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Authors Guild Sues Google Over Print Program

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the calling-evil-down-on-do-no-evil dept.

Google 598

heavy snowfall writes to tell us that The Authors Guild has filed a class action lawsuit against Google. The lawsuit claims that Google's scanning and digitizing of library books as a part of the Google Print Project constitutes "massive copyright infringement". In addition to the lawsuit The Authors Guild has also issued a press release to explain its actions.

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The Jews are coming! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13611802)

Everyone hide their information!

oh my god (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13611806)

This is exactly why the united stated is getting buried in law suits... if cats and dogs culd sue each other they would have already done so...

Before everybody has a knee-jerk reaction ... (2, Insightful)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611809)

... i just want to remind you that Google is a for-profit company

Re:Before everybody has a knee-jerk reaction ... (2, Insightful)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611812)

yes, it is.

But what has that got to do with anything?

Re:Before everybody has a knee-jerk reaction ... (2, Insightful)

nagora (177841) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611843)

what has that got to do with anything?

Well, it raises the ethical and moral issue that they are making money off the back of work they're not paying for. I don't think it has any legal bearing, at least not much in the US and none at all in the UK.

TWW

Re:Before everybody has a knee-jerk reaction ... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13611872)

Well, it raises the ethical and moral issue that they are making money off the back of work they're not paying for.

So does the New York Review of Books, and you don't see these "Authors' Guild" dinosaurs suing them. These fossilized assclowns know which side their bread is buttered on.

Re:Before everybody has a knee-jerk reaction ... (2, Insightful)

Knome_fan (898727) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611820)

Now really, thanks for stating the obvious.

However, google being a bussiness neither means that they are automatically right, nor that they are automatically wrong, so what exactly is your point here?

Re:Before everybody has a knee-jerk reaction ... (1)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611917)

This is Slashdot.

Last i checked the fashionable posture du jour was "Google is good".

I just wanted to shake (some) people out of the pre-defined position that "Google are the good ones so they must be right"

Hopefully this will make for a fairer and more rational discussion.

I was also aiming at first post but a troll beat me to it ;)

Re:Before everybody has a knee-jerk reaction ... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13611986)

I just wanted to shake (some) people out of the pre-defined position that "Google are the good ones so they must be right"

No, you didn't. You just wanted karma.

Re:Before everybody has a knee-jerk reaction ... (4, Insightful)

NewStarRising (580196) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611993)

Right or wrong, The Authors' Guild is saying that Google are acting illegally.

Just because Google (and some of it's supporters) think this is a good idea does not make it legal.
We can all have our opinions about what "should" happen, but whether Google is allowed to do this is down to the Courts, now that the copyright owners have asked that it be looked into.

I think the OP's point is that Google are not doing this because of the wonderful, freeing effect it will have on literature, rather that they are doing it to make money.

I wonder what would happen if Google started to charge for access to this library?

Re:Before everybody has a knee-jerk reaction ... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13612042)

Google zealots pretend that what Google is doing is allowed under Fair Use. A big factor which is used to dermine whether something is Fair Use is whether it's being done for commercial purposes.

Right (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13611829)

And the actions of for-profit companies are always bad, and the actions of anyone else are always good. It doesn't matter whether the ostensibly non-profit group has commercial interests at heart, or where the public benefit lies, or even what's happening, really. If one of the groups involved is a for-profit company, surely what they're doing is in the wrong.

Whatever, fuck off. You are the only one having a knee-jerk reaction here.

Re:Before everybody has a knee-jerk reaction ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13612029)

I just wanted to remind everyone...
guild also gild
n.
    1. An association of persons of the same trade or pursuits, formed to protect mutual interests and maintain standards.
    2. A similar association, as of merchants or artisans, in medieval times.
  1. Ecology. One of four groups of plants, the lianas, epiphytes, saprophytes, and parasites, having a characteristic mode of existence that involves some dependence on other plant life.

Oh shit (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13611811)

Fuck... Google is actively scanning and indexing our books and offering around 7 pages of 'spoiler' content before forcing us to buy it through Amazon or five other online stores. This can't be good for us, what can we do? OMFGCOPYRIGHTINFRINGEMENT

Copyrighted books (3, Insightful)

October_30th (531777) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611814)

Uh. Are the books that Google's service provides copyrighted or has their copyright already expired (as is the case in the project Gutenberg)?

If they are still under a copyright, I don't see how Google could provide such a service. AFAIK, I am not allowed to borrow a book from a library and make a complete photocopy of it even for private use.

Re:Copyrighted books (2, Interesting)

Knome_fan (898727) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611837)

Afaik they are still copyrighted (at least most of them).

However, google does seem to have contracts with certain libraries to scan their books, so they are not just randomly grabbing copyrighted material and scanning it.
If this is enough to make what they are doing legal is a question I simply can't answer, but suits like the one at hand should clear this situation up.

Finally, I can understand that some people find what google is doing problematic, on the other hand I really think that it is extremely usefull, so I hope that the issues will be resolved in a way that addresses the problems, but still makes it possible for people to use this great service.

Re:Copyrighted books (1, Insightful)

amodm (876842) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611875)

However, google does seem to have contracts with certain libraries to scan their books, so they are not just randomly grabbing copyrighted material and scanning it.

IANAL, but do the libraries have the right to transfer the copyright to another entity ? I guess the absence of this right is the main reason why photocopies of books are not allwed by libraries.

Re:Copyrighted books (4, Informative)

Itchy Rich (818896) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611925)

IANAL, but do the libraries have the right to transfer the copyright to another entity ?

The Libraries don't have the copyright themselves, so they couldn't transfer it to someone else. The libraries have licence from the actual copyright owners to have the book on their shelves, but other rights are reserved.

Re:Copyrighted books (1)

smallfeet (609452) | more than 8 years ago | (#13612023)

But do the libraries have the right to index the books they have? Isn't this just a book index based on the content not just the title and author name? Google only shows the page with the match with copyrighted material, not the whole book. They also give a link to buy the book. It is stupid for the book guilde to sue google as this service can only increase sales.

Re:Copyrighted books (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13611883)

If they are still under a copyright, I don't see how Google could provide such a service.

Then in my opinion the problem is with copyright law, not with what Google is doing. A library has a copy of a book, which they are allowed to let as many people as they want read, without restriction-- but aren't allowed to display a copy of the front page of that book to anyone over telephone lines. Why? Why is one of these things unrestricted and the other one so terrible?

Last I checked copyright laws in the united states exist "to promote the useful arts and sciences", not so that IP holders can play control freak.

Re:Copyrighted books (4, Insightful)

SQL Error (16383) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611889)

A library has a copy of a book, which they are allowed to let as many people as they want read, without restriction-- but aren't allowed to display a copy of the front page of that book to anyone over telephone lines.

That's the "copy" part of "copyright". A library may lend a book to as many people as they like - one at a time. They may not copy it. The right to produce copies of a book is reserved to the author. Copy. Right.

Got it?

Whether such an act is terrible or not is an unanswered question, but it is a breach of copyright law.

Re:Copyrighted books (2, Insightful)

Knome_fan (898727) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611897)

Whether such an act is terrible or not is an unanswered question, but it is a breach of copyright law.

I agree with everything else you've said, but whether it really is a breach of copyright still isn't clear imho, hence the lawsuit.

Re:Copyrighted books (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611920)

I think it's fairly clear that it is a copyright infringement.

So what if Google is 'limiting end users' to x pages, or whatever?

That covers the distribution. They're still in the wrong copying the stuff in the first place, without permission.

Limit to x pages (2, Informative)

jurt1235 (834677) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611931)

The limit is easy to circumvent.
Find a page from the book. Google displays the previous and the next page(s) too.
Look at previous page, and search on a term at the start of the previous page, and you will get the page before that, etc.
The result is that you have access to the whole book.

I do think Google is breaking copyright law with this, but since the authors will most likely not sell any book less (the method I just described is boring and cumbersome), I think they should find a way to cooperate. They could even make monye from it by turning this google method into the iTunes of books.

Re:Copyrighted books (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611980)

whether it really is a breach of copyright still isn't clear imho, hence the lawsuit.

So you think there cannot be a lawsuit if you clearly break the law? Hey, I didn't know that. I always thought if you are found breaking the law, you get sued. So the main fault of all those law-breakers is not that they break the law, but that they deny doing so, because if they would make it clear that they break the law they'd be safe. :-)

Re:Copyrighted books (1, Informative)

Itchy Rich (818896) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611938)

That's the "copy" part of "copyright". A library may lend a book to as many people as they like - one at a time. They may not copy it. The right to produce copies of a book is reserved to the author. Copy. Right.

I agree with the sentiment, but just want to point out that "copyright" doesn't mean the "right to make copies". Not logically and not etymologically.

Let me get this straight... (5, Interesting)

AccUser (191555) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611815)

Google Print Program allows me to search the text of books in print, I can see each hit as a book and also the search in context (i.e. browse a sample chapter that contains the search), and Google provides links so that I can purchase the book online.

Don't these authors want to sell their books? It is not like I can download the whole text (unless I actually knew a set of unique searches that would mean I could access each chapter as a sample), so where is the copyright infringement?

Re:Let me get this straight... (1)

rajeshgoli (881014) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611906)

Parent is right, google helps me find the book and then I'll go buy it. This, to me, looks like is beneficial to the autors. That said, the benefits google gives the authors does not unburden it of copyright infringement. Google would still be doing a infringment if the books are copyrighted!

Re:Let me get this straight... (3, Insightful)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611924)

Don't these authors want to sell their books?
The authors want to be consulted on how their copyrighted text is used. And that is absolutely their right. And if Google use their texts to generate ad revenue, they deserve a cut of that revenue, or at least the right to refuse to allow Google to exploit them in that way.

As opposed to the NY Times book review (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13611990)

Irrespective of the author's wishes, excerpts of copyrighted works can be quoted for fair use, such as reviews. Newspapers certainly sell advertising in their book review sections, and I doubt they send a cut of it to the authors of the books. It remains to be seen if Google's project would be viewed this way by the courts.

Re:As opposed to the NY Times book review (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#13612036)

excerpts of copyrighted works can be quoted for fair use
Google aren't scanning excerpts, they're scanning entire books. Copying excerpts (especially for review) is explicitly allowed. Copying entire books to generate ad revenue (even if they only show an excerpt at a time) seems much more likely to be illegal.

Re:Let me get this straight... (3, Insightful)

screwdriver_j (832271) | more than 8 years ago | (#13612000)

They obviously get a cut of this revenue because it increases book sales. I fail to see why would they deserve a part of ad revenue.

Re:Let me get this straight... (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#13612046)

That's not a cut of Google's revenue.

You might argue that the Lord Of The Rings movie benefitted the Tolkein estate through increased book sales (and it most certainly did). But that does not remove the necessity of New Line paying the rights-holders of Professor Tolkein's work, or the fact that those rights-holders would've been justified to tell Peter Jackson to F*** Off.

Re:Let me get this straight... (4, Insightful)

jmv (93421) | more than 8 years ago | (#13612034)

The authors want to be consulted on how their copyrighted text is used. And that is absolutely their right.

No. They have to be consulted only for some uses specified by the law. If I want to distribute an author's book I need to ask permission. If I want to quote a sentence from his book, I don't need permission. If I want to burn his book, I don't need permission either. I'm not a lawyer so I don't know in what category Google Print falls, but it's certainly not obvious.

What an irritation.... (5, Interesting)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611818)

This kind of crap just irritates me. Copyright laws are painfully outdated in the digital age, and yet time and time again those who sell information (in whatever format, music, movie, now books) are constantly standing in the way of progress. What we need is the free and unrestricted flow of information. I've looked over Google Print, and i see nothing for these authors to object over. If anything, its a massive windfall for them, its the perfect resource for finding a relevant book on a given topic. Need a book on differential forms and tensor calculus? Thousands and thousands of results. Its essentially free and unlimited advertising. If Google combined this with pblishing on demand, they could put every publisher in existence not only out of business, but do it while offering far better deals for the authors.

Re:What an irritation.... (4, Insightful)

mashade (912744) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611859)

I'll admit, I didn't read TFA, but this seems like the cornerstone of the argument.

"If Google combined this with publishing on demand, they could put every publisher in existence not only out of business, but do it while offering far better deals for the authors."

This is what authors are afriad of -- change from the status quo. I think it's a change for the better, but when you're talking about your livelihood, it's a scary thought to imagine -- the way you make your money is about to change drastically.

Re:What an irritation.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13611941)

You are indeed right, it is scary to imagine the way you make money changing out from under you.

Now excuse me while I weep for the buggy-whip makers.

Don't know about the US (3, Informative)

MountainMan101 (714389) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611819)

but here in Oxford I thought google was only scanning really old stuff that is too fragile to be read. The Bod (our library) has some very old stuff.

And before anyone from the US replies, old in Oxford means pre 1600 ie before anyone went to your country from Europe and killed the natives.

Re:Don't know about the US (1, Insightful)

black mariah (654971) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611841)

Ponce de Leon was murdering the native people over here as far back as the early 1500's.

Re:Don't know about the US (5, Funny)

Goth Biker Babe (311502) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611873)

Evidence suggests the Welsh were over there, not murdering people, in the first millenium. Bloody young Norman upstarts.

Re:Don't know about the US (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13611866)

old in Oxford means pre 1600 ie before anyone went to your country from Europe and killed the natives.

Typical Oxford whippersnapper. Here in York, `old' means before the Vikings got here. I quite like the modern architecture of the Minster, though.

Re:Don't know about the US (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13611913)


Typical ivory tower crusties.

Here in Colchester, 'old' means before Boudica kicked Roman arse :-)

Re:Don't know about the US (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13611932)

You call this old! In southern France, old means before homo sapiens painted caves and kicked some Neanderthal arses!

Re:Don't know about the US (1)

scotbot (906561) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611994)

Ahh ... yes, but she was a British, whereas you're English. Both different things. You English weren't even native to these islands, then. Funny how you trump "Welsh" heroes LOL

Columbus (1)

jurt1235 (834677) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611943)

Landed in 1492 (12 october). That is pre 1600, so the killing of natives was well underway by 1600.

The authors can not object to Google scanning the very old books. Some publishers (at least one) also made a contract with Google to get their content in Google, so no possible way to object to that either.

They are right (0, Troll)

ceeam (39911) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611822)

I tend to agree that it may be a "massive copyright infringement". As opposed to burning of the said books, for example.

Robots.txt (-1, Troll)

Anti-Trend (857000) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611825)

...I guess they couldn't be bothered to write one? I mean, isn't that's all it would take to keep search engines from craling in places they're not welcome? Well, at least the less scandelous ones.

Re:Robots.txt (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13611858)

yep, print it on the backside of the title page of each book. /book/pages[1..231] noscan noindex nofollow

This is just insane (4, Insightful)

GauteL (29207) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611826)

While they might legally have a point about Google having to ask for permission (IANAL), Google Print is just one huge f***** advertisement for their books.

Google is providing a useful service that allows you to find the books you want, so that you can purchase them legally from bookshops.

They are showing a little bit of content in order to let people make up their minds, analogous to be able to browse a book at a bookstore to find out if you want it or not.

This is simply taking common fair use in a bookstore (browsing) and moving it onto the digital domain.

While I agree Google should probably have asked the publishers for permission, a lawsuit is just far beyond common decency.

It is time copyright gets a huge makeover to make it more edible for consumers and work better in the new "digital reality", and I am not talking about stronger measurements and DRM.

Re:This is just insane (1)

bani (467531) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611890)

google should just refuse to index any book by any author's guild author.

there's plenty of other authors who would be falling all over themselves for the free advertising they would get from google.

Re:This is just insane (4, Insightful)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611934)

Google Print is just one huge f***** advertisement for their books.

And Google is getting one huge f***** free ride for the "service" they're providing, including ad revenue from the Google ads associated, and the valuable customer data associated with 'what people want to read' - you know, the kind of stuff Amazon spends millions researching and tracking?

Re:This is just insane (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13612011)

What is this f*****? Is it a word? If so, which one?

The digital generation (4, Informative)

Manip (656104) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611832)

What happens when these books degrade and nothing is left but a memory of what they were?

Welcome to the digital generation people of the authors guild. This is a big battle between old value people and the new digital wave that google is riding.

I am not saying that it is google's responsibility to be the sole holder of books and other information, that is why MSN, Yahoo and other organisations should start a similar program. Or even the government to archive part of our society for future generations.

I found it very revealing that in their press release they say that google is uploading "Public Domain Works" -- and then goes on to say that this is wrong and is against copyright law? Maybe it is just badly written (>sniggle) but they should be careful with their words; a public domain piece of text is, by definition something anyone can use.

Re:The digital generation (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13611894)

Yahoo? MSN? The government? I know a lot of books that will never be digitalized by those... In the MSN library you will never find a book blaming Microsoft, in the Government's library you will never find anything written by Marx. You will find what they want you to find. Same thing for Google by the way... Wanna bet?

Plus this argument about "the books degrade" is moot. Your average paper-print book can last for at least 200 years without any special care, and much more if you do take care of it. Compare that with the 10-year lifespan of a CD-Rom. Plus the fact that you need a power supply to read your "on-line" books.

Re:The digital generation (2, Informative)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 8 years ago | (#13612025)

Funny old world, Marx *wrote* his book in our government library.

This will be interesting (4, Insightful)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611836)

It will be interesting to see how this pans out because it will have a lot to say about how copyright and intellectual property are being interpreted in the courts.

On the one had the authors do have a point: regardless of how little of the copyrighted works Google exposes to people searching, the fact is that Google itself is copying and making use of the whole work. Google is a for profit enterprise, and making books available for searching is part of that endeavour, so having a copy of the text is worth something to Google, yet they haven't sought any agreement with the authors to do so.

On the other hand, this is just stupid! What the fuck are they thinking? Google is effectively providing free advertising for them. Moreover such a service is obviously invaluable to the wider public, making it much easier for them to find (and then buy) the information they want.

Jedidiah.

Re:This will be interesting (2, Insightful)

6th time lucky (811282) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611961)

the fact is that Google itself is copying and making use of the whole work.

I guess librarys do have to actually pay for the whole book they display, but i cant see libraries being a cash cow for publishers (only having one copy for thousands of users)

And like a library Google enforces the generally regarded copyright usage by limiting their users to small portions of the book. Sure you *could* defeat this, but i *could* go to a library also. And maybe i might just buy the darn book...

All Google needs to do is convince everyone that they are a library service. Even if they do operate a for-profit company, they are in the spirit of the law and not facilitating copyright breaching.

(However i remember someone posting about a library being done for copyright infringment by having a photocopier too close to books... thus enticing people to copy. I dont know if that was in jest or not.)

Lets hope they lose... (5, Insightful)

martijnd (148684) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611838)

Let us hope that they lose this one big time. It seems Google already has plenty of safeguards in place.

Sure, with the convuleted interest ridden mess the copyright system is the Writer Guild might actually win this.

Because, why would Google be allowed to copy all these books to their hard disks, and then make a mint from advertising by showing peeks of it to searchers.

They sure aren't paying anyone for the priviledge.

In university they have pretty big posters against wholesale copying of library books above the photocopiers, with all the usual heavy handed copyright warnings.

It seems technology, is as per usual, ahead of the law. Google would have to establish some kind of copyright free zone (bit like a tax free export zone) where they can safely process search actions on this huge Alexandria library.

Better beat around some congress critters to support this as the potential benefit to mankind ( access to all written knowlegde current and past, no matter how insightful or inane) would probably be worthy of "World Wonder" status, and give the society that has it a serious scientific advantage.

Re:Lets hope they lose... (1)

6th time lucky (811282) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611878)

In university they have pretty big posters against wholesale copying of library books above the photocopiers, with all the usual heavy handed copyright warnings.

But that doesnt stop anyone really. Copyright laws are only really there to stop corporations from profiting off of other corporations work...

Then again, I remember in my undergrad there was a required text that was $75 for around 200 pages. This is soft back novel style, not A4 hard back colour glossy. The $12 it took to copy the lot saw frequent use of the document feeders that semester ($6 if you wanted it 2up...). And given how useful it actually ended up being, they could have given away a pdf for $5 and noone would have read it anyway...

What was my point... umm "copyright is only good when it works for me..." and yes, old copyright does struggle in this digital age.

cnet and google (4, Interesting)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611844)

Perhaps cnet wasn't the best place to obtain news about this lawsuit. From the article:

Google did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the lawsuit. (Google representatives have instituted a policy of not talking with CNET News.com reporters until July 2006 in response to privacy issues raised by a previous story.)


Google did talk to the associated press [businessweek.com] , however.

Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., said in a statement that it respects copyright.

"We regret that this group has chosen litigation to try to stop a program that will make books and the information within them more discoverable to the world," the company said.

It said authors and publishers can exclude books from the program if they don't want their material included.

Google has said it offers protections to copyright holders by limiting users of books covered by copyrights to bibliographic information and a few sentences of text.

The company also has said it will direct readers who want more to booksellers and libraries.

Re:cnet and google (2, Interesting)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611959)

It said authors and publishers can exclude books from the program if they don't want their material included.

How generous. "We'll stop infringing your copyright if you tell us. We knew it at the time, but we were hoping you wouldn't mind too much."

The onus is on Google, as a "do no evil" company, to not break the law, perhaps?

Hell, we're always talking about how corporations can buy changes to the law. Maybe Google could use their $6B cash warchest and buy a couple of senators? (he says in jest, but with a serious point.)

Re:cnet and google (4, Informative)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 8 years ago | (#13612024)

Google is thinking like a search engine company. Every day, it copies the material of millions of copyrighted web pages into its servers and uses that material to respond to search queries. generally, the web is grateful for this service, though the jealous type can used robots.txt to reassert his or her exclusive rights. Similarly, the distributers of dead trees can opt out of the program...

Re:cnet and google (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 8 years ago | (#13612038)

It /doesn't/, however, index content that authors want to charge for, at least not intentionally. Last I checked, you couldn't hunt for stuff on Safari from Google - the closest intermediate I could think of.

No bussines any more? (3, Interesting)

Uukrul (835197) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611846)

A sues B. B sues C. C sues everybody.
I think China (that comunist country) is going to be the next Big Fish, because enterprises are more interested in get easy money suing [google.es] everybody than in make new products or offer new services. And they make consumer electronic that sux because you are a potentia Pirate so the devices decides what you can do and what you can't do.

I for one welcom or new chinese overlords.

again? (1)

hasst (852296) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611851)

lawsuit again Google?!

The grammar rules have been modified in such a way that everything that precedes Google must be replaced by again.

Google Purge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13611852)

All works by those authors will be purged from the planet [theonion.com] . Once the works cease to exist, the case will be dismissed.

Wow (0, Troll)

fmwap (686598) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611853)

I guess I should stick to .torrents so the Firm of the Actors Guild won't sue me for reading only seven pages.

Yea, if the FAGS try to fuck me I'm gonna make sure I take the whole thing...

This is how libraries work. (2, Informative)

Anubis333 (103791) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611868)

I can go to my local library and get any CD or book, for a limited time. If google wants to be the online library of the future, I could see them implementing some kind of thing where you are tagged by state, and they have like 10 books that you can check out per state (10 google branches). I mean, if the argument is that 'you could copy the text and have a local copy'.. well christ, any real library book I check out I could photocopy or OCR, it sounds to me like they have a fundamental issue with the entire library system to begin with.

Re:This is how libraries work. (1)

DoktorTomoe (643004) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611903)

There are no states where I live, you insensitive clod ...

If you think about it, cutting the numbers of avalible copies is an astonishing stupid idea. The idea behind GooglePrint is to access printed information anytime, anywhere.

If an system that cuts the number of page views, copies or similar is implemented, it destroys the advantages of an open netwide library - being there any time, all volumes avalible.

Re:This is how libraries work. (1)

Anubis333 (103791) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611954)

I am sorry, i didn't mean 10 books, I meant 10 copies per locality. And I am not insensitive, by 'state' i meant area, as for me, my area is 'Bayern'. :p

After thinking a little more, I'm suing Google (5, Funny)

GauteL (29207) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611877)

I've owned several web pages which Google has copied onto their servers via indexing and Google cache.

They never asked me for permission, and I'm pretty sure they all contained the footer (c) Me, All Rights Reserved.

In fact, the entire web is copyrighted by numerous authors and corporations, and I'm pretty sure Google has never asked anyone for permission.

Google can't even hide behind the mantra of not being able to micromanage automatic indexing, because the ENTIRE WEB is copyrighted in some form or another.

I'm going to completely disregard that my web pages increased in value by Google announcing their presence to the world, and rather sue them for copyright infringement. I'm also suing Microsoft, Yahoo and Altavista.

Anyone for a class action lawsuit?

Re:After thinking a little more, I'm suing Google (1)

everithe (915847) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611907)

Might as well sue the rest of the world while you're at it. o.O

Re:After thinking a little more, I'm suing Google (1)

6th time lucky (811282) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611915)

you might be funny, but seriously how about telling them not to cache your valuable pages?

Although your point is a little valid as it is opt-out, not opt-in. But the system is there none the less.

Re:After thinking a little more, I'm suing Google (1)

6th time lucky (811282) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611930)

must preview... D'OH [slashdot.org]

you might be funny, but seriously how about telling them not to cache your valuable pages?

Although your point is a little valid as it is opt-out, not opt-in. But the system is there none the less.


meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow,noarchive">

pesky opposite >

NOARCHIVE (2, Informative)

Asztal_ (914605) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611935)

You can use the NOARCHIVE [google.com] meta tag if you don't like Google caching your pages. You can also ask for your pages to be removed.

Re:NOARCHIVE (2, Insightful)

GauteL (29207) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611969)

To play the devil's advocate:
Why should I as a copyright owner have to OPT OUT of Google violating my copyright?

The Authors Guild also have this opt out possibility, but they are still suing.

Shouldn't Google ask me for permission before copying my content?

ARCHIVE (1)

Asztal_ (914605) | more than 8 years ago | (#13612027)

Aye, they should ask for permission, but I doubt it would be so successful if it asks for permission. For starters, it wouldn't know who to ask. If it cached bulletin board posts, would it have to ask for the permission of all the people who posted in it? Do you propose something along the lines of <meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow,YesGoogleYouCANArchiveTh is">?

Re:NOARCHIVE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13612045)

Should they?

Copyright is a construct in law. It doesn't mean it's the right way to do things. I think the incredible usefulness of google has shown that it is completely the WRONG way to do things. Imagine how useless google would be if the only pages it allowed you to search were those which specifically allowed it to index them. Google wouldn't even exist, because the first search engine on the net would not have been able to archive any pages, and nobody would have added code to allow it to search them.

And even assuming it did somehow come into existence, it's current state would be dismal. You might be able to find burger king on the web with it, but not hamburger recipies, because the people that run amateur recipe websites would not think to add a code to allow their page to be indexed. They'd just expect people searching for recipies to arrive there at random through some other recipe website.

In short the internet would be a hell of a lot less useful. And it wouldn't benefit anyone except people who are stingy and think that just because they created something nobody else has a right to use it. And if everyone thought that way we'd still be in the stone age.

Open Letter to the Authors Guild (5, Interesting)

sprocketonline (787811) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611884)

It is with some shock that I read about your latest decision to take legal action against Google, which could, and should, be interpreted as a direct attack against a more progressive and free society.

Whether or not you approve of Google, the company's "libarary" program has made a bold move towards an age where information is searchable to everyone. The ability to see inside a book, albeit only an excerpt at a time, which is stored deep within a vault on the otherside of the globe has to be a great thing. This assists everyone from casual browsers of the internet to academic reseachers, such as myself. Upon utilising the search engine and associated search algorithms we can look and search within every title and work for relevant information, and disregard the irrelevancies, with no more hassle than a couple of clicks on a browser. This is a far greater model than the overburdening and cumbersome system currently in operation, where books have to be physically sought after, a greatly innefficient, resource consuming and wasteful affair.

Surely Google's system represents an electronic library bookshelf of infinite size, where the user can browse at will until the relevant material is found. To sue Google is equivalent to taking legal action against the British library for allowing users to flick through books. Libraries also allows users to read the entire text of a book, not merely small excerpts, so surely there is a greater case for taking legal action against the library services of every nation, university and school in the entire world. No such action has been taken, and indeed I pray it would never be.

Indeed I agree that it is a gray area that Google is a profit making company and will be generating revenue indirectly through advertising, and possibly the sale of hard and electronic copies of the full text. Yet, had the traditional organisations of the book publishing and writing world such as yourselves, the Authors Guild, taken steps to create an electronic source back when the internet was growing the need for Google, a corporation, to do this would have been neglible. Your legal action is not a reaction against copyright infingement but an indicator of failure on your, and your peers, behalf. To prevent access to a searchable library to the entire populous of the world is to hide information and create a teired society, those who have access to the information and those that do not. This is backward and unjust.

You have failed to provide or encourage authors, your clients, to present their work in a relevant medium, electronic, to the masses, their customers, and as such have stifled your industry, the fallout and backlash is obvious to see when observing the blogging phenomena that has grown in the last few years. The Authors guild has failed to keep up with current technology and culture trends and as such has resorted to hiding behind the somewhat dated copyright laws of your country.

Whatever your views on the Google corporation it is unjust to take legal action against such a noble scheme and I urge you to revoke your action and change your policies.

Re:Open Letter to the Authors Guild (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13611940)

Good effort, because the authors guild will be reading /.

MOD parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13611975)

That has to be one of the most level headed, clear and concise letters of protest i have ever seen.

Yea and google ought to sue the guild authors (0, Troll)

TarryTops (888130) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611901)

cos otherwise nobody would ever know that the sorry-ass books ever existed.

How do I Boycott these Guys? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13611902)

I don't buy movies or music from *AA companies any more, to protest their tactics. But I have bought literally 10,000s of books in my life and will probably buy a lot more.

How can I make sure never to buy a book from an Authors Guild writer or company?

Writers, Myopic (2, Insightful)

Phibius (914288) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611929)

Have these people really thought this through? Apparently, the writers thinking on this has gotten as far as "Google are going to make a fortune off our backs" and "we can sue them for millions", but stopped short of "this might really help potential readers to find my book". A bit shortsighted?

A Guild? (3, Funny)

tchernobog (752560) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611933)

America has still an Authors' Guild? Cool!

Now, I just wonder why they asked the Lawyers Guild to sort things out with the Clacks Guild, "Vetinari's method" being that of letting Guild to enforce law by themselves by using, at option, a pointy stick or a big club.

But perhaps it's just a --ing polite way to say they don't --ing want the books to be read by everybody. Just from those willing to pay some good dollars the right people.

Anyway, I'll just believe that Google will bring the Authors' Guild kicking and screaming out of the Century of the Fruitbat.

(Sorry for the useless Discworld parallel, but I couldn't resist anyway.)

-- "The Truth shall make ye fret'"
    Mr. Goodmountain doing one of the first movable typo.

Re:A Guild? (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#13612012)

I think we should form a google guild and zerg rush the authors guild, then relieve them of their swag for threatening us! =)

Re:A Guild? (1)

tedrlord (95173) | more than 8 years ago | (#13612013)

That's exactly what I though of too. I'm just wondering why they don't bring in the services of the Assassin's Guild to resolve this nice and tidy.

Also, I just met Terry Pratchett today. I have to bring this up whenever possible.

My question is this....... (1)

Rank_Tyro (721935) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611944)

The California Plumbing Code book is sold for about $110 bucks. This book is a collection of codes that have been formulated to keep drinking water safe, and make sure that the public is not at risk of getting disease.
  Tax dollars, (MINE), are spent figuring out the issues, and those same tax dollars are spent enforcing the cpc, but the only people allowed to access this information are the people who pay for the code book.
  My question is this........is publishing this public information a violation of copyright law?

Re:My question is this....... (1)

Rank_Tyro (721935) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611960)

I should REALLY hit the preview button........what I really meant was,"is publishing this public information 'online' REALLY a violation of copyright law?

Google is still in the wrong. (2, Interesting)

krunk4ever (856261) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611946)

Many of you are claiming it's free advertisement, but consider the following variation where I made a complete photocopy of a book without the author's or publisher's permission, but in return advertised it to people.

By showing only a portion or sample of the work may sound fine and dandy, but if anyone can do this without permission, I can easily see this being abused. Google's setting a very risky precedent.

If I make a service called "Krunk4Ever Print", does that entitle me to the right to take any copyrighted text and digitize it into my library without permission? Though I may not be as big as Google, what gives Google the right to do it and not any small company or individual?

Re:Google is still in the wrong. (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#13612006)

There are a few problems with this. 1. Books must be printed in order to be read comfortably without terrible eyestrain, and publishers still are able to do this more cheaply than we can with printers 2. Libraries give you the book. You can take the book to the xerox machine just like you can take the book to the printer. so you keep the e-copy.. SO WHAT. times change.

Bear in mind what copyright is for... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13611947)

It's worth bearing in mind that copyright is a protective measure given by a government in return for obliging the publisher to make the work publicly available.

The ultimate aim is to increase the education of the public through availability of information - not to bestow some inalienable commercial right.

dead horse (2, Funny)

mattite (526549) | more than 8 years ago | (#13611958)

Must resist ... beating the dead horse...

1. Google received billions from their IPO.
2. Sue Google for infringement.
3. Profit!!!

It felt good to that out of my system.

PROFILES PROFILES PROFILES AND MORE PROFILES. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13611964)

What does the big search companies have the ability to stick into your profile these? What services (and profiling abilities) might be added on in the future?

I'm a bit of privacy advocate (the bill of rights is still valid here in my native country of America right?), so ever since search companies started rolling out free email services I started thinking about all the information that could be stuck in your profile for lord knows how long.

Take this list it with a tinfoil hat and a grain of salt...

- Everything you have searched for & certain websites you visit?

- What you are shopping for (if a shopping guide were launched)

- What you are looking for pictures of (if a picture search engine were launched)

- Where you are, where you are going & who your friends are (if a mapping service were launched)

- Who and what you are emailing (if a free email service were launched)

- Who your friends are, who their friends are, who etc..and what you're saying to them (if an instant messenger app were launched)

- Who you are calling and what you are saying (if a voip service were launched.)

- Everything you are purchasing, who you are sending money to, or receiving money from (if a payment service were launched)

- Everything you do on the internet (if a free wifi server were launched)

- What books you are reading or interesting in reading (if a free digital library were launched)

What happens when the big broadband carriers start losing large chunks of their customers to massive national free broadband wifi providers with the huge marketing machines? Does the old internet (the one we're on now) slowly die in favor of the internet owned and controlled by a single company?

What if a free VOIP service were rolled out? That would further cripple the telcos and broadband carriers (and the current internet).

IMO, this is some pinky & the brain evil genius level stuff here. Very interesting and scary to watch it all unfold.

Carry on.

Google print == Amazon "look inside" (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13611966)

There's not much difference, really. Both intend for you to view the contents of the book, and claim to provide a free advert. It took me 30 seconds to find a flaw in Amazon that lets me download the entirety of the book for free. So the sale is lost, and it's not advertising. Google'll be the same.

The difference is whether the publisher agrees to it. (The author has no say in this.) If you read the license agreement (yes - there is one!) when you buy the book it says "not stored in electronic retrieval format". Browsing in a bookshop doesn't break this... storing in Google Print does. This trumps all other laws of "freedom" unless a precedence is set in court.

Disclaimer: I am a writer with my books on Amazon.

Duh? (1)

metalmaniac1759 (600176) | more than 8 years ago | (#13612002)

Didn't Google see this coming?

Nandz.

the right to opt in? (2, Insightful)

Joseph_Daniel_Zukige (807773) | more than 8 years ago | (#13612020)

Perhaps the suit is to make Google ask first, instead of allowing Google to proceed unless authors specifically opt out.

Yes, it may be good advertising, but an author should have a right to opt in, not a right to opt out. Google should be asking first.

Care to split hairs? (2, Insightful)

Chris Snook (872473) | more than 8 years ago | (#13612022)

The US Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the right to format-shift, and scanning certainly qualifies for this. The very limited browsing capability sure looks like fair use to me. Where this gets sticky is the matter of posession. If Google is hosting this on behalf of the libraries, the literal fact that the bits are on disks in Google's data centers just makes them nice people. If Google is doing something with the work as a whole that's not covered under fair use, and they're not doing it on behalf of the owners of the original published copies from which the images were scanned, then they've infringed copyright, unless they actually have legal copies on their own shelves somewhere. I could see the argument going either way on this, and ultimately it may hinge on the role the libraries have in this.

That said, at worst, Google is making (and offering to remove on request) at most single copy that would be unauthorized under a strict reading of copyright law, assuming the context they're showing is indeed held to be fair use. So, the authors want to sue over a single easy opt-out copy of each work that will drive far greater sales. Why are they doing this?

It's about control. It's always about control. Read the press release. "...the authors, the rightful owners of these copyrights..." But the authors (almost always) aren't actually the legal holders of those copyrights! Authors have been getting screwed by publishers for centuries, but at least things have settled down into a predictable pattern of getting screwed. They don't know what changes are coming next, but they can hardly be blamed for suspecting that as individuals they're less equipped to adapt to whatever changes are coming than the centralized publishing houses, and that they'll end up even worse off.

Ultimately, the decoupling of data and media and obsolescence of traditional publishing will benefit authors, but it may take a very long time to happen.

Gotta go against Google on this one (1, Troll)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 8 years ago | (#13612026)

Personally, I agree with the filers of the suit.
While I see no problem with making available public domain works, I do see where Publishers and authors have a very legitimate case and wish them the best in this effort.

Per the link to the Claimants PR:
"Google has agreements with four academic libraries -- those of Stanford, Harvard, Oxford and the University of Michigan -- and with the New York Public Library to create digital copies of substantial parts of their collections and to make those collections available for searching online. Google has not sought the approval of the authors of these works for this program."

That's pretty much like going over to your friend Freds house and asking him if you can copy his CD collection to post online.You and I know better, and you can be damn sure that Google knows better.

This brings into question Googles "Don't be evil" mantra.
Since I have to assume that Google knows that their actions are legally questionable at best, how can they justify blatant infringement without using appropriate channels as "good".
This smacks of the fabled MS style tactic of just doing whatever the damn hell you want and expecting money to shut people up after the fact.

Is this a sign of things to come from Google?

Ignorant Twats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13612041)

Print is dead. Get over it.
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