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Authors' Guild Goes After University Book Digitization Projects

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the at-least-they're-consistent dept.

Books 170

An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from Ars Technica: "With the planned settlement between Google and book publishers still on indefinite hold, a legal battle by proxy has started. Google partnered with many libraries at US universities in order to gain access to the works it wants to digitize. Now, several groups that represent book authors have filed suit against those universities, attempting to block both digital lending and an orphaned works project. The suit is being brought by the Authors' Guild, its equivalents in Australia, Quebec, and the UK, and a large group of individual authors. Its target: some major US universities, including Michigan, the University of California system, and Cornell. These libraries partnered with Google to get their book digitization efforts off the ground and, in return, Google has provided them with digital copies of the works. These and many other universities have also become involved with the HathiTrust, an organization set up to help them archive and distribute digital works; the HathiTrust is also named as a defendant."

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Scram (5, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382176)

The courts should rule first of all that the guilds have no standing with respect to works of authors they do not represent... which, despite their name, is a lot of them.

Re:Scram (-1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382280)

The courts should rule first of all that the guilds have no standing with respect to works of authors they do not represent... which, despite their name, is a lot of them.

The courts should first hit Google with the maximum penalty for copyright infringement, for each case of infringement they've committed. Because that's kind of what the whole case is about. If I can't photocopy a book and put it on my public website / private computer without permission of the copyright owner, then Google can't scan millions of books and put them into a university's public / semi-public library, nor can they index them on their public web site.

It's flagrant violation of copyright law, yet if you put a video of your birthday party on youtube, it's only a matter of time before the copyright bots block your video because it triggered on the performance of the copyrighted "Happy Birthday" song.

Re:Scram (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382434)

Ahem...

Authors in question are DEAD or unknown.

Re:Scram (4, Interesting)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382648)

There really needs to be an astroturf rating.

For SexConker, what icebike said and I have to append. I have a book 200+ years old and I am damn well going to photocopy it, and will give that work up to whatever library wants to have a copy. As for the original book, long into the public domain, will be shoved up the ass of any lawyer or any copyright fist-fuck that tries to say shit.

I have some other very old books that will be scanned as well, for the preservation of their content. All in the public domain. You think my response is over the top? Copyright, and the trolls that defend it can fuck themselves. It's no longer serving the purpose it was intended for.

- One pissed off reader.

This is not about public domain works (4, Informative)

bgalbrecht (920100) | more than 3 years ago | (#37383140)

They're not suing the universities and HathiTrust over 200 year old books which are in the public domain, they're suing over books which are clearly copyrighted because the US copyright was renewed and has not lapsed, but universities and HathiTrust can't find the current copyright holders. One of the four factors of fair use in the US is the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes. In this case, the universities and HathiTrust claim the digitizing these works and making them available to students and faculty is fair use, and the authors/Authors Guilds are claiming this is too broad an interpretation of this factor in determining fair use.

Re:Scram (2)

lexsird (1208192) | more than 3 years ago | (#37383468)

It's all about the greed. But technology is a genie that is out of the bottle and so much is changing. A friend of mine and I debate this a LOT; he's on the side of the MAFIAA and laughs about the teen girl who gets burned for downloading some MP3s. I tell him then that every library should be closed then because they violate copyrights as well. He doesn't like that. I say, think about it, what is the difference? When someone checks out a book, that author isn't getting any money from it. And they have records and movies you can check out, why not close them for the producers of said records, books and movies not making any money?

He thinks musicians are getting burned by the evil downloaders. I tell him they are like someone who builds a piece of furniture and puts it out on the curb, then complains it gets stolen. If they are going to make criminals out of teenage girls, then shouldn't THEY be outlawed for the good of everyone? He wants to get rich someday as a musician. I tell him to evolve with the times and the technology. The genie isn't going back in the bottle. I am sure the Stage Coach Company feels burned by the railroad and the invention of cars, and it's too bad. This is like the Stage Coach Company people trying to sue to keep trains and cars from taking their business. They are a past era, they are toast. The world has changed and if they are too dumb to change with it, they need to suck it.

I think they should digitize every book ever made and have it in a giant database. What a wonderful research tool that would be! But we aren't evolved enough to think like that. We are still in some reptile brained greed mode still. The simple logic of the classic line of "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one" are still beyond us.

Re:Scram (1)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 3 years ago | (#37383788)

Peace has descended upon my soul... There is hope after all.

Re:Scram (1)

next_ghost (1868792) | more than 3 years ago | (#37384438)

He thinks musicians are getting burned by the evil downloaders. I tell him they are like someone who builds a piece of furniture and puts it out on the curb, then complains it gets stolen.

Not stolen, it just gets sat on by random passer-bys. And sometimes gets used by a passer-by to build something completely new. Not to mention that the maker who's throwing temper tantrum about random passer-bys using his furniture himself used somebody else's furniture to make his own in the first place. That's the reality of creativity.

Re:Scram (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37384454)

I tell him then that every library should be closed then because they violate copyrights as well.

When someone checks out a book, that author isn't getting any money from it. And they have records and movies you can check out, why not close them for the producers of said records, books and movies not making any money?

I don't think loaning someone a book or CD was ever a copyright violation, and you'd be welcome to do it too. Though if they'd copied them and given away the copies, that would've been a different story.

That really doesn't seem like a big distinction to us, but to most it is.

Re:Scram (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37382436)

The courts should rule first of all that the guilds have no standing with respect to works of authors they do not represent... which, despite their name, is a lot of them.

The courts should first hit Google with the maximum penalty for copyright infringement, for each case of infringement they've committed. Because that's kind of what the whole case is about. If I can't photocopy a book and put it on my public website / private computer without permission of the copyright owner, then Google can't scan millions of books and put them into a university's public / semi-public library, nor can they index them on their public web site.

It's flagrant violation of copyright law, yet if you put a video of your birthday party on youtube, it's only a matter of time before the copyright bots block your video because it triggered on the performance of the copyrighted "Happy Birthday" song.

That is all wrong. The court can only hit Google with the maximum penalty for each case of copyright infringement for each person who goes to court and asks for it. In this case, it looks like some sort of industry group is suing. Too bad they can only recover for people they represent whose book has been copied. However, it may be worth it because they can sue if they can demonstrate one of their members had a book copied. They can then set a precedent for future cases by all authors.

Exactly. (2)

jvonk (315830) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382524)

They can then set a precedent for future cases by all authors.

I'm convinced that's exactly what they are trying to accomplish: [slashdot.org] they want to be the MAFIAA of written works, and seem determined to keep trying until they can bootstrap themselves into that position.

It's like watching The Omen [wikimedia.org] , only real.

Re:Scram (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382654)

Not if the books are out of copyright. Books that are out of circulation might be debatable. Books which the copyrights have never been enforced are again debatable. Books whose authors are dead, and there are no clear estate holders are very much debatable.

Who owns a book, if not the university that paid for it?

I've never heard that Google was digitizing books that are currently under copyright, current in print, and the authors or their estates are actively enforcing copyrights. If the owner of a 200 year old book wants Google to digitize it, there is no question in my mind that it should be done. Ditto with a 150 year old book. And, again with a 100 year old book. The guy who owns the book has final say. 75 year old book? Well, the crazy laws we have today may just bar them from being scanned, but it's alright with me. When copyrights expire, these "guilds" have no say in the matter.

Re:Scram (5, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#37383040)

The real problem is, the longer copyright terms get, the more works are lost for good.

Don't believe me? Think about how many books "under copyright" may be lost simply because nobody preserves a copy. Think about how many films are lost [wikipedia.org] merely because the original source, moldering under "copyright protection", went bad in the can down in the vaults of some MafiAA member and either is unreadable, or perished in a vault fire (early nitrate stock is NOTORIOUS for being susceptible to both).

We almost lost an amazing amount of black gospel music [baylor.edu] before a few concerned citizens stepped in; we STILL risk losing a large amount of it due to MafiAA meddling.

And that doesn't even discuss the loss of computer programs for formats and computers that won't expire copyright for decades, but are functionally already dead - the guy who built this [chrisfenton.com] is having a devil of a time finding software to test it with, merely because disk packs weren't maintained and SGI apparently wiped most of their archives. Or the various game consoles, or early home computers where most software was stored on highly volatile and quickly-degrading floppy disks...

Re:Scram (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#37383378)

If a book becomes dead, it might be because of the bad content, although I would hate to see one become lost because of that specific reason. I'm the author of ten books. All are trade paperback format. All will disintegrate one day. I've digitized them all, because I inarguably own the copyright.

Yet two of them have turned up in Google Books, then were taken down at my demand. If they turn up in the universities, there is a fair-use copy they can manage (or more than one, depending on how many copies they purchased). If more than that number of copies are released, then we have issue as they cannot control the repurposing for profit unintended by fair use.

My digital copies are clearly marked, as are the originals. The Author's Guild is within their rights to test the property rights and how copies are managed. I don't work for free, and you shouldn't either, unless that's what you specifically intended.

Re:Scram (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 3 years ago | (#37383908)

IMHO, not every work currently under copyright is worth the time, effort and expense required of society in order to catalog and preserve it. Indeed, most modern works are probably not worth preserving for the next hundred years or at least not in their original forms. For example, millions of used mass market paperbacks are pulped every year in the United States and it doesn't seem to be any great loss.

Re:Scram (1)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 3 years ago | (#37384214)

Pulping a book is just retiring an object which is beyond it's service live.

So long as there is another copy of the information in that book available, nothing of value has been lost. It's the loss of information in losing the last copy of a book which matters.

Re:Scram (2)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 3 years ago | (#37383874)

While I am neither attorney nor judge, it seems to me that since the dispute arose out of the digitization project undertaken by Google and given that the circumstances and arguments are likely to be identical or at least similar for any individual work; the Authors Guild could probably make a case that they represent a class of plaintiffs and stand a decent chance of being certified as plaintiffs representing that class. Of course, it might be difficult from a practical standpoint to track down enough individual members who agree to be certified into the class, especially given the large numbers of works involved, but it may be possible depending upon what requirements are imposed by the judge to certify the class.

well (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 3 years ago | (#37384388)

They are basically going against libraries, where you can read books for free. What are they thinking?

oops... sorry google (0)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382182)

when I read the story about the guy who ripped off the JSTOR archives by sitting in an MIT wiring closet, and got sued for it, i screamed "How is this different from what google does with google books? they didnt get copyright permission from all their authors..."

guess.. uhm.. oops. guess it wasnt THAT different.

Re:oops... sorry google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37382258)

for anyone who's interested - background is here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JSTOR#Controversy

Re:oops... sorry google (5, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382270)

The JSTOR guy wasn't charged with any copyright violations. JSTOR themselves seem to have distanced themselves from the criminal prosecution too by releasing a statement that they will not pursue civil charges and, by implication, they aren't behind the criminal charges. And then last week JSTOR made all of their public domain articles freely accessible to non-subscribers.

On the other hand, Google does need a slap-down here. The people they are "negotiating" with don't have any standing wrt to abandoned works - if they did, the works would not qualify as abandoned. If Google really wants this, they need to lobby for changes in the law. The MAFIAA has no problem buying senators, Google's got more than enough money to buy practically the entire senate. If they don't have a problem with "defensive" software patents, they shouldn't have a problem with defensive lobbying either....

AG == Righthaven? (2)

TiggertheMad (556308) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382302)

On the other hand, Google does need a slap-down here. The people they are "negotiating" with don't have any standing wrt to abandoned works - if they did, the works would not qualify as abandoned.

Almost sounds like Righthaven, doesn't it? But why would Google need to get slapped down? I would think that the AG is the one getting out of line here in trying to represent people legally that it has no right to.

IANAL, so....lawyers, is it legal to represent someone without their expressed consent?

Re:AG == Righthaven? (2)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382342)

IANAL, so....lawyers, is it legal to represent someone without their expressed consent?

That's the job of the attorney general - representing "the people" as a whole. Although, AFAIK no AG has anything to do with the Google Books case.

Re:AG == Righthaven? (1)

s2jcpete (989386) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382364)

AG refers to the Authors Guild as mentioned in the summary, not Attorney General

Re:AG == Righthaven? (2)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382420)

Ok. Not used to AG having other meanings in a legal context.

It isn't that the Author's Guild is right or wrong, it's that Google is wrong.

As part of society I say abandoned works should be in the public domain and since Google wants to treat them that way then its only fair that everybody get to treat them that way, not just google because they are loaded with more than enough cash to fight anyone who does sue them.

Re:AG == Righthaven? (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382454)

As part of society I say abandoned works should be in the public domain and since Google wants to treat them that way then its only fair that everybody get to treat them that way,

And Google prevents this HOW?

Re:AG == Righthaven? (2)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382520)

It isn't that google is preventing anything. They are just as beholden to the copyright bargain as anyone else and that includes both sides of the bargain. When they break the bargain not only are breaking it with the authors of the abandoned works they are breaking it with every member of society - we gave those rights to the authors, not to google. Because copyright is merely a temporary loan from the public domain, we as a society have an interest in seeing the bargain upheld or at least renegotiated to reflect the changing circumstances so that it can continue to be upheld.

Re:AG == Righthaven? (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382590)

we as a society have an interest in seeing the bargain upheld or at least renegotiated to reflect the changing circumstances so that it can continue to be upheld.

Well then trot out these authors, or the heirs of those who are dead AND have abandoned their works and lets us sit down and renegotiate. Google has long asked for any information to find these people or their heirs. They are a search company. They couldn't find them. Your level of indignation suggests you know where they are and how badly they have been treated.

Dead before the cut-off date, (i forget the exact date here, but its somewhere in the 20s IIRC) then there is no problem.
Living and already have given permission or withheld it, again no problem.

But this middle ground of unknown authors, who are quite probably dead with no heirs accounts for a tiny tiny number books, which Google will immediately remove if the authors should appear. Too date, not a one of them have.

Re:AG == Righthaven? (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382644)

Well then trot out these authors,

No. I do not need to do that in order to say that Google is wrong. This is not a court of law and you aren't a lawyer. If anything the lawyers agree with me since the court has not dismissed the Author's Guild for lack of standing.

Re:AG == Righthaven? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37383746)

I think this would be a fine solution, if it was made into law, but google isn't attempting to change the law, they are trying to settle a single case that would apply only to them. Effectively an exception to the law just for them. Obviously that would be a hugely unfair advantage for Google to have.

Re:AG == Righthaven? (5, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#37383346)

When the borrower dies or disappears, the loaned item is repatriated by the loaner. The orphan books being digitized are works where the author is unfindable. There is nobody to negotiate with. Unless someone like google preserves the works, they will simply turn to dust and disappear forever. Effectively, the author has reneged on the copyright deal by vanishing without a trace and taking the works with him.

If google has wronged someone, let that someone or a rightful heir come forward and say so. Their silence tells us they either don't feel wronged or don't care (perhaps they're past caring due to a mild case of dead).

Consider, if the Author's Guild wins something on the behalf of one of these authors, do you REALLY think they will stick it in a safe until they can track the guy down? Or will they just compound the wrong by stealing the absentee author's rightful awards? Given that copyright has been lengthened several times now, it is quite likely that the authors of some of these orphaned works had every expectation that their books would be in the public domain by now.

Re:AG == Righthaven? (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#37383666)

When the borrower dies or disappears, the loaned item is repatriated by the loaner.

The problem is that is NOT the way the law is written. Not even kinda sorta, it is incontrovertibly not written that way. The handling of orphan works is one of the most broken things about current copyright law in the US.

I'm good with the law being changed to work that way. What I'm not good with is Google setting themselves up to break the law because they can afford to pay the consequences while just about everybody else can not. The law is not intended to be something anyone can violate as long as they can afford to pay the fines. Especially when the fines are so large that only the richest could hope to pay them. Law is intended to egalitarian. Google's actions here are decidedly not egalitarian. They wrong society as a whole by breaking the law.

However they could the get exact same results for themselves by lobbying for the law to be changed. The Author's Guild and any other groups' lawsuits would be completely voided by changing the law to "repatriate" orphan works to the public domain.

This isn't about the Author's Guild being right, it is about Google being wrong.

Re:AG == Righthaven? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#37384332)

Google isn't wrong, the law is. It was sloppily written by a bunch of hacks that let power go to their heads as usual.

Who are they wronging? Perhaps the dead if you can be said to wrong a ghost (if you even believe in an afterlife). So why are the courts allowing a 3rd party to butt in? Because they're broken. If the courts didn't let anyone sue for any old thing, this wouldn't be an issue for anyone. It would go like this:

Small publisher publishes works still under copyright but abandoned. Nobody with an interest in the matter exists, so nobody gets sued.

OR, small publisher publishes and legitimate copyright holder comes out of the woodwork. He sues and the court tells him to go work it out and makes it clear that it will be most displeased if the parties don't try VERY hard to settle amicably, OR legitimate rights holder says no publication, small publisher halts and settles for the already published works.

Perhaps some 3rd party like the Author's Guild tries to sue and the judge tells them they have no cause of action and further, since any competent attorney should know that, the lawyers get to pay fines for wasting the court's time.

That's not some grand theory, that's all how it is supposed to work now. Alas the courts have forgotten their duties and mandates and become a system where many cannot afford justice. It happens that if you have big bucks you can buy some semblance of justice. It also happens that you can buy a great injustice in your own favor. I suggest that Google is doing the former and that they are not wrong to do so. Instead the courts are wrong for leaving that as the only way. That problem goes well beyond copyright.

Meanwhile, I would like to see copyright reforms including shortening the term, requiring periodic renewals, and a publish or perish clause attached to the renewals.

Re:AG == Righthaven? (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#37384374)

Who are they wronging?

They are wronging everybody else in our society. We all still have to suffer those restrictions but Google doesn't simply because they "have the big bucks." They are effectively changing rule of law to rule of man and that is not how a democracy works. An oligarchy yes, but not a democracy.

Re:AG == Righthaven? (1)

value (2182292) | more than 3 years ago | (#37384398)

Laws are intended to force the will of others on you. This is as far as it can be from egalitarian.

It is similar to when someone takes the kidneys of another person against their will, sells them, and donates the money to charity. Is that egalitarian?

The copyright system was created by special interests and now we are witnessing how a different, more powerful special interest is challenging that system. I predict victory for Google. Though neither Google, nor the Authors Guild cares about you, or me, or egalitarianism.

Re:AG == Righthaven? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37382572)

As part of society I say abandoned works should be in the public domain and since Google wants to treat them that way then its only fair that everybody get to treat them that way,

And Google prevents this HOW?

Before this blew up long ago, the thing is that Google tried to strike a deal with the AG that from Googles side legitimized the claims the Authors Guild had regarding abandoned works (since they were put in the place of the rights holder) and that the AG then "gave Google permission" to do certain things, which means of course that everyone else doesn't.

Re:AG == Righthaven? (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382614)

But the AG never had those rights to give, and that deal never succeeded and was struck down. Now the AG wants that deal back, or at least they assert that they still have some say in this matter.

Look, its simply divide and conqueror, by suing Google in every country where there is even one author that is a member of such a guild. They still haven't any right to represent authors who are unknown, who have not given the AG written permission to represent them.

AG is a far bigger usurper in this case than Google.

Re:AG == Righthaven? (1)

Silvanis (152728) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382356)

Sure, if it's a criminal case. That's rather the point of district attorneys and attorney generals; only someone in law enforcement can bring criminal charges to court.

Cisco can bring criminal charges to court (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382664)

all it has to do is ring up the Attorney General on the gigantic 3 foot tall "competition and free market" phone in the whitehouse.

Re:AG == Righthaven? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37382470)

The quick easy answer is "yes," as long as you have their implied consent. It is the question as to what is implied that makes the answer complicated. There are three common situations though: crimes (the People, and by extension you, have consented to the state doing the prosecution), class actions (by being notified and not opting out of the case) and diminished capacity (like guardianships/conservatorships where the law states that someone is appointed to protect their interest as they may not be able to adequately protect it themselves). Something like this situation is most likely a no, unless they are a member of the organization.

Re:oops... sorry google (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37382890)

The MAFIAA has no problem buying senators, Google's got more than enough money to buy practically the entire senate.

Wouldn't that be evil?

Heaven forbid (5, Insightful)

MacAndrew (463832) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382210)

... that people get to read these works!

As a writer I understand the tension between wanting to be read and wanting to be paid. Some want only the former, some the latter; I want both, kind of like eat to live and live to eat combined. Such is my right. But I find the resistence to digitization foolish, a fixation on money and a holdover from dead tree books plus a first use doctrine many publishers and authors never liked. It's obstructionist.

As a reader, full speed ahead. I am so tired of books missing at the library or out of print. Then there's the allure of getting a book within thirty seconds. Yes, I'll pay for the privilege, can we please hurry up with an eye to both principles (get read, get paid)? And books in the public domain? Rapture. (Topic for another day: The insane extension of copyright in the Mickey Mouse / Sonny Bono Act.....)

Re:Heaven forbid (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37382250)

Such is my right.

Is it, though? Between this and the story about the EU copyright extension, it seems that both authors groups and content owners (and no, they aren't the same) are all supporting infinite copyright extensions with no provision for orphaned works. If your "right" to make money conflicts with society's interest in preserving this content for future generations, which wins out?

Re:Heaven forbid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37382276)

Well, you compromise. That's why copyrights and patents do and should expire. If someone 100 years from now wants to read something I wrote, I'll be (1) quite dead and (2) thrilled (assuming an afterlife, which I hope will be rent-free).

Without copyright, an author doesn't have spit unless they can negotiate a really really good deal with the very first reader. After that, it's over. Or if they're available to work for free (Huffington Post), which is great but not universally practical....

Re:Heaven forbid (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37382374)

If society has taught the computer geeks/hackers anything its that you can solve any content problem by suing and imprisonment of said thief, just treat the book/article as an object of value and press theft charges against said corporation. After all corps are people too now. How someone would arrest and detain a corporation is an issue for courts and law enforcement community to solve.

Re:Heaven forbid (4, Insightful)

ninetyninebottles (2174630) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382530)

If your "right" to make money conflicts with society's interest in preserving this content for future generations, which wins out?

Well, you compromise. That's why copyrights and patents do and should expire.

Perhaps you misrepresented your position, but why should we compromise between what a special interest wants and what is best for society. Shouldn't laws just be what is best for society?

Without copyright, an author doesn't have spit unless they can negotiate a really really good deal with the very first reader.

Now look, I've made my living primarily as a writer for many years. The idea that copyright is the only viable business model for a writer is just bunk; especially in the internet age. You can post works for free and make money on ads. You can set up a fund whereby you only issue the next episode/issue/chapter when donations reach a certain level. You can use writing to promote a profitable business lecturing.

I'm not opposed to reasonable copyright law and certainly benefit from copyright laws on the books, but I'm of the very strong opinion that our current laws do more harm than good to society; and that is a trend that is only getting worse. Our society is run by big businesses and in that light the laws being passed make perfect sense. If you think what is good for big business is implicitly good for society, well I'm not sure rational discourse is even possible. We need to stand up and be clear about this complex issue; otherwise the majority will never care and the special interests will destroy what rightfully belongs to our descendants. Many works have vanished and every day the last copy of something gets destroyed. It is intolerable to me, and should be to you and everyone else. Please, think deeply on this topic.

Re:Heaven forbid (2)

MacAndrew (463832) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382596)

Writers are part of society. What is best for society includes their welfare (food, housing) and, for their readers (all of us), keeping them productive. Finally, this is for better or worse capitalism, so you have some control over the things you make (in Lockean theory). If you want to depart from that principle, fine, but don't just inflict it on the writers because it's easy!

The rest of your arguments are just that writers like musicians can get into some other business and give their work away. Well, some can, but why force them in the name of the common good? Writing is a profession in itself with real work product taht deserves the respect given other things. (Yes, I know there's a longrunning debate over "words want to be free" or something, but I can't even grasp that one imposed 100%. I *do* love old works that are public domain, i think it's a great thing -- partly because many copyrighted works are for the moment so hard to come by.)

Preservation of the text obviously takes precedence over losing them! Then everyone loses. Google is engaged in a very important thing and I hope they'll be socially mided about it ... as opposed to (evil) greedbags.

And I intimated in the original comment that our current laws are stupid. That one's easy.

Re:Heaven forbid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37382780)

You are missing two very important facts:

  1. Writers are not the only part of society.
  2. Copyright has been extended well past the length of time required to compensate individual writers for their works.

Re:Heaven forbid (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 3 years ago | (#37383248)

I'd really like for my grandchildren to get paid for those burgers and fries I made when I was a teenager to. Copyright protection longer than the original terms in the U.S. does little to act as an incentive for the creation of new works. If copyright were 20 years, publishing companies would still be publishing works. The cost overhead is far cheaper, with far wider distribution channels. It really doesn't make sense for society as a whole to have copyrights as long as they are. Nothing created in your parent's lifetime will ever be in the public domain. That is just an atrocity imho.

Re:Heaven forbid (2)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382706)

Now look, I've made my living primarily as a writer for many years. The idea that copyright is the only viable business model for a writer is just bunk; especially in the internet age. (1) You can post works for free and make money on ads. (2)You can set up a fund whereby you only issue the next episode/issue/chapter when donations reach a certain level. (3)You can use writing to promote a profitable business lecturing.

1) Doesn't work without copyright. I'll just visit your website once, make a copy of your works, and post them on my own site. People will visit mine because it's a "book aggregator" -- all the best books in one place! I get money, you get nothing. Thanks for all your hard work!

2) Only works if you know exactly how much you expect to make from each work. Set your donations level too high, and it won't be reached and your fans will leave. Set it too low, and you're leaving money, perhaps a lot of money, on the table.

3) This method works, to be sure, but only if you're writing a very specific type of book. Authors of fiction wouldn't see a dime.

I don't disagree with you entirely. Our current copyright system is totally FUBAR, primarily thanks to Disney and their ilk. But copyright is a necessary evil. It needs to be reined in, but we could never eliminate it while hoping to maintain a truly vibrant culture.

Re:Heaven forbid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37382762)

'm not opposed to reasonable copyright law and certainly benefit from copyright laws on the books, but I'm of the very strong opinion that our current laws do more harm than good to society;

His idea are resumed by the precedent passage, all you seems to do is try to counter a position that is not his, while agreeing with him in your conclusion....

Re:Heaven forbid (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#37383470)

He stated "The idea that copyright is the only viable business model for a writer is just bunk."

I proved that statement to be false.

If he had posted, "I'm not opposed to arithmetic, but the idea that 2+2 is only equal to 4 is just bunk", should I have agreed with that as well, since I too support arithmetic?

Re:Heaven forbid (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 3 years ago | (#37383280)

1) Doesn't work without copyright. I'll just visit your website once, make a copy of your works, and post them on my own site. People will visit mine because it's a "book aggregator" -- all the best books in one place! I get money, you get nothing. Thanks for all your hard work!

Though I don't speak for the GP, I can say that very few in here would want the abolishment of copyright. It's only the current term/length that people find offensive. I think that the original terms were pretty reasonable. Even the life of the original author (person, not company) + 5 years would be much more reasonable than life + 70 years. Or, say the lesser of life+30 years, or 45 years from the original date. Lasting more than 4-5 generations just isn't acceptable imho. The original 17 + 17 on renewal seems pretty damned reasonable.

Re:Heaven forbid (2)

spearway (169040) | more than 3 years ago | (#37383364)

You probably need to modulate the length depending on what the object being copyrighted is. I find it reasonable that Mickey is copyrighted as long as Disney company actively use the character and that can be for a very long time. The same should be true of any work being actively exploited (i.e. being in print or software being distributed). I think we should have a very short expiry time for out of print, probably 10 years out of print for a book should make it fall in the public domain, 3 years for out of distribution software should be reasonable.

Re:Heaven forbid (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37382548)

Since copyright was only meant to be a very limited tool, why should you get to live forever off of work done once? No one else in useful professions do. Food recipes, fashion and data can't be copyrighted and all are far more useful. Why should we as the public continue to let art, which derives it's value from the public allow you to continue to take rights away from us? That's correct, the only value that exists in art, the only thing that separates Picasso from a pup and Shakespeare from a shrew is the value imbued by the public. The public has compromised far too much, now you're stealing things back from the public domain retroactively. You can please take your apologist attitude and do something productive, because every time I hear this entitled line of crap, that you deserve to be paid for something after you're dead, is just absurd. When I buy a book second hand, the inherent value is in the paper NOT what the paper contains.

Re:Heaven forbid (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37382398)

... that people get to read these works!

As a writer I understand the tension between wanting to be read and wanting to be paid. Some want only the former, some the latter; I want both, kind of like eat to live and live to eat combined. Such is my right. But I find the resistence to digitization foolish, a fixation on money and a holdover from dead tree books plus a first use doctrine many publishers and authors never liked. It's obstructionist.

Please, spare me. They're not resisting digitization dogmatically, they're resisting parties who they didn't license to do it digitizing their work and not compensating them for it.

I seriously doubt you're a published author dependent on sales of your work for any significant portion of your income. I'm not either, but I once knew someone who wrote an undergrad chemistry textbook as a side job. It was a lot of work for him, for not much reward (it couldn't possibly have supported him and his family on its own, it was more a labor of love). It's also ongoing work, because in the realm of textbooks, after a couple years of sales, most university bookstores will have enough inventory of used copies to keep students happy for essentially forever, so demand for new copies drops off sharply. You have to keep churning out new editions which are different and better enough to get professors to choose them over the old one, or worse yet, a competitor.

It's real work to make a good textbook. People like getting paid for work. You might not, but most people do. Digitizing their work without their agreement and essentially giving away the product is a good way to get them to stop making it in the first place.

Re:Heaven forbid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37382740)

Golly, you know someone who wrote something. Congratulations. So do I. If you were a better reader you'd see nothing in my comment that calls for abandoning copyright. The problem as I said is that the balance has been cast too far off, and that the publishers are being obstructionist, i.e., stupid. They want what they can't get and are going to delay the inevitable process to the detriment of many.

Re:Heaven forbid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37382500)

I understand and accept your logic completely, as I'd guess most would. Your creative works, and you should get to say what happens with them (unlimited copyright extensions aside).

However, you can't be speaking on behalf of *all* authors, any more than Google can. I'm hoping Google takes this to a high-level court - not to win or lose, but to get some clarity as to how this whole class of content's going to be dealt with legally. Might also get the movie and music industries interested as well.

Re:Heaven forbid (1)

gpmanrpi (548447) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382538)

Exactly. Michael Hart is not dead a week, and he is already turning in his proverbial grave. We have a medium that can provide infinite copies for no extra work. The only thing these guilds are concerned with is protecting the publishers. Look I am sad that there are many typesetters, and printing press operators that will be out of work, but I think the benefit to society for cheap and instantly available information frankly worth their jobs. They had a good run, no pun in tended.

Re:Heaven forbid (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37382636)

Exactly. Michael Hart is not dead a week, and he is already turning in his proverbial grave. We have a medium that can provide infinite copies for no extra work. The only thing these guilds are concerned with is protecting the publishers. Look I am sad that there are many typesetters, and printing press operators that will be out of work, but I think the benefit to society for cheap and instantly available information frankly worth their jobs. They had a good run, no pun in tended.

You are grossly misinformed if you think that the only people publishers employ are typesetters and press operators. In fact, the vast majority of publishers don't employ so much as a single press operator -- they outsource printing to companies who specialize in it. Publishing is not the same thing as printing!

You are hereby sentenced to read Charlie Stross' excellent "Common Misconceptions about Publishing" essays until enlightenment dawns:

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2010/04/common-misconceptions-about-pu-1.html

Re:Heaven forbid (1)

gpmanrpi (548447) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382742)

I was being facetious. The point was that the entire distribution channel is moot if the actual hurdles to distribution are removed. No one type sets, or even really operates the presses. I imagine like most of repeatable processes it is no longer labor intensive. Now these publishers become exclusively marketing companies, or proofreading/editing companies (they basically are). It could still render them moot. They are protecting their gatekeeper role, while not trying to actually determine how to make money in their new role. The fact that the ideas can now literally travel around the world for less than a penny. That is the revolution, and that is what they are trying to prevent.

Re:Heaven forbid (2)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382834)

from your link I will remember mostly one thing:

If contracts were fish, then the contract on my house would be an ornamental carp, the book contract would be a bluefin tuna, and the option contract would be an angry great white shark.

Re:Heaven forbid (2)

dasunt (249686) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382840)

I was using Google books awhile back for some genealogical research. One of the books I was using was the Diary of Joshua Hempstead of New London, Connecticut [google.com] , published in 1901, which was originally written in 1711-1758.

It's dull diary entries, mostly describing the weather, what task the author had accomplished that day, any income, and who died.

Oddly, the book was republished in 2008, in paperback format. I can buy it on Amazon for $39. But I would have never found it. I'm not related to the author. My relatives are mentioned in there, mostly in passing, or noting their deaths. My access to the book on google doesn't result in a lost sale. I wouldn't know the book had information that was relevant without seeing it, nor would I spend $38 on a whim just in case a relative was mentioned in it.

(By the way, the publishing company (Kessinger Publishing) has been accused of ripping off public domain books digitized by other sources, including google. Here's a thread on that [google.com] . I don't know if this is true or not, but buyer beware!)

Re:Heaven forbid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37383490)

i wanted to buy a sociology e-book at my schools bookstore, they told me they were out of stock. im still trying to figure that one out :D

Re:Heaven forbid (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#37384136)

The best option i can see is to tack a levy on the net connection, and feed that into a creative support pool. Sure, it is not as fine grained as having a sum lifted on every download or every read/listen/view (what the laywers like to define as consumption, even tho nothing is really consumed). But in the end i think the only people that will loose out are the fat cat execs and their lawyers.

Thing is tho that for there to be a slice of the pool i think there is a need for a work to be registered rather then just uploaded somewhere and the pool petitioned. There has to be a way to prove that one is the creator of something to benefit from the pool.

if only (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37382246)

Ripping a book was like ripping a CD.

Shows importance of Project Gutenberg (5, Insightful)

rafial (4671) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382290)

To me, this story shows the importance of keeping Project Gutenberg moving forward, slowly but steadily.

Re:Shows importance of Project Gutenberg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37383012)

Or Wikisource, which actually presents the original works as well (or at least specifies a source edition), bothers to include formatting like italics and accents and special characters, and if you find a transcription mistake, it is trivially correctable.

Fuck off (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37382336)

I'm tired of their bitching all the time. Give us money! Moar! MOAR!! You can't do that! That's illegal! That's mine! The authors are starving! The musicians are dying! Fuck off and die, you greedy, lying, evil sons of bitches.

Re:Fuck off (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37382484)

Remember this the next time you have an opportunity to vote. Everyone complains but still votes for one of the Old Parties.

Re:Fuck off (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37382666)

Agree completely.

I am 45 yrs. old, and have voted in every election since I was 18. I have never voted for a corporate bought and paid for democrat, or a corporate bought and paid for republican.

No candidate I have voted for has ever won.

No, I have not been throwing away my votes on "spoilers". It is all the whiners who still vote for the Republican/Democrat spoiler who will not serve them unless they can write checks for millions of dollars who waste their votes. Anybody who votes Democrat/Republican has not only thrown away their own votes, but also wasted the votes of others like me, who vote for candidates too principled to run on the Republican/Democrat ticket.

Please do us all a favor, and make the pledge, no Republican/Democrat worthless tools in November!

Simple solution (5, Informative)

Gravis Zero (934156) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382380)

a) do not digitize any of the books of authors in the Authors Guild that do not request their books be digitized.
b) pull the books of authors in the Authors Guild from the school library and all curriculum that do not give express permission to digitize their books.

be careful what you ask for because you might just get it and more.

Re:Simple solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37382772)

My thoughts exactly.

Re:Simple solution (2)

mykos (1627575) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382882)

Amen. People need to be playing offense, not defense when it comes to copyright bullies [techdirt.com] .

Re:Simple solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37383340)

In the link you provided, it only went to show that Google has ultimately created a monopoly. Period.

lol @ "the media" (5, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382386)

Lets get one thing strait here. For a long time The media industry sought to focus the publics interest. It's hard to market to huge audiences with a wide variety of tastes. With free and easy distribution on the internet, the media industries aren't just afraid that people are pirating their content... their true fear is the availability of content not approved by them. They aren't trying to stop piracy, they are trying to stop the alternative distribution systems that are forming outside of their control. They are trying to destroy the systems that could bring new, different and FREE content to their customers not because their afraid of theft, but because they cannot compete with something that's free and tailored to the consumers needs. They want you to have choices limited to what they've chosen for you, in the format they've decided on, at the price they've agreed on with their "competitors."

Re:lol @ "the media" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37382748)

I seriously think they have not thought that far ahead.

They *HONESTLY* think we are trying to rip them off. Also lets face it 99% of shit on torrents out there does just that. Maybe you wouldnt pay for it anyway and there is no 'loss'. But guess what you should have paid for it and are just being cheap. Oh sure there is the 'out of print' stuff. But would you pay for it if you really had access to it? Most say they would. But then many seeds of popular stuff easily available is readily available. What does that tell you? I tell you what it tells me. We are a cheap lot who do not think most of what is out there is worth much.

Just be a bit more honest and quit trying to justify your copying. You just like to get shit for free just like the rest of us...

Re:lol @ "the media" (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#37384518)

http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2424634&cid=37382840 [slashdot.org]

I know I am wasting my time replying to the mafiaa AC mouthpiece, but you are a fool to think it's only about free shit. Read the link I just posted.

Research done this way would benefit us all if moneygrubbing assholes like you would just let the fuck go.

nobody cares about copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37382406)

copyright has been extended to 70 years in europe... i have maybe 30-40 years left to live...

do you really think i will respect copyrights and die?

not in this reality

no money for education.. no education for work... no work for money... no money for entertainment... and pointless stories about copyright left and right...

Sovereign Immunity might bar the lawsuit (2)

pacergh (882705) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382410)

You can't sue a State or the federal government unless they specifically allow it. Some States might allow their state universities to be sued, but most do not. There is already caselaw involving courts upholding sovereign immunity in these kinds of cases.

Might be a bit of a stumbling block in regards to suing the entities under the state sovereign immunity umbrella.

Re:Sovereign Immunity might bar the lawsuit (1)

gpmanrpi (548447) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382556)

This does work differently in different states; it depends on the statute. In some states there is a right to sue with a 100,000 total damage cap that requires an act of the legislature to overcome for purposes of collection. So if the only risk is 100k, it is probably money well spent.

Re:Sovereign Immunity might bar the lawsuit (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382790)

You can't sue a State or the federal government unless they specifically allow it

Just a guess here, since I am not a lawyer, but I don't think sovereign immunity protects the states from being sued under federal law.

"Abducted?" (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37382418)

First it was stealing, now it's abducted. The hyperbole increases. How long before we will be accused of 'killing' copyright holders? But it makes sense this time; we're dealing with the guild that supposedly represents people who know how to create inflammatory language.

Let us use our own hyperboles:

"With their infinitely extending copyrights, these guys have been commiting mass murder on the public domain!"
"They have totally vivesected our rights to have ideas come out of copyright."
"It's like they're hacking our limbs off, one by one!"

Rent seeking. (2)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382522)

Copyright is clearly being abused. It's time to bring it back to 14 years and a 14 year renewal like when they had it in 1790. The framers of the Constitution did not set out to enable you to create one work and sit on your ass for the rest of your life and enrich your grandkids after your demise.

We should all ignore copyright law as it stands, as practicable. Fuck them. Fuck them all.

If you are an author: too bad. Your bad apples have declared war on society at large and stolen from the public domain.

--
BMO

Re:Rent seeking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37382562)

Copyright is clearly being abused. It's time to bring it back to 14 years and a 14 year renewal like when they had it in 1790. The framers of the Constitution did not set out to enable you to create one work and sit on your ass for the rest of your life and enrich your grandkids after your demise.

We should all ignore copyright law as it stands, as practicable. Fuck them. Fuck them all.

If you are an author: too bad. Your bad apples have declared war on society at large and stolen from the public domain.

Re:Rent seeking. (2)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382586)

I don't know what your point is, AC, but please do feel free to copy this as many times as you wish. You may even put your own name to it. Have at it.

Same with all my comments here and in Usenet and on Facebook and wherever.

--
BMO

Re:Rent seeking. (1)

Kylon99 (2430624) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382690)

I just want to add something else in support of this.

If I am allowed to use Cory Doctorow as an example; he often gives away his books for free. He generates no income beyond donations with this. But what this creates is an opportunity for us sample his work. Under the "traditional" model he makes no money from this sampling. Instead, he generates interest in his future works of which I would be more than willing to pay for, because I want it *now*. This is assuming he WILL have future works.

But look at what this has done. Be it give away or have works expire under copyright, these past works generate new interest in future works. It makes it so the author can and must continue to write in order to take advantage of this, assuming his works are popular. Spuring on people to create new works is what society and the economy was supposed to do in the first place!

> create one work and sit on your ass for the rest of your life and enrich your grandkids after your demise.

In other words, the opposite of the lack of copyrights is to spur people to work and continue to work so that society may benefit from new ideas being created.

By the way, I put "traditional" model in quotes because this infinite copyright model is not REALLY the traditional model. The real traditional model is the one we're transitioning back to; where works are not under copyright but were made to be performed or shared. This is the model we had been using since the days cavemen drew paintings on the walls. What copyright is now is an artificial scarcity device, used to create a market where there should be none. To argue that we somehow need to have copyright is to argue that nothing was done from ancient history till now.

Re:Rent seeking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37383116)

God bless and respect the US constitution! 14 years and a single, solitary one time 14 year renewal. Don't assume the guys who signed the constitution didn't know what was going on. 14 years for what you did. 14 more if you really want. After that, everyone gets to make copies galore! Its likely that they had seen copyright extensions in other countries, and saw how copyrights had been abused by those in power. I'm willing to deferr to the knowledge of the authors of 1790 and respect their decisions over those made in 1940, 1970, 1980, 1990 or 2006. Oh, and the 14 year rule should apply to all media.

Let no good deed go unpunished (1)

mauriceh (3721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382560)

Don't these numbskulls realize that books unread are just paper?
Not even as good as toilet paper. At least that stuff has a purpose.

1st Rule... (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382688)

1st Rule for the Digital Age: The moment you digitize something, you stand to lose control of it.

2nd Rule for the Digital Age: Don't digitize something you don't want to lose control over.

Re:1st Rule... (1)

gorgonite (79857) | more than 3 years ago | (#37383774)

3rd Rule for the Digital Age: If you don't digitize it it will turn to dust.

Re:1st Rule... (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 3 years ago | (#37383832)

"3rd Rule for the Digital Age: If you don't digitize it it will turn to dust."

But, by then I will have too.

Re:1st Rule... (1)

sam_nead (607057) | more than 3 years ago | (#37384232)

"Dust"? Paper, as a means of communication, is more stable than any digital formats. I can read books published in the 1980's. I can't read any of those 5 1/4 inch floppies (or the 3 1/2 inch ones, or the zip drives...). Digital formats must be maintained regularly -- paper can be left on a shelf. Nicholson Baker's book "Double Fold" gives a detailed analysis of this "books turning into dust" meme, as introduced by Patricia Battin, an administrator deeply in favor of microfilm and digitization.

copyright isn't a right (3, Insightful)

markhahn (122033) | more than 3 years ago | (#37382720)

the US constitution had it right: copyrights and patents exist for the purpose of promoting progress. the primary goal isn't to give people a living - particularly not to guarantee profits to some company. we need to rethink the whole legal infrastructure around the concept of IP...

Authors not wanting their works digitized... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37382770)

Authors not wanting their works digitized should have their names added to a list and the list made publicly available so that anyone can obtain it. The list can serve to let those interested in digitizing books know that books by the listed authors are never to be digitized and that if any of these books have been previously digitized that they are to be purged from storage.

The list can also be used to ensure that anyone inclined to ignore the list and digitize books anyway has fewer books available to digitize. This can be done by assiduously destroying physical copies of the book whenever they are encountered at a library sale, garage sale, or second hand book store. Buy them, burn them. If this happens enough then books by authors who don't want them digitized will eventually disappear entirely and it will be as if they never were.

If the authors don't want their works digitally preserved then we should have no interest in doing digitally or by any other means. Why bother preserving something by someone so shortsighted? Their works are unlikely to be very profound or meaningful otherwise they'd want it preserved in any and every way possible. Give the authors what they want and relegate their lives and their works to the dustbin of history.

author's guild (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37382774)

i wanted to join this guild but they raid at 11:00 PM on tuesdays and fridays. now here is the question i think most of us are asking. 1) don't most people have to work or go to school in the morning? 11:00 PM? god. 2) why fridays? don't most people have normal lives on the weekends?

in short this guild is terrible. also they kicked me out for ninjaing a krol blade that dropped from hogger

Suit is about how broad is educational fair use (2)

bgalbrecht (920100) | more than 3 years ago | (#37383300)

This suit has nothing to do with public domain works. It is whether the universities and HathiTrust have a fair use right to digitize copyrighted works for which they can't request permission because they can't find the copyright holder and make digital copies available to students and faculty. This fair use claim is based on one of the four factors for determining fair use of a US copyrighted work: the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes. The authors and Authors Guilds are saying the universities and HathiTrust are using a too broad an interpretation of this fair use factor, and besides that, they're using a tainted copy of the digital work because they're getting the copy from Google, which they claim is an unauthorized copy which would fail the fair use tests.

Again With Quebec? (1)

mlauzon (818714) | more than 3 years ago | (#37383736)

Will they ever realize that Quebec has what amounts to its own laws, and that a win in a court there does not mean it'll be followed in the rest of the country!

start their own digitization project (1)

devent (1627873) | more than 3 years ago | (#37384056)

Why don't they start their own digitization project? I mean, iTunes and Netfix should be of some example here. How much money do Apple make off of iTunes? Why can't the Authors' Guild and its equivalents in Australia, Quebec, and the UK just come together and start their own iBookStore? They have the books, they have the money and they would be swimming in money like Apple with iTunes.

Are they really enjoy being the asses they are, or are they really that backward? That puzzles me for a long time, even before there was Netflix or iTunes. Why are copyright holding groups not coming together and distributing their stuff online. The technology is there, they have the content, why is there no mean to embrace the new technology and make a lot of money of it?

Does the author's coalition understand Congress? (1)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 3 years ago | (#37384502)

The digital works wouldn't be deleted, but [the author's coalition] wants to see "any computer system storing the digital copies powered down and disconnected from any network, pending an appropriate act of Congress." (Note that they want them shut down and unplugged, just to be sure.)

Stopping the computers from running may be as simple as unplugging them, but getting Congress running takes a lot more money than the author's coalition is likely to have.

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