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Google To Seek Dismissal of Suit Against Google Books

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the can't-let-the-children-read dept.

Google 240

angry tapir writes with an update on the drawn out legal battle between Google and everyone else over their Books service. From the article: "After a so-far fruitless three-year effort to settle the case, Google and the plaintiffs suing it for alleged book-related copyright infringement apparently are moving away from seeking a friendly solution. Google has notified the court that it intends to file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed against it by authors and publishers in 2005, in which they allege copyright infringement stemming from Google's wholesale scanning of millions of library books without the permission of copyright owners. Google Books has been at the center of copyright-related controversy since 2005 when the Authors Guild of America and Association of American Publishers sued the search giant. This has been followed by other legal wrangles, including a 2010 suit by the American Society of Media Photographers, lawsuits in France and Germany and conflict with Chinese authors over the book-scanning project."

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... Profit!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38274522)

I'm publishing this comment copyright Anonymous Coward. I'm going to sue Google if they index it.

If I were an author ... (4, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274608)

Which I am not, but if I were an author, I would be THRILLED to find my book on googlebooks !!

Why?

Unless I am a very well known author, so well known that even people deep in the jungle in Africa or people from the hinterland of Siberia know me, there is NO WAY my book get to people in those places.

Getting my book scanned and placed online by google is a way to get my book to THE WORLD.

Profit loss?

No way.

As my book wouldn't be getting into the hands of people living in deep jungle in Africa or in the hands of people living in the frozen Siberia, I wouldn't be able to make money selling my books to those people in the first place.

BUT, as Google scanned my book and place it online, people all over, as long as they can get access to the Net, can, in theory, access my book.

So what if those people reading my book online don't pay me?

I ain't losing any money one way or another.

Those who sued Google are greedy bastards.

And no, I am not employed by Google.

Re:If I were an author ... (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274724)

It's the case of a blind dog attempting biting a hand which feeds it, because it can't see that the food doesn't magically appear, but has been delivered by the hand it can smell, and thus growls and snaps at.

I, also, would prefer as much visibility of any of my works as Google could provide. I've certainly bought several books because one search lead to another and suddenly I'm looking at a book I'd never have heard of, but contains some fascinating material relevent to my research. As a result I now have a highly comprehensive knowledge of various events in history and a library of books which overflows my shelves. Good thing these people are trying to fight it, I don't know where I'd put more books. :-\

Re:If I were an author ... (5, Insightful)

wolvesofthenight (991664) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274976)

You make a strong point for why an author should want their works on Google. But I think a better analogy might be that the authors are like a starving dog biting the hand of someone who is tying to tie it up and shove steaks down its gullet. Google is not offering the authors a (possibly beneficial) service; it is doing everything it can to force it upon them.

The fact remains that Google is scanning large numbers of books and posting them freely on the internet. And, while it may not be their only motive, they are doing it for their own profit.

Should massive digital libraries be allowed? Yes. However, this should be take care of by two things: For slightly old works, reasonable limits on copyright duration - thus allowing anyone to create such an index. For new works, the copyright holder should be able to offer their works as they see fit. And the idea that they should have to opt out of Google copying their work is insane (even if there is some appeal to the idea of the RIAA/MPAA having to opt out of people copying their works).

Re:If I were an author ... (1, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274890)

So because you choose to have Google profit from your work, you declare everyone else must have the choice taken away from them?

I shan't speak in defence of copyright or "intellectual property" but I shall speak in defence of rule of law. And while there is copyright law then the largest corporations in the land must obey it as much as the man on the street. The worst possible progression of copyright is for big businesses to either sidestep it with lawyering or (as seemed to be happening with some recent lobbying of Cameron in the UK) changing of the law specifically to advance particular corporations' business aims.

If we are to have an alternative to copyright then it must balance rights and obligations. For example, a Stallmanesque philosophy would require Google to release the source for its digitisations so Google is at no advantage over any other individual or organisation which wishes to redistribute works. Google isn't even offering this.

No, there is nothing good about what Google is doing, except to the very short sighted.

Re:If I were an author ... (4, Insightful)

bfields (66644) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275264)

"Rule of law"?

Look, google isn't distributing copies of these books. They're searching for terms in them and returning snippets. That doesn't compete in the least with the business of people that are selling the entire book.

"there is nothing good about what Google is doing, except to the very short sighted."

They're providing an unprecedented and extremely useful service: the ability to perform full-text searches of entire multiple libraries' worth of books in fractions of a second from anywhere in the world.

If we require opt-in, then the immense number of rights owners involved is likely to make building such a service impractical.

We could be having the same argument about libraries: why shouldn't copyright owners be consulted about whether they want their books loaned out?

Fortunately the drafters of the copright law produced something flexible enough to provide incentives to authors while still allowing for services such as libraries. Flexible enough, even, to accommodate services like Google's that didn't exist at the time--fair use and first-sale rights provide all the basis the courts would need to find Google well within the rule of law, and I very much hope that's what happens.

Re:If I were an author ... (4, Interesting)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275546)

I'd say that the snippet things easily count as fair use.

thats simply wrong (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275948)

'fair use' is using small bits. not dozens of pages.

Re:If I were an author ... (1, Interesting)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275598)

You have no right to full-text searches of books. Yea, it's great. Awesome, really. It helps a ton with research of all kinds, or just finding that quote in a particular book or set of books, but this is something that should most likely be part of a licensed database. People pay good money for access to databases to search published journals. This is of the same class.

Re:If I were an author ... (4, Informative)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275762)

You have no right to full-text searches of books. Yea, it's great. Awesome, really. It helps a ton with research of all kinds, or just finding that quote in a particular book or set of books, but this is something that should most likely be part of a licensed database. People pay good money for access to databases to search published journals. This is of the same class.

Why? Published journals are a somewhat different class, since the original author isn't going to get money if the searcher buys the journal (generally). A book, on the other hand, they will.

And just because people pay money for it doesn't mean that is how it should be, either.

Re:If I were an author ... (4, Insightful)

khipu (2511498) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275564)

So because you choose to have Google profit from your work, you declare everyone else must have the choice taken away from them?

Nobody is taking your choice away; if you don't want your books on Google, just tell them. Furthermore, just because you own a copyright doesn't mean other people can't profit from your content without paying you. Copyright doesn't give you exclusive rights to any possible use of your works, it only gives you a specific, limited monopoly.

I shan't speak in defence of copyright or "intellectual property" but I shall speak in defence of rule of law.

Yes, so shall I: the rule of law in the US includes fair use and the public domain. "Authors guilds" and publishers have been trying to subvert the rule of law for decades by trying to carve out ever increasing special privileges. By default, Google makes books searchable and publishes snippets that is fair use.

You and the publishers want to steal from the public and from companies like Google, by deriving profit from fair use activities and content you don't even own. It is high time that the rule of law puts a stop to people like you.

If You Were An Author, You'd Be Less Naive (3, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275100)

It is trivial today for the creator of a manuscript -- an author -- to put his book online, on his own website/blog, at his own pace. Sell a chapter at a time? Give away chapters, or the whole thing? Interact with readers in his own blog forum during the writing process? Add a Facebook and/or Twitter component to the self-promotion? Link his writing work to his speaking work, or other creative and possibly more profitable endeavors? The possibilities are near-endless, and an entire cottage industry to assist and advise authors with marketing their e-books (circumventing traditional publishing houses) is emerging. It's a wonderful, liberating time!

So why in hell would an author give away control over any of that to Google? Fuck Google and fuck Google's Greed! A smart author will put his book (or parts of it) online, and buy the appropriate Google ad words and do all the other SEO bullshit that puts money into Google's pocket for delivering eyeballs to his site. Google is already making money from someone else's creative work -- and that's fine, I get that. But scanning a book without the author's or publisher's permission because -- why? -- it gives them something additional to turn up in search results once indexed, something new to hang ads on? Just wrong in Oh So Many Ways.

Re:If You Were An Author, You'd Be Less Naive (2, Interesting)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275650)

Scanning a book is no different than reading a book.

If I read a bunch of books that I own about a certain topic and someone later asks me question relating to that topic, is it illegal for me to answer that question by citing information I have read?

If a company scans a bunch of books it has legal access to about a certain topic and a user asks the company a question relating to that topic, is it illegal for the company to answer that qustion by citing information from the book?

If the answer to those two questions is different, something is wrong. If the answer to the first question is yes, I'd better stop reading books because telling anyone about anything I've read is illegal.

Re:If I were an author ... (-1, Troll)

Patchw0rk F0g (663145) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275158)

As if I was an author... I DO write for a living. I happen to takke greeat straights to bee voluble ohn-line, and be as respecctful as possible to thost that opposte me.

That NOT being said, I lose money every time someone downloads a book that takes away from my readership. Think about it, asshole: one read = dozens of dollars being lost. Perhaps you have money out the wazzoo; I don't. Shut your yap, pay for the shit you're downloading if you thing it's worth it, and get real.

Re:If I were an author ... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275248)

"I DO write for a living. I happen to takke greeat straights to bee voluble ohn-line, and be as respecctful as possible to thost that opposte me."

+5, Funny.

Re:If I were an author ... (3, Insightful)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275694)

and if we pay for it and realise it wasn't worth what we paid - because the worth cannot be determined without access to the content, can we get a refund? If I go to the library to read your book, will you get mad at the library for taking your profits?

Its also my understanding that Google isn't in the business of providing unfetted access to the entirety of the books it digitises, only small parts thereof. If people could easily determine if a book was not worth purshasing, consumers risk is lower and authors would sell fewer copies.

Re:If I were an author ... (1)

gclef (96311) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275992)

I pity your editor.

it's publishers, not authors, that sue (4, Informative)

khipu (2511498) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275522)

It's the publishers and "guilds" that see their monopoly profits fade away as they are being cut out of the business. In fact, any publisher and author who doesn't want to be on Google Books can simply notify Google and they'll remove their content. Their claims that they are protecting the authors are bullshit. What they really want is to stay in control of the publishing business. They also don't want free content and orphan works to appear because that would be unwelcome competition.

Publishers and "guilds" have conned some authors into supporting them; but any author with half a brain quickly figures out that Amazon, Google Books, and the e-book revolution are good for them.

All of the authors DID notify google. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38275994)

They put a big honking COPYRIGHT NOTICE at the front of their books, it says "Do NOT Copy without written permission in ADVANCE".

Anyone (including google) who makes a copy of the entire book is brazenly violating the posted copyright notice!

Google doing evil again (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38274538)

or rather, still

Re:Google doing evil again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38274572)

How is this evil?

Re:Google doing evil again (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38274618)

Oh right, authors shouldn't get paid. I forgot everyone should work for free.

Re:Google doing evil again (3, Insightful)

NicknameOne (2525178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274676)

Nice try. Troll harder next time. Authors have nothing to do with this. The greedy middle-men were the ones pushing against Google.

Re:Google doing evil again (1, Interesting)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275204)

Authors have nothing to do with this.

Authors have EVERYTHING to do with this, fool. The Author's Guild has been fighting this since day one.

Sorry, but you can't cry and whine that it's the E-E-E-E-E-VILLLL *IAA's/licensed distributors (who only rip-off the poor artists anyway) who are leading the fight against piracy this time. The authors are on the front line -- have been since the day Harlan Ellison first sued AOL [benedict.com] back in the 90's

Re:Google doing evil again (1)

NicknameOne (2525178) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275926)

The author's guild wanted to settle with Google you fucking pathetic idiot! God I hate name calling on the Internet but I'm forced to do it sometimes!

Re:Google doing evil again (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38274708)

Where, in any of the legitimate arguments against Google, is there the suggestion that Google wishes to withhold money from or steal content from authors with a claim to profits generated from the sale of their content?

Additionally, where is the claim that Google plans on making available copyrighted material for which an author is known and interested in claiming their legitimate profit?

Re:Google doing evil again (3, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274830)

Where, in any of the legitimate arguments against Google, is there the suggestion that Google wishes to withhold money from or steal content from authors with a claim to profits generated from the sale of their content?

Additionally, where is the claim that Google plans on making available copyrighted material for which an author is known and interested in claiming their legitimate profit?

This!

However, I doubt you will make any headway with these people who are convinced that this is blatant copyright violation on a grand scale. Their mind is closed on the subject.

At issue is a tiny TINY number of Unknown Authors who in most cases are dead, leaving no known heirs, who published something after 1923, but which is now out of print. Abandoned works by and large. Google does not violate copyrights, and uses the power of their own search engine to find these authors.

But every time this story comes up, the same google haters jump up and scream copyright infringement.
 

Re:Google doing evil again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38274674)

Blatant copyright infringement on a huge scale comes to mind.

Re:Google doing evil again (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274752)

Only if your mind id very small.

Please take the time to investigate the issue at hand before revealing your ignorance.

Re:Google doing evil again (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38275588)

Your ignorance is the dribble you just posted

Re:Google doing evil again (1, Informative)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274704)

The evil is that they are scanning commercial literary works subject to copyright with the intent of giving the scans away, and doing so against the wishes of the copyright holders. Though copyright law states the duration of copyright, and that the copyright holders retain all rights unless explicitly granted, Google is claiming "silence gives consent" for items which are still under copyright. Essentially, Google is accused of directly engaging in piracy of literary works.

Re:Google doing evil again (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274846)

They give excerpts away, under fair use exemptions. You do not get entire works. Check your facts.

Re:Google doing evil again (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274990)

They give excerpts away

I do not consider "the exact pages you needed, in their entirety" to be "excerpts"

Re:Google doing evil again (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275030)

Would you get less in a library or a book store?

What you consider is of no importance here. What the law says is.

Re:Google doing evil again (0)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275272)

Hey, I bet Google scanned more than a few law books. This should be easy.

Give a fucking law citation, asshole. Stop making baseless claims. You've already shot yourself in the foot in another comment when you claimed that only a few pages could be viewed and then linked to one of these books where clearly dozens upon dozens of pages were viewable.

Re:Google doing evil again (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275330)

Dozens is fair use.

Re:Google doing evil again (1)

Holi (250190) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275832)

Under what claim does Google to get fair use. Just because they offer a few pages does not make it fair-use.

17 U.S.C. 107
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 17 U.S.C. 106 and 17 U.S.C. 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:
1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Google is not using these excerpts for any of the above reasons, they are using them for profit, thus it is not protected under fair-use.

You are all stuck on the fact they are only allowing excerpts but that is only one of the requirements of fair-use.

Re:Google doing evil again (1)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275426)

I hear that swearing and acting like a tough guy on Internet forums in lieu of real life gets you all the chicks. Is that true?

Re:Google doing evil again (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275560)

Hey, I bet Google scanned more than a few law books. This should be easy.
 

The scans provide only snippits, and are insufficient for any legal research, but hey, thanks for proving my point.

Re:Google doing evil again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38275316)

Would you get less in a library

Are you serious? There are special laws for libraries.

or a book store?

You mean one of those businesses that actually compensated the copyright holder by buying many copies?

Re:Google doing evil again (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275528)

Google compensated the copyright holders too.
On October 28, 2008 the Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers, and Google announced that they had settled Authors Guild v. Google. Google agreed to a $125 million payout, $45 million of that to be paid to rightsholders whose books were scanned without permission.

Re:Google doing evil again (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275026)

That's always been a tentative defense.

Say I have a book with 1 million words, and I have 1 million customers, and I show each customer only one word, but it's always a different one. Have I distributed the whole book or not?

(I've simplified the issue obviously, but the principle remains valid with the actual Google books practices).

Re:Google doing evil again (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275096)

By any legal definition of the word "distributed", you DID NOT.

Re:Google doing evil again (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275144)

IANAL but from here [uslegal.com] :

Distribution is generally defined as the dissemination or apportionment of something [...].

Re:Google doing evil again (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275590)

They do so only within the exemptions for fair use as provided in the copyright law.
And a word to each person can hardly be considered distribution of a book. Each person walks away with essentially Nothing.

Re:Google doing evil again (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275876)

They do so only within the exemptions for fair use as provided in the copyright law.

There's no fair use when the whole of the book (or say 80% of its contents) is distributed. Google's use is not fair use.

And a word to each person can hardly be considered distribution of a book. Each person walks away with essentially Nothing.

What each person walks away with is irrelevant. There's no distinction between distributing to a single individual or distributing to a group. In both cases, it's distribution.(*)

But let's do a quick back of the envelope calculation. The way Google books actually works is: people get to see a full page, not a single word.

Now, let's say the average book contains about 300 pages. That means if 300 people look at a different section of the book, then the full book has been distributed once on average. In actual fact the number of pages a person gets to see is more than one, let's say people look at about 10 pages on average. In that case, when 300 people have looked at the same book, then Google has distributed the full book about 10 times already on average.

Of course, anybody who's used Google books knows that there are some pages that are deliberately missing each time you come back to look at the same book. Let's say about 20% of all pages are deliberately missing this way. Now when 300 people look at the book, they each look at about 10 pages from the 80% that's available, so Google hasn't technically distributed a single full book, but it still distributed 80% of the full book, about 10 times altogether.

That's not fair use. You can't distribute 80% of a book under fair use. You *might* be able to get away with distributing less than 10% of a book under fair use. If Google books did that, then the number of deliberately unavailable pages would have to be more than 90%, and that would make the service pretty much unusable.

Amazon actually do this right. If you use their "look inside" service, you can't see most of the book, it's well under 10%: just the table of contents and a few more pages.

That's what Google have to do if they want to argue "fair use", but that would cripple the service. As it is, they're massive "fair use" infringers so they had better use another legal argument.

(*) At this point, you might also like to think about bittorrent distribution, which uses the same principle of cutting up a file into tiny independent pieces distributed separately - but that's a digression.

Re:Google doing evil again (4, Interesting)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275192)

Wrong. The entire book is scanned. The filtration is done at presentation time; the entire work is digitized. I know this because Google tried to do this with my book. They also lied about trying to contact me for permission; I received no such contact even though my contact information had not changed in years, and the publisher is still in business at the same contact points listed in the book itself. Needless to say, when I found out about this I cease-and-desisted Google. My work is not theirs to give away.

The lawsuit notes they they are scanning the entire work, without permission, with intent to provide the entire work to libraries in addition to presenting excerpts to anyone. The lawsuit also asserts that the usage is NOT "fair use". Kinko's Copies used to photocopy portions of textbooks selected by professors, assemble those chapters into custom textbooks per the professor's specifications, and sell them; they too claimed "fair use". Kinko's had their heads handed to them in court, which forced them to greatly diminish their campus income and started a slide into non-profitability that led to the FedEx buyout. (I managed a campus-facing Kinko's in the late 80's; I saw it all firsthand) The only differences are that with Kinko's, the copied material was presented in physical form, and that the financial benefit for the infringement was immediate (a retail sale) as opposed to diffuse (advertising data collection and presentation). The Kinko's case [jrank.org] is being cited by the plaintiffs as precedent.

The lawsuit also states that Google is exposing the authors to the risk of having all of their works compromised at once. If someone breaks into Google's storage system, they can get every book Google has ever come into contact with. The pirates won't have to do the scanning and OCR work; Google will have already removed that hurdle. This is a risk which Google has imposed upon authors without consent; it's another example of Google not giving a damn about what authors want, and assuming rights and powers which they have no legal or ethical claim to.

Check your own facts.

Re:Google doing evil again (1, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275234)

Google has already prevailed on all of these points. Only the abandoned works issue is still at issue.

Had you not issued a cease and desist order, you might be selling some books. As it is you post on slash dot.

Re:Google doing evil again (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275680)

John Scalzi posts on various Slashdot-esque websites and forums. I'm pretty sure he still sells books.

Re:Google doing evil again (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275734)

And his books still appear on Google Books. So if there was a point, I missed it.

https://www.google.com/search?q=John+Scalzi&btnG=Search+Books&tbm=bks&tbo=1 [google.com]

Re:Google doing evil again (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275806)

"As it is you post on slash dot."

Point speaks for itself

Re:Google doing evil again (1)

emddudley (1328951) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275826)

So... how do you feel about libraries?

Re:Google doing evil again (2)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274958)

"Silence gives consent" is how all search engines operate on the net (*). It's a core value of Google without which it could not have existed as a successful company.

The problem here is that Google's mission is supposedly to index all the world's information, but when that information doesn't naturally live on the net, the core values are incompatible. Hence the clash with books (copyright issues) and the clash with street view (privacy issues), and there will be clashes in every other area of life where information doesn't normally follow the internet rules of openness and unlimited shareability.

As long as Google's mission remains this ambitious, they'll continue to piss off a lot of people over time every time they hit the natural limits of their philosophy. But if they change their mission to something more realistic, they have to acknowledge that there's going to be limits to their growth and the markets that they can enter while playing up their strengths.

(*) The robot exclusion protocol was a response to this, but it's never been more than an ethical guideline.

Re:Google doing evil again (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275844)

You are talking about legalities not "evil". Monkeys stringing words together (I'm being generous--the normal authorship process is far less original) and staking claim to them out of pure meanness for as long as we shall live is what evil looks like.

Defense? (4, Insightful)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274696)

Regardless of my own opinions on the state of copyright/IP law in the US (I can't speak for the other countries listed in TFS), it is what it is. So I have to ask... What is Google's defense? It can't be the "public good" or "cultural preservation" play, because those have already been stabbed, short, burned, poisoned, beheaded, then drawn and quartered.

So what the hell are they claiming that's had the lawsuits lasting six frigging years?

While I think it's a good thing they're trying to do (though maybe not their motivations), I really thought they would have been bitchslapped down a long, long time ago. What cards are they holding here?

Re:Defense? (2, Informative)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274762)

Their reasoning is probably a more fancy version of: it's only copyright violation when little people do it to a big corporation. When a big corporation wants to do it to an unknown author, that should be perfectly legal.

Re:Defense? (2)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274806)

What is Google's defense?

Fair use. The same way a person can reproduce short snippets of a copyrighted work without violating the copyright, Google Books allows you to search scanned books and view short sections of text at a time.

Re:Defense? (1)

broken_chaos (1188549) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275022)

Fair use is not solely determined on length of the copied passage -- in fact, that's not a determining factor in the law at all, it's merely the convention.

Re:Defense? (1)

SecurityGuy (217807) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275078)

And how do you think they facilitate this searching and viewing of short sections? They copied the books. Without permission. That's copyright violation.

Re:Defense? (3, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275116)

But Google themselves doesn't copy "short snippets," they copy everything. If they had license to copy everything, then making short snippets available might fall under fair use. But, those are two separate instances.

I fail to see how making snippets available makes the original copying fall under fair use.

Re:Defense? (1)

ortholattice (175065) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275120)

What is Google's defense?

Fair use. The same way a person can reproduce short snippets of a copyrighted work without violating the copyright, Google Books allows you to search scanned books and view short sections of text at a time.

However, they reproduced (for profit-making purposes) and are storing the entire content of books from which the snippets are displayed.

I've been called out by a librarian when she felt I was copying "too much" from a book. Why does Google get carte blanche to copy millions of books in their entirety? At a minimum, shouldn't Google at least have to purchase each book that they copied?

I'm not one to defend the current state of copyright laws, but there seems to be a double standard here.

Re:Defense? (3, Interesting)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275300)

Libraries are allowed [cornell.edu] to copy the entire content of books. Why should Google be prohibited from doing the same? There seems to be a double standard here.

Re:Defense? (1)

Holi (250190) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275484)

Because libraries are not for profit institutions.

Re:Defense? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275682)

And Google also provides these snippits for free.
They do not sell them.
They have competitors in this field as well.

One might as well claim that libraries making copies (as allowed by the above reference) are trying for a competitive advantage
by having a complete collection to attract patronage, and funding.

Re:Defense? (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275940)

And Google also provides these snippits for free. They do not sell them.

So do pirates. Are you arguing that libraries, Google, and pirates should *all* be able to copy anything they like, and make it available as snippets? Pirates use bittorrent. The nature of the bittorrent protocol is to cut up a file into tiny snippets, and distribute each of the snippets separately, not necessarily to the same destination.

Re:Defense? (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275646)

I've been called out by a librarian when she felt I was
copying "too much" from a book. Why does Google
get carte blanche to copy millions of books in their entirety? At a minimum, shouldn't
Google at least have to purchase each book that they copied?
 

On October 28, 2008 the Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers, and Google announced that they had settled Authors Guild v. Google. Google agreed to a $125 million payout, $45 million of that to be paid to rightsholders whose books were scanned without permission.

cite [wikipedia.org]

Note that these authors were not aggrieved, they were simply complainants. Not one of them alleged that google copied THEIR book fro the universities that partnered with google.

Re:Defense? (1)

Roogna (9643) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275318)

So it's fair use if I go to the library and scan every book there. As long as I only share snippets it's somehow legal? Why do I feel like that would somehow not be how the courts would see it with an individual...

Re:Defense? (0)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274856)

Google's defense is that they are doing nothing illegal.

Please take the time to educate yourself on this issue.

Re:Defense? (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275020)

Ya think? I would never have guessed that they say that they're not doing anything illegal or actionable.

The question is how do they justify that duplicating entire books is not illegal or actionable? The clusterfuck that is copyright law would seem to put them firmly onto the wrong side of that line.

Re:Defense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38275450)

There isn't anything in the fair use test that would indicate Google is not within the bounds of fair use. There isn't anything to say they are within such bounds either, but... thats sort of the point of the lawsuit.

This is a use case that is outside the settled law and precedent. Google is copying the whole work ... but why anybody (including the publishers) should give a damn about that, I don't know. Google isn't a person. It is not reading these works. The employees aren't either. If the use of the copy is fair, then the copy, even though it is an entire copy, isn't in violation of copyright. And because Google isn't distributing works in their entirety, they have a case for fair use.

I don't know about you, but the last time I wrote an english paper and quoted (fair use) a book, I'd read the whole goddamn thing before I copied a small part of it. I don't see the meaningful difference here. Thats an entire copy in my head, even if it is a poor copy, before I snip out bits I wanted to show someone else. Which is what Google is doing. If you want to claim that a poor copy in my head and a clean copy in Google's servers is meaningfully different.. then.. you might want to be careful that you are opening the door that copying is okay as long as the copies are "poor".

Re:Defense? (1)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275208)

Re:Defense? (0)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275238)

But google hasn't lost.

How many threads are you going to shop that worn out link around on?

Re:Defense? (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275824)

The difference is that Kinko's was acting in a way that specifically, by intent and desire, reduced the sale of the books and journals in question. Google, on the other hand, is digitizing the books so that people can find them and buy them. Those two are entirely different acts.

Re:Defense? (5, Insightful)

bfields (66644) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275340)

"What is Google's defense?"

They're not distributing copies of books--they're doing searches and returning small snippets. The books are scanned, with the permission of their owners, only in order to allow those searches.

I would have thought first-sale rights would permit the owners of books to have their own copies scanned, and that fair use would permit Google to search them and return snippets.

None of this cuts into the publisher's traditional source of profits at all, as the publisher is still who a member of the public goes to to get a copy of the book.

If we really think copyright holders should have complete control over how every copy of their work is *used*, not only distributed, then they should have cut off the problem at the source and forbidden libraries....

Re:Defense? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38275902)

I wish I had a million points to mod you up. This whole case is an example of how broken copyright law and enforcement is, in so many ways.

Re:Defense? (3, Interesting)

initialE (758110) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275736)

I compare what Google is doing to archaeology. In many cases, the rights holders of the books that they are copying do not give consent in the way that King Tut did not give consent to have his tomb opened and his treasures taken and displayed for profit.

Personnally? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38274722)

If it were me as an individual I would already have been tried executed and my family harassed for this for the next 10 generations. Oh Google? Well why didn't you say so....

Problems with copyright law... (2, Insightful)

wolvesofthenight (991664) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274738)

What Google is doing is exactly the sort of thing copyright law is supposed to prevent. They are copying massive amounts of copyrighted works and using them for their own profit without permission from the copyright holders.

Sure, I love the idea of a computer search engine for books. And I can see how it could be very advantageous for an author to have their work on Google books. And I think that the term on copyright is far too long. Having said that, the courts should have put a stop to what Google is doing long ago. With something this clear cut, Google should have already been forced to pay damages. For that matter, they should have been the target of some of the government's anti-efforts.

Re:Problems with copyright law... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38274778)

pay damages to whom you idiot? the problem is orphaned works where the authors are unkown or do not want to be known. Seems reasonable to me that these authors have not interest in any profits.

Re:Problems with copyright law... (1)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275280)

The law very clearly states that unless you have a "yes" in writing, the answer is "no". All rights not specifically granted remain with the creator of the material. And as for "unknown"... says who? Just about every book out there has this little line saying "written by". There's your "unknown" right there. If Google can't contact the author, tough. If Google CLAIMS they can't contact the author (meaning, they never tried), tough. No signature, no permission.

They did this to me with a book I wrote in 2004. One day I was checking on how it was doing and SURPRISE there it was in Google Books. They had not contacted me or my publisher.

In any event, neither you nor Google have the right to decide what to do with someone else's property. I find it amazing that people like you are very happy to take others' works and information without compensation yet get all bent out of shape when Facebook and CarrierIQ do the same to you.

%/s/Information wants to be free/I don't want to pay for others information/g

Re:Problems with copyright law... (0)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275490)

The law very clearly states that unless you have a "yes" in writing, the answer is "no".

Actually, it doesn't. The "in writing" requirement applies only to transfer of copyright, not to permission/licensing. And of course fair use and first sale and uses not restricted by copyright law require no permission at all.

Just about every book out there has this little line saying "written by". There's your "unknown" right there. If Google can't contact the author, tough. If Google CLAIMS they can't contact the author (meaning, they never tried), tough. No signature, no permission.

No standing to sue, no case.

Re:Problems with copyright law... (1)

Brannoncyll (894648) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275704)

Interesting question: did you see a boost in sales as a result of Google adding your book to their searches?

Re:Problems with copyright law... (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274936)

They do not provide entire works. Simply short excepts.
If you want the entire work that is still under copyright they will show you an except and then direct you to where you can buy the book.

You can read a few pages, but you invariably hit a page that says:

you have either reached a page that is unavailable for viewing or reached your viewing limit for this book

Then there will be links on the side for places to buy the book, one of which MAY be google books, or maybe not.

Try it out on this book [google.com] .

Any author, or his estate can opt out. None but a tiny minority do, because it sells books.

This is old news, and you obviously haven't kept up with this issue.
The only item under contention are abandoned works by unknown or dead authors with no heirs published after 1923. That is all. You've gotten yourself all worked up over nothing.

Re:Problems with copyright law... (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38274996)

here's an idea.

Make it opt-in if the author is known, opt out if the author is unknown.

Re:Problems with copyright law... (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275050)

Why?

What they do now is legal. The Authors like it that way. It sells books.

Re:Problems with copyright law... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275212)

It doesn't matter what The Authors think. It does matter what the copyright holders think. If they like it, as you claim, why are they suing?

Re:Problems with copyright law... (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275422)

Indeed.

I'm curious what even gives the plaintiffs in this case standing to sue in the first place.

Re:Problems with copyright law... (5, Interesting)

khipu (2511498) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275632)

The people behind the lawsuits are publishers and "authors guilds", organizations made obsolete by Google and electronic publishing. And they aren't suing over their own books (they could just have them removed), they are suing over the vast quantity of orphan works that they don't own but that would provide unwelcome free competition to their content.

Re:Problems with copyright law... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275996)

They must be representing copyright holders en masse, or they would have no standing for a copyright suit, and the case would have been thrown out long ago.

Re:Problems with copyright law... (0)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275218)

You can read a few pages [snip] Try it out on this book [google.com].

This must be some new definition of the word "few" that authors werent previously aware of. So many pages in fact that I cant be bothers to fucking count them. Thats at least a few dozen pages, asshole.

It almost seems reasonable in the case of fiction (the spin you were going for by linking to a fiction book... thats why you are an asshole) but it just doesnt fucking fly for technical works, and yes technical works are covered just as egregiously.

Re:Problems with copyright law... (4, Informative)

khipu (2511498) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275668)

Are you an author or publisher and don't want your books on Google? Remove them:

http://books.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=175010 [google.com]

Given that there are very few people like you and very few services like Google Books, opt-out is a reasonable default. Making opt-in the default because of a bunch of malcontent potty-mouths like you is unreasonable.

Re:Problems with copyright law... (2)

Holi (250190) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275324)

They may only provide short excerpts, but they do copy the entire work without permission and they use the fact that you can search the entire work for their own profit. They are not trying to sell the authors books they are trying to use that database to entice more users for Google. Google has no right to profit off the authors works and the fact that Google is doing this strictly for profit pretty much negates fair-use. Opt-out is a poor excuse for getting permission.

Re:Problems with copyright law... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38275500)

Which... indicates that you DON'T understand what copyright was intended to prevent. The amount of copying, nor the fact that it is for commercial and profiteering purposes, is not what copyright was intended to prevent. Copyright in books was intended to prevent publishers from being publishers without the author's consent. Google isn't publishing these books. They're copying the book, which is otherwise known as indexing, and then serving up small snippets. So that readers and books can get together easier. Increasing the public good, as fair use was always intended to do.

Re:Problems with copyright law... (4, Informative)

khipu (2511498) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275612)

What Google is doing is exactly the sort of thing copyright law is supposed to prevent. They are copying massive amounts of copyrighted works and using them for their own profit without permission from the copyright holders.

Copyright law isn't intended to prevent people from profiting from copyrighted works. If you publish a cookbook, I can use it to prepare meals and charge for them, for example. Copyright law gives copyright holders specific, limited rights in order to encourage them to publish and produce, nothing more. What Google is doing is no different from establishing a privately run reference service with a large staff that can look things up for you. They don't redistribute the works (unless the copyright holder gives them explicit permission).

With something this clear cut,

With something this clearcut, the court really should have kicked out authors and publishers as having no standing and no damages: any author or publisher who doesn't want to be on Google can just ask to be removed. What authors and publishers really want is to force Google to pay them no matter what. It's the usual rip-off of these groups of trying to get paid no matter what crap they produce.

How long ago was the books published? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38275194)

Was it published within the last 28 years? If so, I kindly ask google to honor there request as it is there works and it there right what they do with it for better or worse.

If it is over 28 years old, fuck em, public domain bitch which is right where it should be after that long and any attempts to take it away from the public domain after that long goes against the purpose of copyright and is also unconstitutional so I will ignore it and urge anyone else to do the same.

Re:How long ago was the books published? (2)

Wandering Voice (2267950) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275576)

I agree in part, but I feel that 28 years is still too long of a time. I've already disregarded copyright for anything over 14 years. You want full control for all of time, well then don't release it.

Call me a thief, freetard or whatever, I don't care. The contract has already been broken.

Shut up and take my money (4, Insightful)

adoarns (718596) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275334)

All I want--far, far more than Netflix or Rhapsody--is to be able to give somebody money on a monthly basis to have access to nearly every book in every library in the world. Just somebody make this easy. I don't want to have to think, "Is reading a chapter of this obscure work on Russian formalism worth $0.50?" I just want to fucking click on a link, and read it.

NFL jersey (-1, Offtopic)

jersey123456 (2485408) | more than 2 years ago | (#38275374)

National Footy League in the NFL. NFL is a league of American footy. A total of MLB jerseys [jerseymall.biz] 32 teams in the league, which has been divided in to main footy federations: Footy Conference, as the American Conference and National Footy Federation, as NFC. Wholesale NFL jerseys [jerseymall.biz] Each federation has 16 teams, divided NHL jerseys [jerseymall.biz] in to competition area: the east, south, west and north. Each of the four-team NBA jerseys [jerseymall.biz] competition area.Among the plenty of sports activities that happen actions to be structured and supported with the country's soccer league in the country has the highest position.

Orphan Works (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38275462)

Orphan Works, works for which the author is not known or after reasonable efforts cannot be contacted, can NEVER 'suddenly' be owned by some Guild or some Association. I'm not saying that what Google does is 100% right, but the orphan works problem cannot be ignored.

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