texts are available, both imaged and OCRed flowing text, for all books that are free of copyright encumbrance. You can read the whole book.
Unless the publisher or author still holds a copyright and refuses to allow google to put it out there.

Your argument is internally inconsistent, at war with itself, and at odds with the facts. Do just a little research.

Re:A monopoly in what? (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#36818266)

If there is good for humanity in it, what does it matter if they earn advertising revenue?

That's not the real social problem here, the real problem is that google gets exclusive privileges that no one else does.

So all that happens is these out of print books get locked up in google. If it's going to be legal for google to republish orphaned works without compensation to the authors than it needs to be legal for everyone to do it lest we find ourselves in exactly the same situation again 10 years down the road.

Re:A monopoly in what? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36818342)

Who says they are EXCLUSIVE to google?
You seem to have thrown that nugget in there with no citation.
Anyone else can do as the same and scan these old books in just like google did.

Re:A monopoly in what? (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#36818452)

Who says they are EXCLUSIVE to google?

Google does. Read the proposed settlement. [googlebooksettlement.com]
They aren't negotiating for everyone, only themselves. [openbookalliance.org]

Re:A monopoly in what? (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 3 years ago | (#36819074)

From the Amended Settlement Agreement, Article II (italics added):

2.4 Non-Exclusivity of Authorizations. The authorizations granted to Google
in this Amended Settlement Agreement are non-exclusive only, and nothing in this
Amended Settlement Agreement shall be construed as limiting any Rightsholder’s right
to authorize, through the Registry or otherwise, any Person, including direct competitors
of Google
, to use his, her or its Books or Inserts in any way, including ways identical to
those provided for under this Amended Settlement Agreement.

So can you tell us precisely which exclusive rights are being granted, and what section of the ASA grants them?

Re:A monopoly in what? (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#36819520)

You got it backwards. I have to wonder if all you did was grep for "exclusive" - the exclusivity here is that google gets free access to orphan works because they are the only one big enough to club the publishers over the head.

Re:A monopoly in what? (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820216)

Then you're not disputing that Google has no legal exclusive rights to anything?

So if I've got this right, instead you're apparently claiming that Google's size gives them some sort of "de-facto" exclusivity - in other words, they're "exclusive" because they're the first and so far only company that's a) bothered to do this, and b) big enough to negotiate about it, rather than roll over at the first whiff of lawyers.

Would you be happier if, say, Amazon and Apple also launched similar initiatives to make available orphaned works (contingent of course on a similar deal)? Is there anything about this settlement that makes it harder, rather than easier, for other companies to do the same thing?

Also "free" access? Section 2.1 (a):

Google shall pay to the Registry, for the benefit of the Rightsholders, seventy percent (70%) of all revenues earned by Google through uses of Books in Google Products and Services in the United States authorized under this Amended Settlement Agreement, less ten percent (10%), for Google’s operating costs

That includes advertising revenues, BTW. These funds are held in trust for the copyright holders, and if unclaimed for 10 years, will be distributed to literacy-based charities (see Section 6.3). Were you aware of this, or were you assuming Google collected the lot?

Additionally, Google have to put up nearly $80M in settlement and administration fees (plus individual per-book settlements), plus up to $30M attorneys' fees (and for their own attorneys of course), plus the considerable costs of digitising all the books in the first place. That's a pretty loose definition of "free".

Re:A monopoly in what? (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820560)

Would you be happier if, say, Amazon and Apple also launched similar initiatives to make available orphaned works (contingent of course on a similar deal)? Is there anything about this settlement that makes it harder, rather than easier, for other companies to do the same thing?

Of course not. The question is not about corporate access to orphan works, its about the fact that no one practically owns them so why should google, or any one else, get access that the regular joe doesn't.

Your entire objection is rooted in a view of corporate-controlled culture that is fundamentally in opposition to the basic premise of copyright law.

Re:A monopoly in what? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820946)

You haven't read a single thing in this thread have you!?

Google isn't claiming ownership, and if you want to march around to hundreds of libraries and scan these books you can do so under the same terms as google did. The rights holders of these works can not be located. Probably dead.

Your solutions is to burn the books rather than allow anyone to make them available under any terms were a nickel changes hands.

Now go back and READ the thread and the Amended Settlement this time.

Re:A monopoly in what? (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 3 years ago | (#36821056)

I didn't think I was the one objecting, but anyway...

So your argument is, if Google (or any large corporation) can be permitted take an orphaned work and make some money from copies of it, then why shouldn't individuals be able to do the same?

If so, then I certainly agree - so long as they're held to similar conditions, particularly the parts that benefit the public by making more works available (which is after all the original spirit of copyright). I don't believe this settlement prevents that in any way.

It also doesn't provide for it - for individuals or for corporations. If you want to do the same, you'll have to find a way to get that authorisation yourself. You want to know why Google should get this access and not you - they're the ones spending a lot of money and legal effort to fight for it (with still no guarantee of success). I'm not sure that it's entirely fair to insist that Google should be fighting for the rights of its competitors, only that it not reduce those rights. Really, Congress should be taking a hand, IMHO.

If they succeed, we all benefit in various ways - and the precedent will only make things easier for others to win the same access, even if it's not enshrined in the this specific settlement.

Re:A monopoly in what? (1)

murdocj (543661) | more than 2 years ago | (#36821374)

Ah yes, of course, the ends justify the means. The fact the people who poured their sweat into their writing don't get compensated, well, who cares about them.

Re:A monopoly in what? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#36821404)

Oh for Pete sake!
Have you read nothing on this thread?

 

Re:A monopoly in what? (2)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817830)

A monopoly in copying and republishing books that belong to someone else.

It's simple, really. Either 1) let everybody and their dog copy and republish every book in the world, or 2) don't allow Google to be the only one to do it.

It's wrong to let a single private company break everybody's copyrights and punish everyone else who wants to do it.

Re:A monopoly in what? (2)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 3 years ago | (#36819176)

2) don't allow Google to be the only one to do it.

Where does it say no-one else is allowed to do this? Section 2.4 of the Agreement [googlebooksettlement.com] explicitly says any rights granted to Google are non-exclusive, and copyright holders can happily authorise any other party to do the same things.

It's wrong to let a single private company break everybody's copyrights and punish everyone else who wants to do it.

You mean, like the CRIA, and their "unpaid list" [slashdot.org] (which got settled by them paying a fraction of the owed royalties, with no penalties and no liability, while they simultaneously sued others for punitive damages many thousands of times greater)?

And there was no "good faith" involved there - the vast majority of copyright holders were not only alive and well, but actively demanding their unpaid royalties.

Re:A monopoly in what? (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#36819758)

Where does it say no-one else is allowed to do this? Section 2.4 of the Agreement explicitly says any rights granted to Google are non-exclusive, and copyright holders can happily authorise any other party to do the same things.

Oh yeah, great find, thanks.

1) By Section 2.2, authors of orphaned works cannot limit Google's right to pirate their works.

2) By Section 2.4, authors of orphaned works are free to limit or not everyone else's right to pirate their works in every way.

Conclusion: Google is allowed to pirate orphaned works without asking for permission from anyone, but *you* and *me* can't do the same unless *we* contact each individual (dead) author and ask them for permission in writing.

Way to go, that's fair isn't it?

Re:A monopoly in what? (3, Informative)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820388)

authors of orphaned works cannot limit Google's right to pirate their works.

Not true. Section 3.5 (a) (i):

Right to Remove. A Rightsholder of a Book may direct that his, her or its Book not be Digitized, or if already Digitized, that the Book be Removed.

Of course, most authors of orphaned works have no interest in the matter (by definition), so in those cases, their 70% share of Google's sale and advertising revenues gets held in trust for 10 years, then distributed to literacy charities (Section 6.3).

While this doesn't automatically grant you or I permission to do what Google is doing, nothing in the Settlement Agreement prevents similar blanket agreements for any other party. You'll have to negotiate it yourself with the publishers and authors' groups. At worst, you could go ahead and do it anyway, make yourself the subject of a class-action suit, and settle that like Google did, but you may likewise be required to pay $80M + legal costs.

Re:A monopoly in what? (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820550)

Right to Remove. A Rightsholder of a Book may direct that his, her or its Book not be Digitized, or if already Digitized, that the Book be Removed.

Not true. From Section 3.5 (a) (iii)

Limitations on Right to Remove. The right to Remove under Section 3.5(a)(i) (Right to Remove) is limited to requests made on or before April 5, 2011 [...]

Read the whole section and you'll find that rightsholders basically can't tell Google to remove their books from the archive except under highly limited circumstances, and provided Google feels it's convenient.

While this doesn't automatically grant you or I permission to do what Google is doing, nothing in the Settlement Agreement prevents similar blanket agreements for any other party.

Except by definition the authors of orphaned works aren't available for talks regarding an agreement. So what good is a nonlimitation on third party agreements when such agreements are impossible? It's a meaningless nonlimitation.

Also, remember that Google never negotiated individually with those authors either.

At worst, you could go ahead and do it anyway, make yourself the subject of a class-action suit, and settle that like Google did, but you may likewise be required to pay $80M + legal costs.

So you're saying that deliberately breaking the law is a valid business model? That's a can of worms better left closed.

Re:A monopoly in what? (2)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820968)

Thanks for the pointer to 3.5 (a) (iii), didn't see that.

rightsholders basically can't tell Google to remove their books from the archive except under highly limited circumstances, and provided Google feels it's convenient.

Section 3.5 (b) (i) explains that further. So, after the 2012 date, it's true that authors can no longer direct that Google remove the book entirely from their systems, but they can demand that Google not use it in any way - Google can't sell it, display it, show ads with it, collect other revenue from it, share it etc - but it must be made available to libraries if it's commercially available (as far as I can tell, anyway).

Authors can also direct that Google exclude portions of their work from display, revenue gathering etc, and Google will exclude at least that much (and will try not to overdo the exclusion). If Google disagrees with these directions, there's a Challenge procedure described, which sounds fair to me.

Also, remember that Google never negotiated individually with those authors either.

That was kinda my point. If Google can reach an agreement like this (which is still uncertain) without negotiating with the authors, then what's to stop any other party doing the same? There's nothing in the Settlement that prevents that.

I do agree it'd be ideal for the described Registry to be given authority in the settlement to make similar arrangements for orphaned works with other willing parties, without requiring a class-action settlement. I can also see why the judge is unwilling to sign off on what is a fairly fundamental shift in rights, from opt-in to opt-out, even if it's restricted to orphaned works. But I sympathise with Google's aims here, and short of Congress actually making copyright less restrictive for a change, I don't see any other way to make orphaned books more available at this scale.

Re:A monopoly in what? (2)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820570)

A monopoly in copying and republishing books that belong to someone else.

Many of these books don't belong to anybody identifiable; they are orphan works.

Of course, they should really be out of copyright entirely. Under our old copyright system they would be (because they wouldn't be registered), but under the idiotic copyright system European publishers imposed on the world and forced the US to agree to, they are now in limbo.

Re:good (1)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817426)

??? The only thing Google is doing here is removing the monopoly powers of copyright from the publishers and authors.

Re:good (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817550)

Nope, you have that wrong.

They are doing no such thing.

This is a pissing contest about books that have been abandoned, where no author is living and for which there is no clear copyright.
Nobody on the NYT best seller list need worry. No book publisher need be threatened.

Re:good (2)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817792)

Yes, but the publishers and copyright holders have been trying to make sure that they are the only ones who can re-publish public domain works and get a fresh copyright.

Google is muscling in on their business model by trying to more or less keep stuff in the public domain, and then give it away and effectively keep it in the public domain.

They've already bought laws in their favor, if Google beats them to the punch, corporate profits and executive bonuses could be affected.

The commons is something these companies do not want to persist.

So idiotic... (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817140)

I'm glad brick and mortar libraries were set up before the modern era, because it would never happen today. I simply don't understand how an online library would be so horrible, when even small towns have libraries where you can read any book you'd want to.

Re:So idiotic... (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817276)

In some places, public libraries must pay an annual fee to the copyright holder to compensate for potential lost sales, so what the industry is asking from Google isn't terribly unusual.

Re:So idiotic... (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817566)

The argument is about books out of copyright, not books in copyright.

Re:So idiotic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36817640)

Wrong, the dispute is about orphaned works, that is, in copyright, but no one knows how to reach the copyright holder to ask permission.

Re:So idiotic... (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820060)

Wrong, the dispute is about alleged orphaned works, that is, in copyright, but someone claimed to not know how to reach the copyright holder to ask permission.

Fixed that for 'ya.

Re:So idiotic... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817762)

That corruption occurs elsewhere doesn't make it any more palatable here.

Re:So idiotic... (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817292)

Read any book you'd want to?

Seriously, you did NOT just post that!!

Re:So idiotic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36817656)

Read any book you'd want to?

Seriously, you did NOT just post that!!

I know! Nothing recent is ever in...I keep having to order the DVD!

Re:So idiotic... (1)

trout007 (975317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817618)

If it weren't for public libraries where would homeless perverts go to watch porn and jerk off?

Re:So idiotic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36818040)

Which is why we need to make internet access a fundamental human right.

Re:So idiotic... (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#36818220)

I'm glad brick and mortar libraries were set up before the modern era, because it would never happen today. I simply don't understand how an online library would be so horrible, when even small towns have libraries where you can read any book you'd want to.

Andrew Carnagie was willing to donate a building of approriate size ---

but only if you could convince him that you wanted a public library badly enough to see to it that it woulld be locally staffed and funded. Not permanently dependent on the charitable -- but often capricious and self-serving -- impulses of a single fabulously wealthy benefactor three thousand miles distant.

Resolved? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817174)

I'm not sure I understand how the judge thinks this is going to be "resolved" by the involved parties on their own. They appear to have diametrically opposed goals and philosophies: Google wants to make everything available on the internet, and the publishers want nothing on the internet, only on printed paper that they control. How can you resolve a conflict like that without some third party to mediate?

Re:Resolved? (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817238)

I'm not sure I understand how the judge thinks this is going to be "resolved" by the involved parties on their own. They appear to have diametrically opposed goals and philosophies:

No, that's not what it is about. The parties agreed on a settlement. But it's a class action, and the judge decided that the settlement went way beyond settling the disputes between the parties. The proposed settlement essentially rewrote copyright law as an "opt-out" system, with a special deal for Google for orphaned works. That went way too far, binding parties who were never involved in the suit.

There's probably going to be orphaned works legislation, but it will not give Google exclusive rights.

Re:Resolved? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817346)

Question: Who opts in (or out) for orphaned works?

For public domain books long out of copyright, there is no argument from either side.

This debate is all about books in a very narrow range if years, where the authors are dead, but (perhaps) not the copyright, and there exists no known copyright holder.

Nothing carrying a clear copyright statement with a date that has not legally expired is covered here.

Re:Resolved? (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 3 years ago | (#36819254)

Not that this settlement gives Google any exclusive rights either. The settlement explicitly says all granted rights are non-exclusive, and copyright holders are still free to authorise any other party to do the same thing.

Re:Resolved? (2)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820082)

The settlement explicitly says all granted rights are non-exclusive, and copyright holders are still free to authorise any other party to do the same thing.

Only Google would get to do it without authorization. That is the definition of exclusive, is it not?

Re:Resolved? (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820320)

The whole point of the settlement IS the authorisation for Google to proceed. Do you mean specific, per-rightsholder authorisation (which is obviously impractical for orphaned works)?

Nothing in the Settlement precludes a similar blanket agreement for other parties, or have I missed something? In fact it should be easier, with Google's precedent, and with the Registry that this sets up.

Re:Resolved? (1)

Josh Triplett (874994) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817244)

A third party *has* mediated, and made it clear that if the two parties don't come up with a solution then the issue will go to trial, and nobody wants that.

Personally, I don't find it at all clear why Google owes a single penny for scanning books and making them searchable, *without* allowing non-public-domain books to be seen in their entirety. They might wish to make some kind of deal to allow more access to non-public-domain books, but that has nothing to do with fair use of existing books, and if snippets and search don't count as fair use then I don't know what does.

Re:Resolved? (5, Informative)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817332)

The problem is that Google wants to both include books that are still under copyright and charge a fee for access to them. Further, Google wants to include books that are still under copyright where the holder of copyright is either unknown, or no one knows where to find them. Just because Google does not know how to find an author does not give them the right to make copies of the author's work without permission.
Of course, this problem would go away if copyright only lasted for a reasonable amount of time (say something on the order of 10-30 years).

Re:Resolved? (1)

aztektum (170569) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817422)

30 years is still much too long.

The media companies should be treated like everyone else. If you can't create and sell something for a profit in a 2-3 year span, you're in the wrong business.

Re:Resolved? (1)

aztektum (170569) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817444)

Shit, didn't mean to lump create in there. Take however long you want with that.

If you're not making money off something within 2-3 years of putting it out there, tough luck. Have fun flipping burgers.

Re:Resolved? (1)

williamhb (758070) | more than 3 years ago | (#36818664)

Shit, didn't mean to lump create in there. Take however long you want with that.

If you're not making money off something within 2-3 years of putting it out there, tough luck. Have fun flipping burgers.

You might want to look up how many years it was before YouTube turned a profit. They were loss-making all the way up to being acquired for $1.65 billion, and remained loss-making for some years after that too. If that's flipping burgers, man those are some gold-plated burgers!

Re:Resolved? (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817512)

I would tend to agree that 30 years is too long, but it is in the vicinity of the correct length. Two-three years is not long enough. I am not sure why, but for some reason, I go for some multiple of 7 years.

Re:Resolved? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36817590)

I like multiples of 5. I think 20 would be a good number, and I make my living on copyrighted works.

Re:Resolved? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36818668)

You're probably thinking of the original US copyright terms, which were 14 years (or 28 with an extension). Things move a lot more quickly now, though: publishing and distribution are easier, and the literate audience is hundreds of times larger. I think two-three years is reasonable. Maybe even shorter for software, which gets updated on even shorter timescales.

Re:Resolved? (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820792)

Maybe even shorter [than 2-3 years] for software, which gets updated on even shorter timescales.

On the other hand, that does enable people to take open source software which is near-current and do commercial forks of it in a completely blatant fashion. Way to go with the unintended consequences.

Re:Resolved? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36818576)

Movies make a large fraction of their revenue on the opening weekend. Perhaps their copyright period should be measured in days.

Re:Resolved? (1)

trout007 (975317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817606)

Why have copyrights at all? The authors can still sell the manuscript to a publisher or sell it online these days for a buck or two.

Re:Resolved? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36818050)

Just because Google does not know how to find an author does not give them the right to make copies of the author's work without permission.

Just because the author is not known/can not be found, does not give the rights to some *AA, * Guild, etc. or the Mob.

In addition to reduction of copyright terms, certain works should be registered in order to enforce a copyright; I suggest including all sound recordings, movies/pictures, books, etc. and need to be re-registered at least every 10 years (you have a year to do it, it's up to you to keep a current contact address at the Copyright Registrar's Office). Miss it -> poof! Public Domain.

Speaking of copyright law, the law needs to be clarified that any and all copyrights in a work expire with the copyright in that work. What I mean by that is this: if a sound recording has a copyright of 50 years, but on the recording is a song written by a songwriter that hasn't been dead yet for 50/70 years, the IP zealots will now say that the active copyright in the lyrics trump the expired copyright in the sound recording. This should be changed. The lyrics should still be copyrighted but the lyrics in the form of the sound recording should be out of copyright, i.e. I can copy the sound recording all I want, but I can not jot down the lyrics and then distribute those.

Re:Resolved? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817392)

Well if google maintained one snippet of a book that might be a good argument.
But because they scan the entire book, and have a complete collection of snippets, and you can contrive to obtain and read the entire book via the snippets there is a problem.

Still for most of what is in Google Books, this is not the issue.
What seems to be the case is a consortium of authors backed by publishers who wish to lay claim to recently out of copyright works. Essentially a literary RIAA.

In no case where the copyright holder is clearly identifiable is google proposing to short circuit property rights.

Re:Resolved? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36820184)

> you can contrive to obtain and read the entire book via the snippets

This is not different than getting a book from a brick and mortar library.

> there is a problem.

The existence of libraries in general is a "problem" then.

Re:Resolved? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36820964)

The libraries buy their books, and let many individuals read them serially. They do not let millions of individuals read them simultaneously. See the difference?

Re:Resolved? (1)

Raenex (947668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36818294)

Personally, I don't find it at all clear why Google owes a single penny for scanning books and making them searchable, *without* allowing non-public-domain books to be seen in their entirety.

For the same reason why I'm not legally allowed to go to a library and scan a whole book. If Google actually paid for every book they scanned and presented, they'd have a better argument. Instead, they copied a bunch of books whole from libraries.

yo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36817240)

the spice must flow.

It's not stealing if I do it to every author? (0)

Eightbitgnosis (1571875) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817272)

Great job Google

Re:It's not stealing if I do it to every author? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817984)

Stealing what? If the copyright holder can't be found, (s)he isn't receiving any royalties either.

Copyright was created to allow author to profit from their works, to incentivize their creation. What is the point of dead-locking these works? It benefits neither the public nor the author.

Even physical property (like houses) can be claimed by third parties if they take control of it and the owner doesn't reclaim it (see the guy who 'bought' a house for $16). So now IP is stronger that real property?

DIDN'T THIS PLACE ROUTINELY GET 500+ POSTS FOR ALL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36817386)

And now it can't even get a dozen in a few hours, for just about every "news" story !! This confirms it: NETCRAFT IS DEAD !!

For the benefit of mankind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36817456)

Greedy authors, you've already sold a bucha copies, you've made your money. What's the big deal, let people read your book, as long as it's not a teen vampire novel you're probably at the very least helping someone improve their literacy.

Re:For the benefit of mankind (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36817588)

Why don't you do whatever it is that you do for free, you big fucking faget.

I bet you suck faget dick for money you fucking faget. Go suck faget cock for free faget.

Like Music (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817702)

Pretty soon there will be consumer level "taxes" or "fees" applied to everyone. We'll pay X amount per month for unlimited music, unlimited books. If you want a book in the first 3 months of release, you pay extra. Perhaps you subscribe to the audio-book where you can have GlaDOS read you the book (or perhaps Wheatley, the hyper British bot):

It was the best of time, it was the worst of times. Well, what's that really? Wholly contradictory, doesn't make a LICK of sense. Not saying it isn't profound in that literary way some people look for but it really isn't MEANINGFUL is it? Not really.

Anyway, same with music -- pay monthly for a service to listen to unlimited music (there's already one in Europe coming to the states, but can't remember the bloody name of it). Subscriptions are gold for companies because you're paying whether you use it or not (see HBO for details).

Re:Like Music (1)

numbski (515011) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817820)

Thanks for making me read that in Stephen Merchant's voice.

Translation (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#36817740)

"You kids don't make me come back there!"

The Google Books dispute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36818286)

Does nobody remember what this dispute is about? It seems to me that most of the commenters have forgotten.

Google Books is primarily about -indexing- books. That's it. Not about making them available online. They've got automated machines that even now are scanning book after book, doing OCR on the result, and putting the results into a searchable database. That, however, for reasons I have never considered to be rational, has the publishers in a tizzy-fit.

Now, Google would love to add to the search results to make them even more useful. Currently, if a work is in the public domain, it can be viewed, in its entirety, online. Works that are still copyrighted, however, can't. Some copyrighted works allow for the viewing of several pages, depending on arrangements between the copyright holders and Google. The former settlement had provisions in it about "orphaned works," works whose copyright owners couldn't be identified properly or found, which Google wanted to be able to make available either online or in print, with a percentage of the profits going to a pool that a copyright owner could get reimbursement from if he/she could prove their copyright. The judge scotched the settlement, largely because of those provisions.

However, the primary complaint, that the -indexing- of the books involves copyright violations, is on shaky legal ground. Google has some strong defenses, and the publishers know it. A trial could easily go either way, and neither Google nor the publishers are particularly interested in going that route. Nevertheless, they seem to be having trouble coming to a compromise.

Without the scanning, works can be lost! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36819350)

To a certain extent, I have personally been affected by this. My Grandfather was a very prominent Phillippino Author about 100 years ago. For the last few months, I have been trying to search out copies of his works as a gift for my mother.
My Grandfather died in the 60's but from what I have been told, at least here in Australia, his works are out of copyright as they were published in 1912.
So far, I have managed to track down two of the 4 books he wrote.
The first in the National Library in Canberra. They had a scanning service and thus I was able to gain a copy, the second in the University of Michigan library where no such service exists.
Given that the UoM is on the Google scanning list, the only way I can see this piece of work will be saved and not lost is for Google to scan the book.
I have sent a copy of the book I received from the National Library of Canberra to Google to include in their archives.
The other 2 works, I have not found yet.
This is but one example and as the grandson of the Author, I would much rather Google scan the books, let everyone have access to the works and keep them for later generations rather than have the works to disappear into obscurity. Lost forever or sitting in some back corner of a library never to be read again and I'm sure my Grandfather would feel the same way.

Re:Without the scanning, works can be lost! (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#36819842)

I fail to see the problem here.

1) Take the existing scans you have and put them on a web page for everyone to download.

2) Either visit the University of Michigan yourself or contact a student with a library card there. Offer to pay him/her for checking the book out of the library, and scanning the pages at the local copyshop. Paypal him/her an agreed amount in exchange for the scanned image files. Put the pages on your webpage for everyone to download.

You can do this today with any public domain works if you like.

cycling jersey (-1)

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orphan works (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#36821072)

There's a fundamental problem with orphan works and "opt in".

By definition an orphan work is one whose copyright owner cannot be located. Demanding that they opt in defeats the whole purpose, since as soon as you find them they cease to be orphan works.

My personal opinion:

If someone in good faith looks diligently and attempts to find a copyright holder for a particular work, should be entitled to publish his intent to use the work as public domain, thus establishing constructive notice to the world. If the copyright holder doesn't present himself in a timely manner, he loses the right to sue retroactively for any damages, and the diligent dude who found his work (and anyone else) can treat it as public domain for a minimum of 1 year before any copyright claims are enforceable, plus an additional 6 months or so after being notified.

But alas, this is more appropriately a legislative remedy.

I would, however, opine that anyone who completes the above steps, and only gets bit when he starts making money (by a copyright troll), has established fair use, possibly qualified with a defense of laches if the copyright holder sat on the notice and didn't do anything. If the holder can't even be arsed to respond to a "hey mister john doe guy that owns the copyright for this work, I want to make something of it but I don't know who to give the royalties to, so I'm going to sit on it for awhile and hope you get in touch.", they don't deserve to throw legal fire on an innocent guy who did his due diligence.

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