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Reining in Google

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the you-shall-not-pass dept.

Google 552

CDPatten writes "The Washington Times has an op-ed piece by two writers typically on opposing sides of the isle, Pat Schroeder and Bob Barr. The article is brief, but overwhelmingly opposes the Google Print service. From the article 'Not only is Google trying to rewrite copyright law, it is also crushing creativity ...Google envisions a world in which all content is free; and of course, it controls the portal through which Internet user's access that content. It would completely devalue everyone else's property and massively increase the value of its own.'. It sounds to me like they might be slightly peeved that Google is resuming the scanning.

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Indexing or Caching? (4, Insightful)

sbaker (47485) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940295)

I don't see any difference between what Google are doing here and what they do to index web sites.

The roam the web - they take local copies of every web page - they index those pages - then they display a 'snippet' of the page in response to a search query.

Same deal with the books. Scan them into a private archive, index the archive - display the title and a sentence or two of content to provide context. I see no problem with that.

What is problematic (both with the Web indexing and Book indexing) is the Google 'cache' - where you can get the content of the web page from Googles cache if the original web page is missing or slow. That is (in my opinion) a breach of the Web page owner's copyright - and would be a breech of the book's copyright too.

However, the indexing service that Google (and others) provide for the Web is the only thing that makes the Internet useful. Doing that for books would be of HUGE benefit to mankind and absolutely must be allowed - even if copyright law has to be changed to make it happen.

Let's think carefully about the 'Google cache' thing though - that's dubious because it allows people access to content without going through the content provider's access mechanisms. That's the thing that deprives the author of value. Indexing actually increases the value of a work because it allows people to find it - and therefore increases the pool of potential purchasers by an enormous factor.

Google indexing should be the savior of printed media and authors should support it.

Google caching is morally dubious.

Re:Indexing or Caching? (-1, Flamebait)

evvk (247017) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940317)

> Google caching is morally dubious.

Only by your stinking moral standards.

Morals is like an asshole; everybody has one and it stinks.

Re:Indexing or Caching? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13940336)

It's one thing for Google to scan snippets or otherwise create an index - that is 'fair use', lots of people do it (reviewers, for example). But it's quite another to scan every single word and make those words available in some manner. That *is* a clear breach of copyright and isn't fair use.

Melinda Gates on Board of Directors (0, Troll)

billybob2 (755512) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940505)

With Melinda Gates [wikipedia.org] (Bill Gate's wife) on the Washinton Post's Board of Directors [washingtonpost.com] , I'm not at all suprised by this attack on Google.

Re:Melinda Gates on Board of Directors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13940584)

This article was from the WASHINGTON TIMES AKA the paper run by MOONIES.

How embarassing for you!

Re:Melinda Gates on Board of Directors (1, Flamebait)

jxs2151 (554138) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940619)

Good try at a paranoid swipe dipshit but this is the Times not the Post.

Go back and try again...maybe you could say something like: "I am not surprised at this coming from the conservative Washington Times" ... except the authors are Pat Schroeder and Bob Barr - left and right.

Your reflexive defense of ./'s favorite search engine company would be pathetic if we weren't all aware of the Slashbot effect.

Re:Indexing or Caching? (4, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940511)

You have already said that indiexing is fair use. In order to index, they need the whole book.

Google only makes available a limited selection of the book at a time. that is, you can see pages 1, 2, and 3 while I may actually see pages 100,101, and 102. If we are limited to how many pages can be seen, then clearly that is fair use.

Now, the argument is that I can piece the book together via the google mechanism. Yes, that is true. It is work on my part, but it can occur. Of course, I can also scan it myself. The very nature of doing that, though, indicates that I am the one breaking the copyright. In both cases, I had to work at breaking the copyright mechanism.

So no, Google is not breaching copyright.

Re:Indexing or Caching? (3, Insightful)

div_2n (525075) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940516)

The Internet is an entirely new medium for which copyright laws as they were written prior to its creation do not adequately address its operation and functionality. For example, I can view a web page by which the content is literally copied to my computer in order for me to read it. I COULD leave that web page up indefinitely on my machine. Just for fun, I could load up a page on a public terminal and leave it for all who walk by to view. Heck, even some of the images may be cached on my machine locally. Maybe I run an ISP and I have a proxy in place that caches most of the entire web page. By your definition and that of copyright law, the use of a caching proxy server is copyright violation.

It seems to me that if a content provider of a web page doesn't want their pages cached either by my machine, my proxy or even Google that they should employ a robots.txt file AND password protect the site to keep Google out. Otherwise the Internet is basically no different than putting stacks of fliers (web pages) everywhere and being upset if someone takes (types in a URL) more than one (caching) to give to their friends (serving cached pages).

Re:Indexing or Caching? (2, Interesting)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940396)

Let's think carefully about the 'Google cache' thing though - that's dubious because it allows people access to content without going through the content provider's access mechanisms.
For things the "content providers" already made publicly available, for crying out loud. What you want to do, is applying extra restrictions management over what was emitted to the public. If you want that "content" to be private, you know how to restrict it in the first place, Google will obey your request.

And for books, Google Print scans books for which the copyright has already expired. Promoting them is a huge boon to the society, to everyone except for publishers who want revenues from books that are supposed to be available to the public.

Re:Indexing or Caching? (5, Informative)

Zacha (581899) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940471)

Not originally. At first, things like the New York Times were cached and able to be searched; that is, the articles they were trying to make people pay for. The NYT asked Google to take those pages down.

And for books, Google Print scans books for which the copyright has already expired.
No. That's the Yahoo and Microsoft versions. Google will scan copyrighted books without explicit permission. See this [csmonitor.com] article, by way of example.

"The Google project ... includes both public domain works and printed materials under copyright, although it would handle and display these two differently.
The OCA [Open Content Alliance] will seek to digitize all public domain works, but only copyright material for which they gain explicit consent from the publisher. Made up of Google competitors Yahoo! and the Microsoft Network (MSN)"

Google free ride is coming to an end (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13940410)

Why should Google be allowed to use content of any kind - be it websites or books - for free? For the benefit of mankind - yeah, right. If they want to benefit mankind they should change their website to Google.org, stop selling advertising on other people's copyrighted content and open up their databases to anyone without restriction.

Within a few years (if it has not happened already) Google's advertising revenue will dwarf all domestic newspaper ad revenues. Is this unchecked growth a good thing?

Re:Google free ride is coming to an end (3, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940616)

Why should Google be allowed to use content of any kind - be it websites or books - for free? For the benefit of mankind - yeah, right. If they want to benefit mankind they should change their website to Google.org, stop selling advertising on other people's copyrighted content and open up their databases to anyone without restriction.

they index the content of websites/books and provide it for a cost; a side advertisement that is related. They are not claiming to do it for mankind, even though it is a clear benefit.

Within a few years (if it has not happened already) Google's advertising revenue will dwarf all domestic newspaper ad revenues.

And your point is?????? News media over the last 5 years have become lapdogs and no longer do their jobs (report esp on politicians). So instead, BLOGGERS have really been replacing newspaper as a major source of info, not google. Google is actually helping newspaper via news.google.com.

Is this unchecked growth a good thing?

And why is it not? If you can do it better, than do so. Google shows innovative capitalism at its best. They not only have done innovative work, but have continued to do so. They do not have a monopoly, but even they do, it is natural (as opposed to MS's which was/is an illegally aquired and maintained).

Re:Indexing or Caching? (1)

SenseOfHumor (903349) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940440)

You can not relate the two. Google shows the snippets of the website and then takes you there - to their sites(even to a cached page is ok to a certain extent as it was public at some stage). It is simply directing you to a webpage that is public and free.

You can not apply the same about a published book that is not free. I like reading books free on the web but it doesn't mean that it is right and legal.

Do no evil - to your bank account!

Re:Indexing or Caching? (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940488)

On the web, there are a variety mechanisms that store 100% copies of webpages and images: corporate/ISP/college proxies, individual's browser caches, and to some extent the search engines themselves. Also, it's almost become standard operating practice that these kinds of things are opt-out, just like the cache is [google.com] . Though I don't know how exactly that fits into the four factors of US fair-use law [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Indexing or Caching? (2, Insightful)

shanen (462549) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940493)

I think you're completely missing the boat here. When someone puts something on the Web, they have agreed to try to make it visible, and Google is serving their interests by making it more visible.

The conflict of Google caching is not that they scan pages and use that content for indexing and search results, but that they allow the cached content to remain available even after the authors have changed the site so those keywords no longer exist. I frankly think it's difficult to justify that use of caching. That's the goal of the Internet Archives Project, but in Google's case it would make good sense to offer the cache-based version only if the original site is down (or /.ed).

(For people who are eager to distribute content but who want to minimize their bandwidth charges for their own servers, it would actually make excellent sense for Google to offer some special metatag to encourage cache availability all of the time. (Though they ought to offer some kind of service for site owners to get a "hit report" for the cached access directly from Google. Obvious implementation would be with a metatag that authorizes an address for a robotic query--only the site owner could add that to the webpage.))

The conflict with the publishers and authors is *completely* different. However, I don't blame Google for trying to adapt to the new technologies, and you can't blame the defenders of the old system for crying when those new technologies are threatening the very existence of their system. To heck with the children! What about the money!?!

Libraries have always had a tenuous relationship with publishers, because borrowed books are only sold once. The argument there was that the public derived large enough benefits that it was okay. Also, the libraries are seen as kind of good publicity and not very accessible, so they (the publishers) can still still books, and perhaps even make more sales to a more literate population.

The Internet is changing things radically. The recent story about newspapers suffering is only a different tip of the same iceberg. From that perspective, the only solution is to ban the technology, which seems unlikely.

When the Internet library is banned, only outlaws will have libraries?

In conclusion, I think the publishers are doomed. The Internet is not going to be banned. It doesn't matter if Google or someone else does it. The books are going to become available via the Web, and the publishers can try to adapt or they can become extinct. Google just wants to be first for the same reason Amazon wanted to be first.

(And the CSS weirdness in the preview and editing areas is over here, too? Looks like an accessible page now. I'm still wondering if it's somehow linked to the latest abuses of anonymous moderation...)

Re:Indexing or Caching? (3, Insightful)

scolby (838499) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940497)

There is a HUGE difference between indexing a web site and indexing a printed work.
Indexing a web site leads people to that actual web site, encouraging the user to do the things that will make money for that web site. In this case, Google makes money helping others make money.
Indexing a printed work in no leads to the user actually doing anything that will make money for the person(s) responsible for that work. Although Google makes money in this scenario, the owners of that content do not. This is what we call exploitation.
And I wholeheartedly agree with your opinion of the cache.

Re:Indexing or Caching? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13940504)

As a Computer Scientist by education, I value brevity.

(Most) websites DO NOT charge for the public to view their site. They welcome their site being indexed.
(Most) authors DO charge for the public to view/read their books. They don't welcome their content being indexed and available for _free_.

Re:Indexing or Caching? (1)

revery (456516) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940532)

The big difference between a "book data" cache and a web content cache is that web data is already freely available on the web. It's hard for someone to argue that Google has deprived them of anything by distributing their copyrighted information (except maybe tracking info they would get from someone visiting their site directly - which may be fairly significant in some cases) whereas an author has not already made their information freely available. Additionally, depending on the content of the book, their work may have been devalued by its dissemination (especially for reference works) because someone looking for specific pieces of information supplied by the book, no longer have to buy it to get it (I'm thinking specifically of a lot of the O'Reilly books)

Anyway, that's my 2 cents.

Is it me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13940309)

...or are they demonizing Google slowly into what Microsoft is today?

I don't think... (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940392)

...things have quite reached the point where Google has taken over from Microsoft as the source of all evil. It is much more that Google is now beginning to play the Anti-Christ to Microsoft's Lucifer in their quest to turn the internet and the entire computer using world in general into a cororate purgatory. Anybody who says anything nice about either of them will, of course, immediately be modded down to -1 flamebait and promoted to the exulted status of a 'false prophet'.

Re:Is it me... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940473)

There are legitamate concerns about Google getting big. Even if they do no evil, all it takes is a shift in management (retirement) and the new ones are another Gates/Ellison/McNeally.

But if you look closely at where much of the writing is coming from, you will see that much of it starts from companies that are very MS friendly. IOW, this is a FUD attack on Google no different than what MS does to the linux world.

Google really does need to make sure to defend themselves against these.

Re:Is it me... (1)

AndreyF (701606) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940594)

IOW, this is a FUD attack on Google no different than what MS does to the linux world.

Absolutely. Just look at the language they use: "Internet behemoth", "$90B Company...", "Google is huge", etc.

That, combined with all of the errors in the article (Google isn't offering ads on the service, and the opt-out process is automated), would rate this prime-grade FUD in my book.

Wait (4, Funny)

Mark_MF-WN (678030) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940310)

Wait a minute. Are these guys saying that Google is some sort... BUSINESS?! Good god!

Re:Wait (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940324)

Yeah, for shame!!! They provide a search engine that has served millions for a decade [or so] and when they make money it must because they're evil!

That said, [to the article author] get a grip. You don't have to use google to "use the web". Other search engines still exist.


Re:Wait (1)

EpsCylonB (307640) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940450)

They provide a search engine that has served millions for a decade [or so]

Or even just five years, yes I am picky.

Washington Times? That Moonie piece of crap? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13940312)

Who gives a fuck what they say?

Re:Washington Times? That Moonie piece of crap? (1)

Your Anus (308149) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940405)

I see someone modded you -1, Troll, but I have to agree with you. The Washington Times is a right-wing tabloid owned by the Unification Church. It is like Fix News, but less respectable. Why anyone here would take them seriously is beyond me.

Re:Washington Times? That Moonie piece of crap? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13940461)

Let me guess, you would prefer we read left-wing tabloids like the NYT or Washington Post, correct?

Not that I agree with the article either, but the left-leaning slashbots' response to the source is entirely predictable.

huh? (1)

osssmkatz (734824) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940315)

This is bullshit. Google may want everything to be digital -- but not neccessarily free. And even if we were to accept that thesis, we might be wrong. This is exactly why copyright laws and lawsuits (re: Napster) discourage innovation: because we don't know what Google is planning until we allow them to launch it. Actually, we have, and I see nothing wrong with it.

The key question will be: Is it for 'commercial use'? Or is it sufficiently 'transformative' (creative) to overcome that objection?

Run for the hills! (4, Funny)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940325)

Google is scanning books! Start burning the hard copies! Copyright law will be rewritten! People will only use google, even if the information is free to other companies and search engines as well! The sky is falling! This is totally different than everyone using Windows! A pig just flew out of my ass!

To the rag that is the Wash. Times: Let them scan! (4, Interesting)

MarkEst1973 (769601) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940331)

1. The Washington Times != The Washington Post. One is a bastion of DC journalism. The other is only slightly better than a tabloid.

2. Let Google scan. Let me search. Only by having Google's (or someone's) index available will I be able to easily find a book I never knew existed. The Dewey Decimal System's got nothing on full text indexing.

Re:To the rag that is the Wash. Times: Let them sc (3, Informative)

k98sven (324383) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940484)

1. The Washington Times != The Washington Post. One is a bastion of DC journalism. The other is only slightly better than a tabloid.

Uh, I wouldn't even say the Washington Times is that good even.

It was founded by the Moonies, which is IMHO, a cult and certainly not an uncontroversial organization by any other standards.

Add to that the fact that it was explicitly created by Moon to create an 'alternative' to the Post that was more in line with his own opinions. Which is just a wonderful premise to start a quality newspaper on. Not.

(Not that there's anything wrong with op-eds. But if it's the raison d'etre of your paper, I wouldn't call it a 'newspaper'.)

Ok, but enough shooting the messenger.. The actual op-ed piece speaks for itself. It's a load of baloney. Filled with a nonsense interpretation of copyright law, tons of statements and allegations without any arguments or reasoning to back them up.

And more than a few straw-men like: "Our laws say if you wish to copy someone's work, you must get their permission. Google wants to trash that."

Google wants to abolish copyright laws. Riiight. (sarcasm)

Re:To the rag that is the Wash. Times: Let them sc (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940564)

Uh, I wouldn't even say the Washington Times is that good even.

It was founded by the Moonies, which is IMHO, a cult and certainly not an uncontroversial organization by any other standards.

Let's not forget that "Rev." Moon recently had himself crowned the prince of peace in an elobarate self-congratulatory ceremony. Someone who does that is probably not out to establish an objective newspaper.

The actual op-ed piece speaks for itself. It's a load of baloney. Filled with a nonsense interpretation of copyright law, tons of statements and allegations without any arguments or reasoning to back them up.

So basically, the Washington Times is a lot like slashdot...

Re:To the rag that is the Wash. Times: Let them sc (1)

Zacha (581899) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940495)

Re: 1

The Washington Times is a tabloid paper, sure. But this is the exactly same sort of manner that people use to dismiss the information from Wikipedia out of hand. Call the authors stupid. Not the publication. Even if it's Fox News.

Re:To the rag that is the Wash. Times: Let them sc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13940576)

Sure, if by "bastion of journalism" you mean "consistently expresses a left-of-center viewpoint".

Or maybe you prefer that other paragon of journalistic virtue, the NYT, which falsifies stories and believes its writers have some amazing extra-constitutional protection against being served a subpoena?

Libraries and Print media here to stay.. (1)

jkind (922585) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940334)

While I can enjoy the NY times quite comfortably from my Tablet PC, I think I'm in the minority. A lot of people still will want their paper with their coffee and bagel, and just can't stand reading *anything* on the computer. My friend will print off even a 1 page article, instead of just reading it on the desktop. I think libraries should be a bit more concerned. I think they're going to drop off face of the earth this century!

Gentlemen, Start Your Hypocrisy Detectors.... (4, Interesting)

Steve B (42864) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940355)

And so we find ourselves joining together to fight a $90 billion company bent on unilaterally changing copyright law to their benefit

Who wants to start posting Barr and Schroeder's voting records?

Or does their objection to doing it "unilaterally" merely mean "our old colleages aren't getting their cut"?

Re:Gentlemen, Start Your Hypocrisy Detectors.... (1)

mbourgon (186257) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940630)

Here's a better one:

"One library buys one of their journals. They give it to other libraries. They'll give it to others."

Fundamentally Disruptive? (1)

PornMaster (749461) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940357)

While I'm not sure how I feel about whether or not it's fair use (I think that Google's activity may enable fair use, but not be fair use in itself), it certainly has the potential to be a disruptive technology in terms of research.

People tend to be afraid of disruption. It's natural. Google's got the pockets to deal with the repercussions, so I'm happy to let it play itself out, even if they get spanked with a billion dollar judgement against them.

And the alternative to Google is..... (1)

Guru Goo (875426) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940359)

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Change the law (2)

imdylbert (856454) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940361)

I think copyright law needs to be changed anyway. Things are getting ridiculous. Perhaps not eliminate copyright altogether but put a single term limit on copyright of any work, 15 or 20 years and once that term is up, the work becomes public domain. I am 100% for google's scanning project. Go Google!

Re:Change the law (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940578)

"Perhaps not eliminate copyright altogether"

You dont need to eliminate copyright altogether to eliminate the negative properties of it altogether.

The concept of copyright should be built upon the foundation of compensating the authors, not upon restricting everyone elses rights to do what they wish with their own property or creating artificial scarcity through monopoly.

Want the government to encourage writing or other arts? Then it can damn well put its money where its mouth is and actually pay for it straight out, rather than fool around with indirect taxation through legalized monopoly rents. We're paying either way, so we might as well put the level of encouragement desired on paper.

Intellectual Property FUD (5, Insightful)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940364)

Either what Google is doing is allowed by copyright law, or it's not. The courts will decide, the losers will appeal, and eventually we will have a final ruling. Personally, I think a searchable index might just boost sales of lesser known books (considering that the mainstream bookstores only carry the most "popular" books and if you're not carried by the Barnes & Nobles, et al, you don't have much chance to become known to most of the population).

Re:Intellectual Property FUD (3, Insightful)

EpsCylonB (307640) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940519)

Either what Google is doing is allowed by copyright law, or it's not. The courts will decide, the losers will appeal, and eventually we will have a final ruling.

But what if the law is wrong ?. Copyright was originally supposed to be a contract between an artist and soceity, the deal is that your work will be protected for a period of time in order to encourage you to make further cultural contributions. How many of these books that google is scanning are over 30 years old ?, has the author not had enough time to profit from his work ?.

Copyright in the US (and also in the UK shamefully) is now effectively infinite. Copyright is a anti capitalist monopoly that rewards people for the work of others and puts a price on our culture. Imagine if shaespeare's plays were under copyright today.

One of the great ironies of this copyright law is that Disney, one of the main proponents of extensions, would have been unable to rip off the all those fairy tales had todays copyright laws existed a 100 years ago.

Seems like fair use to me. (1)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940365)

Our laws say if you wish to copy someone's work, you must get their permission.

It seems obvious that he sees "fair use" as something to be dismissed (as he does in the next paragraph).

I'm unclear as to why he doesn't have problem with book reviews (which often display portions of a book) or student's book reports. The courts have decided that copyright material can be presented without permission for a number of uses. While this seems completely reasonable to me, I suspect the courts get to decide this one.

EFF has an interesting analysis [eff.org] on this as well.

Re:Seems like fair use to me. (2, Insightful)

PornMaster (749461) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940510)

From the EFF analysis:
Amount and Substantiality of the Portion Used: Favors Google. Google appears to be copying only as much as necessary (if you are enabling full-text searching, you need the full text), and only tiny snippets are made publicly accessible. Once again, Google looks a lot more like Arriba Soft than MP3.com.

They may only be providing snippets, but they're copying the whole damn thing.

Nothing inconsistent here (1)

kawika (87069) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940366)

typically on opposing sides of the [sic] isle

Rest assured they are both on the same side of the "isle", the one with a tropical island nest paid for by Thurston Howell III, er, the book publishers.

Bob Barr no doubt made plenty of friends in publishing when he recently wrote a book [townhall.com] . Book royalties are a convenient way of laundering money bound for politicians (Newt Gingrich, Hillary Clinton, etc.) since they are ostensibly for something the person did rather than being outright contributions.

This controversy seems no different than the one about SBC's pipes [slashdot.org] , it's basically people griping that they want more money off someone else's hard work. Let's hope that the courts believe that indexing a book and putting that index online with small excerpts is fair use.

Small price (1)

DrugCheese (266151) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940367)

I think downloading a new graphic during the holidays is a small price to pay to be able to search through all of mans literature with a single click. And if Google does charge a price (you mean they want to make money?) and we think it's unfair, competition will arrive to balance it out. It's not like once google absorbs all the info that our libraries worldwide will explode and google will have a complete monopoly on information.

If publishers and authors have to spend all their time policing Google for works they have already written, it is hard to create more.

Do publishers and authors currently spend time policing libraries, making sure no one is making 10 cent copies of their work?

Anti-Competitive Behavior (4, Informative)

mpapet (761907) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940368)

I love it when they intentionally steer away from the whole idea of indexing books. Why am I not surprised?

For those who may not be aware, their objective is not to have the entire book available on the internet because it won't be or shouldn't be. They'll have enough of the book (whatever that is) to help you find the name/author/etc of the book then tell you where to find the book. (Amazon, library)

Save The Walking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13940371)

So instead of walking to the library to see the book I can walk to my computer. Oh yes, Google is eeeeevil. Burn them!

Libraries are terrible, terrible institutions. (5, Insightful)

Jerk City Troll (661616) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940372)

I hear there are places where there are shelves after shelves of books, conveniently organized for quick reference, all at the disposal of the public, free of charge. What's more, these places, sometimes called "libraries", will even let you photocopy any of the material you find there for only the cost of the copy machine! Just imagine how much creativity is being stifled by these rackets! If we hope to save our society from the menace of intellectual property theft, we should be shutting them down, and not allowing Google start doing the same!

Re:Libraries are terrible, terrible institutions. (1)

Flaming Babies (904475) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940431)


Couldn't agree more.
Maybe Google could set up a fund for aspiring writers.
Part of the profits gained from any additional advertising could filter into it.
I wonder if that would satisfy any of those complaining about the artistic stifling,
or if they are really all about greed.

Re:Libraries are terrible, terrible institutions. (2, Insightful)

interiot (50685) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940552)

Checking books out from a library does not involve copyright law, as you're not making a copy of anything.

There are four factors to US Fair Use law [wikipedia.org] . The differences between Google's copying and library photocopying are:

  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

    Google's use is commercial (see the judge's argument in the my.mp3.com case [uh.edu] ). Most use at a library is usually educational, but it may not be.

  2. the nature of the copyrighted work

    No difference

  3. Amount and substantiality

    Google is copying 100% of the books. It's fairly well established that it's not legal to copy an entire book in your library's copier, that it's only legal to copy some subset of the pages.

  4. Effect upon work's value

    No difference


Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13940379)

Did the article really contain that horrible punctuation error? *gasp* My god, it did!

At least the article used the word 'aisle' correctly.

Contradictions (4, Informative)

jurt1235 (834677) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940382)

If Google crushes copyright law, and in that proces makes all content free, than the value of all other content will go down, but the value of Google will not go up. With a sufficiently crushed copyright law under which you can copy everything (to a certain extent), nothing will stop another company (lets say Yahoo, or Microsoft) to do the same, and have the same information available, maybe even by copying it from Google.
It just sounds to me that they are afraid of change. Creativity does not by definition depend on money. Why would there be thousands of art blogs, musicians, and writers who just publish it all for free. Some of them are really good, or even mainstream and could sell, but the commercial copyright industry just has no interest since they already have a few others, and profit margins would just go down when you add one more.

Evidence? (1)

hding (309275) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940383)

I always think it's interesting that people state this sort of opinion without actually providing any evidence that this kind of move by Google actually reduces creativity. Sure, their model for the way things are produced predicts this, but why is their model valid? What about a model where one posits that having all (or even just more) information freely available for anyone's use actually increases the overall creative output of society because creators have more raw material to work with? Though I present no evidence for this either, it's easy to conceive that this could be valid as well.

Re:Evidence? (1)

Bulmakau (918237) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940429)

It was proved already over the history that when you dont incentive (economiacally as well) creators for their creation, you loose creativity.
As for your view of freely accessible information, it might be true BUT google does not enable access to the information. only make it searchable in a snippet format. Once that is done you don't have access to the information. And trust me, most aythors (novelists, sci-fi, philosophy) dont (and wont) use google to look for which books to read. They go to the library and talk to their friends/coleges about which books to read.
Although I am sure it will be the official stand, I doubt what drives google is the authors and their creativity ;)

Re:Evidence? (1)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940512)

Additionally, they don't have any evidence that Google is breaching copyright law (landshark quotes, etc), nor do they actually say what the purpose of Google Print is, which is (in my opinion) supposed to basically be grep for printed books, helping me find the page that has "potato" or whatever.

Retard (2, Interesting)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940391)

Not only is Google trying to rewrite copyright law, it is also crushing creativity

As opposed to what lobbyists have done, rewriting copyright laws (extending them infinitely) and crushing creativity (you so much as write something similar to us and we release the lawyers)?

...Google envisions a world in which all content is free;

We can only hope, for the good of all society, that this day comes soon.

Google, Books and the internet.. (1)

Bulmakau (918237) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940399)

I am sure many will ask what the difference between books and sites is. And since we all like google scanning out sites, why should we oppose book scanning?
Well, for several reasons:
1. It is WE who like our sites scanned, and if not, we add a Robots.txt file. We can protect some of the content on our site, or all. and we easily know if its being spidered, so we can take action. How will that be with books? Robots.txt is not probably. You know what? if anything, it already exists in a way. All (most) books say have on them, in print, right in the beginning a text saying "copying of material from this book is not allowed unless permitted, prior, in writing, by the author or the publisher". I think that resembles a robots.txt file. no? And authors have little ability to "check the web logs" and see who scans their books.
2. We get something directly from it. Fair use dictates that google links to our sites directly. How will that be with books? You have to go to the shop to at least consider buying the book? Not likely. They can send traffic to Amazon maybe? But still, not a parallel (and if they do, I am sure they will collect referral fee ;))
3. Our sites operate in the internet. Books "operate" in libraries, stores. You go to a library? you can search there for a book. On the internet, you can search for sites. Not only that, but internet has shaped to be mostly a free and open medium. Books - not. Books, you have to buy, or at least subscribe to a library (paid, directly or indirectly). Different "market".
4. Most of our sites are free, and are freely accessed. Most of the sites in google are such sites. As a matter of fact, subscribed sites where their content is protected and paid for (as books are) do NOT have their content on google. And IF they have, THEY take the steps to get it into google. Books are in a sense like protected/paid sites.
A world of difference that is going to be erased very abruptly by google..
Good or bad? You decide (and also authors, publications and libraries which seems to have decided already)

Re:Google, Books and the internet.. (1)

manmanic (662850) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940494)

All of these are excellent points.

If Google is convinced this is in the best interests of authors, they should provide them with an opt-in. This could be good or bad for books in different sectors.

Even better, the search engines and publishing houses should get together and decide on some standard metadata format (akin to robots.txt) by which the copyright owners determine whether, and how much, their book can be indexed. Google today - who knows tomorrow? Does Google think it is fair that authors have to individually contact each company that does this, to request their book is excluded?

Is it OK if I stick a notice up in the town hall saying I am going to burgle everyone in town, but people who contact me will be excluded?

Re:Google, Books and the internet.. (1)

Zacha (581899) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940566)

This is a good idea. The only problem is that it highlights the key dilemma in this field: what if you can't find the author, or copyright holder, or the managers of their estates? But it's quite possible they'd probably let you scan it, if you could find them. And assuming that you could track everyone down, how much will it cost in time and money?

One the one hand, it would be so hard as to effectively halt the progress of something like Google print. So you need a blanket law, to be opted out of.
On the other hand, that's not fair on the individual authors and copyright holders who don't want to be included.

A simpler solution might be to make the index itself public domain, and government run. Run by a body like the Library of Congress, and licensed out to 3rd parties, using proper 'privacy'-like disclosure rules for the data.

Re:Google, Books and the internet.. (1)

taaloos (449902) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940581)

Excellently made points. Google has begun the walk toward asking forgiveness instead of permission, a line that certainly seems in opposition to their unofficial mantra. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should...

Information availability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13940404)

I'm sure the authors of the article would rather all these books remain obscured to all but those capable and inclined to visit these libraries. I really don't see who's getting screwed here. Except those who benefit from hording information. If it's legal, who cares. Google's always been good to us. I haven't heard anything about Google changing any laws, so I don't know what "unilaterally changing copyright law" is supposed to mean. I'm tired of this "crushing creativity" argument. I'm certain that if for some reason no one on Earth was paid for creating anything that all creation would not stop.

You can take the politician out of politics...... (4, Insightful)

carlos_benj (140796) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940412)

Good grief. Google's not making the works available. They're just making them searchable. The TV taping isn't a good analogy from either viewpoint as the television show will be watched in whole. What Google makes available would be akin to watching a one minute clip of the television show.

I was going to argue against it stifling creativity, but I guess paranoia would keep you from writing new works as it's hard to type while running from imaginary enemies.

The article claims Google has not defined what a "snippet" is. They go on to ask if it's a paragraph, a page or even a chapter..... This is willful ignorance as Google has provided examples of what a snippet will look like. Best to ignore what's out there so we can create the monster to look the way we want it to.....

Re-Ining? (1)

acaben (80896) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940426)

I read this as Re-Ining in Google, and couldn't figure out what Ining was or why it'd need to be done over again. I think it's time for some coffee, and what better time than the fire drill that's set to happen in five minutes. Mmm, caffeine. Perhaps Ining has something to do with caffeination. If not, it should.

Who Gets to Decide? (2, Insightful)

Zacha (581899) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940430)

"The creators and owners of these copyrighted works will not be compensated, nor has Google defined what a "snippet" is: a paragraph? A page? A chapter? A whole book?
This is the better point of the article: who said that Google gets to decide what's fair use? It can't just be Google's say so, court decisions aside. Nor just the balance of opinion on the web.
I admire Google's robust approach to copyright - that it's better to try things first, find out if you're right second. It's a very cool company. But it's not elected and it is straying into the area of other people's copyrights... be it for good reason, or otherwise.

.. on this, we can both agree: These lawsuits are needed to halt theft of intellectual property. To see it any other way is intellectually dishonest.
This is the more unsettling point in the article. In the same vein: why do Schroeder and Barr get to decide what is fair use? To point out the problem, reasonably, is something the article does very well until right near the end. These last few paragraphs stray unsettlingly into RIAA languge, be it intentionally or otherwise.

Good from libraries outweighs harm to producers (1)

xtal (49134) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940434)

Libraries didn't make books and newspapers go away, did they? I can go into my local library and read the newspaper! FOR FREE! It's COMMUNISM! OHNOES!

This debate happened a long time ago. The benefits to society from an educated populace with easy access to information vastly outweighs any harm that might come from shared access to the information to the producers.

I'm suprised more of the public does not push for this; indeed, a digital library would be a great boon in many ways. Printed media is not going anywhere, and when people are given a reasonable choice, they will pay for a service to save effort infringing someone's copyright. See, iTunes et al.

Go google!

Re:Good from libraries outweighs harm to producers (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940609)

Libraries don't copy books. In the eyes of the law, Google IS copying its books by making tens or hundreds of copies of books onto its internal servers.

Fair Use Misleading. (3, Interesting)

Kefaa (76147) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940437)

I do believe in Copyrights (that alone may get this modded down to -255). However, if google lives up to the claim they will only provide snippets, how is that different than what any web site, quoting an author does. Is this web site in violation Dilbert -why you are wrong [megat.co.uk] by quoting from Dilbert? It appears fair use to me.

Where google may have issues, is if anyone figures out a way to reconstruct a book in total. They would give people like this a lot of ammunition against them. Of course, the library does not prevent me from scanning a book if I take it home, but that is something that will be missed in the hype around it. I am not sure how they could prevent this, but these are some pretty smart guys.

In this case, the authors sound more like they want a cut of the click through, regardless of sales. What may be interesting in the end is book sellers would be the most likely to advertise on Google Print. A "click here to buy this book" type of link.

Indexing public domain content (1)

ericleasemorgan (928146) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940441)

I seriously don't understand what all the fuss is about. All that is happening is the creation of an index, a list of words associated with pointers to the words put into context. It is not like you can realistically download the entire book, and I sincerely believe the small numbers of people who will go through the book and download each image will be far smaller than the number of people who will buy the book. These people who are making so much noise would be better off spending their time making more of their content available digitally.

The world is not coming to an end, just changing.

Eric Lease Morgan, Librarian
University Libraries of Notre Dame

wow it hurts doesn't it (2, Insightful)

portwojc (201398) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940445)

And so we find ourselves joining together to fight a $90 billion company bent on unilaterally changing copyright law to their benefit and in turn denying publishers and authors the rights granted to them by the U.S. Constitution.

It sucks when another company comes along and try and change the rules. It's ok when you do it though huh?

Let's see as I understand it. You look for certain phrases through searching books scanned in on google. It finds those books and displays a page or so of the text (probably less). So you know what you searching for is actually found. Then you can if you want, now see if you can keep up, buy the book.

Wow the authors and publishers really loose out. I see what they mean. Why would you want to sell more books? Google must be stopped!

Didn't amazon do something like this already? Well at least a few pages of the book.

How would authors make money? (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940446)

So if I'm an author and I write a book/novel/whatever and instead of people buying the book, they download it and read it for free. This is different from the whole iTunes issue as atleast money is exchanged for goods. This model is more like the old napster or bittorrent....

If i'm going to spend a couple of years writing a book in the hopes that it makes money, I'd hope people that read it pay for it.


Re:How would authors make money? (1)

chiefthe (672735) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940560)

Try using Google Print.

They are using a similar method to Amazon's 'search inside this book'...only a few relevent pages are displyed.

This is similar to displaying an abstract or references from a journal paper for free, which many pay services that archive journals already do.


I'm more confused than ever (2, Insightful)

el_womble (779715) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940449)

If I write a novel, and put on the floor in the street, somebody picks it up and reads it, they arn't violating copyright because they haven't create a copy.

If I write the same novel and leave it on a public file server, if someone picks it up and reads it or saves it to disk they have made a copy of it (because thats how digital reading works) so they have violated copyright, unless I allow them the right to make one copy. So what happens the next time I open the file? Technically I'll have a copy on disk and a copy in memory - so I'll have two copies. Or worse, I decide I want to read it on a different computer, I copy it to the other computer, delete from the current computer and then read it on the other computer. As far as I'm concerned there is still only one copy, but in reality there are three: the copy marked for deletion on my harddrive, the copy on the other computers harddrive and the copy in memory. All this before we start getting our knickers in a twist about caching and registers!

Digital data really stuggles with copyright, because even the most simple of actions require that the data be duplicated, and the reason we duplicate over transfer is because it's faster and safer. Once something is digitized good luck trying to keep control over its distribution.

Googles actions here show a complete disregard for conventional copoyright. Taking a none digital medium and transcoding it to digital, then disitributing it on the web is not what fair use had in mind, and really should involve giving some money to the copyright holders, probably a lot of money.

dear god, please don't quote the Washington Times (1)

geekpuppySEA (724733) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940467)

The Washington Times is a famously polemic newspaper that's owned by and is something of a mouthpiece for the Reverend Sun Myung Moon - that's right, the crackpot Moonies.

They're a cult, guys. And not the kind that is really really into a science fiction show. Should they be a source we listen to for Google criticism?

If they're right, Google is building my dream (1)

cyclop (780354) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940483)

Our laws say if you wish to copy someone's work, you must get their permission. Google wants to trash that.

That's what I want to trash,too.

Google envisions a world in which all content is free

That's exactly the world in which I want to live.

These lawsuits are needed to halt theft of intellectual property. To see it any other way is intellectually dishonest.

I believe in freedom of access and distribution of all information content for all mankind. These lawsuits are theft of intellectual works that belongs to all mankind, and they belong to all mankind for the simple fact of being intellectual works.

NaNoWriMo Creativity (1)

nedwidek (98930) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940491)

...it is also crushing creativity....

As a NaNoWriMo participant [nanowrimo.org] , I had wondered where my creativity had gone last night. Damn you, Google! Now I'll never make it beyond 50,000 words.

who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13940496)

>>You're probably reading the byline above and wondering, "What could these two, from opposite
>> sides of the aisle in Congress, possibly have in common with each other?"

nope. wondering who the hell these 2 guys are. never heard of them.
do they really think we all know their names?

Both Sides.... (1)

CodeShark (17400) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940502)

There are two sides to this coin:

As an author, I like the idea of a company as massive as Google has become in essence acting as a free publicist, in fact in some ways I can see how a whole new publisher-free method of getting into print could come about because of it, for example, if I print one copy of a book and donate it to one of those university libraries.

As an open source advocate who is opposed to any single corporate entity becoming a "sole source" of online content, etc., I don't like the idea very much at all. It raises the possiblility of that corporate entity essentially controlling access or profiting from my work with no derivative income to me, the creator of the work.

However, my thoughts (written in 2005 with a 99 year copyright period in the US of A) are irrelevant for what is presumably a major part of this project: there are many many books out of copyright that have no legal encumberance and Google is entitled to do what they wish with these books whether we like it or not.

What the f*** is wrong with these people? (2, Insightful)

raddan (519638) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940521)

How aren't they able to see that allowing all published books to be searched online-- searched but not read -- will mean MORE REVENUE for publishers. This solves the "don't judge a book by it's cover" problem. The success of publishers like O'Reilly, who put huge excerpts of books on the web, and retailers like Amazon, who provide snippets for customers to read through, shows that providing a way of looking before you buy brings in MORE CUSTOMERS. And do we really need to point out... Google says that you won't be able to read the whole fucking book online!

If we'd had a "Napster of books" that blew the doors off of print like it did for music, publishers would be beyond this now. I know the RIAA/MPAA take the stance that P2P has had a negative effect on the music/movies biz, but with the massive success of the iPod/iTMS/[insert favorite online music store] does anyone really beleive that anymore?

The Law (1)

countach (534280) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940534)

A lot of waffly claims that "Google is changing the law".

No they're not. They're testing the law in a whole new field of endeavour. The courts will decide what the law is, and clearly neither side can claim a cut and dried legal watertight case till the court rules. Neither side can claim the other is "changing the law". The field is too new. Personally, I hope Google wins. We shall see.

Two idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13940540)

Frankly, these two authors are stupid. They can't see straight. Google is not offering the entire works and violating copyright. They are doing what libraries currently do, but do a crappy job. Libraries have been trying to do this, but most college libraries do not have the expertise or resources. Google does have the resources and know-how to do it right. These two guys should wake up and see their arguments are full of crap.

Pat Schroeder is a paid shill (4, Informative)

frankie (91710) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940548)

She is not on the "opposing side" of anything except common decency. Pat sold her soul to the publishing industry years ago. She's the public face of the anti-library movement [washingtonpost.com] that would love to eliminate print ownership entirely and switch to a pay-per-read model.

Claiming that Pat Schroeder still holds true to any of her former progressive Democratic views is like saying Arianna Huffington [thedetroitproject.com] is still a Republican.

Conflict of interest (1)

AndreyF (701606) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940555)

Patricia Scott Schroeder [publishers.org]

Uh, maybe the part about her being the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Association of American Publishers is creeping in on her opinion of this... Google really needs to get a better PR firm. :(

For Profit Part of the Problem (1)

epicmatt (840975) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940556)

The authors, while missing the point, do make a very good point. When displaying the work (what portion of the work is still in question) they also intend to sell ads based on the context of the search for the copyrighted work. So in essence, they are making a profit off of a showing of material they do not own the copyright too. What are the odds of Google then directing a portion of that profit to the copyright owners? Perhaps it would be better if Google bought a copy of every book it intends to scan. Therefore, acting in more of a library capacity?

preserving the heritage trumps copyright (2, Insightful)

GerardM (535367) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940563)

As the publishing companies have an abysmal record of preserving the heritage; they leave it to libraries. History is full of important libraries that have burned with all its content.

The argument that these people use is ONLY about copyright and how they THINK they might be worse off in this deal. Their reasoning is not at all why this is a good thing for the society and they do not even consider how it will benefit themselves.

It is a well known but little understood fact that people who go to libraries are the ones most likely to buy books. It is as little understood that file sharers are the ones most likely to buy records.. You do not need to stretch your imagination to understand that when books are known courtesy of this program, that people will be interested in copies these often out of print books.

Please wake up, you are robbing yourself when you spout this nonsence.


Quoting Text? (1)

herriojr (792305) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940582)

Isn't it legal to quote text from a book or article as long as you provide the source? I believe it is, and I'm pretty damn sure the point of a search engine is to provide a source (not the technical interpretation). But let's face it, Google WILL provide the link to the source. If they don't, then it is illegal.

Is there something I'm not taking into consideration here?

Dear Editors, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13940603)

There are some factual errors in your story "Reigning In Google," to wit:

1) "nor has Google defined what a 'snippet' is"

From Google Print's help page, I found out (within seconds) that a snippet ranges from a few sentences to a few pages. They have not said how they will determine where in the range any given book will be, but I can guess (as could your two authors have guessed) that it will be based on the size of the book itself.

2) "Our laws say if you wish to copy someone's work, you must get their permission."

My understanding was that our laws say "if you want to rebroadcast or republish". Copying (without republishing) is fine. And republishing snippets usually falls under Fair Use, which is also fine.

Since the entire rest of the article is built on these two factual errors, that's all I can really say about that.

Thank you for your time,

Pat Schroeder and Bob Barr? (2, Interesting)

Vengeance (46019) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940604)

Dumb and Dumber, as far as I'm concerned. Did you ever see her on "Jeopardy", when she failed to come up with basic answers about the US government? Did you ever wonder why he so strongly opposed the will of the people that he wrote (and got passed) legislation to circumvent even PLACING a referendum on legalizing marijuana on the ballot? I don't want to hear or see what these two have to say, it simply brings down the general level of human discourse.

Two wastes of horseflesh, they are.

History Repeats Itself (1)

Funakoshi (925826) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940610)

A few years back, there was this group of artists (we'll call them musicians) who got really upset because their stuff was being made available on this thing called the Internet. Since these artists were pure, land-loving, do-gooders (translation: hippies), they didn't see the opportunity that lay before them. Instead of embracing this new technology and using to increase album sales (of which they make little money off of), increase merchandise sales (of which they can make alot of money off of - see Kiss for an example), and increase their fan base (and thus ticket sales) by expanding their exposure exponentially in a way that was previously impossible, they sat around and complained.
Now, we have a new set of artists who are again failing to see the opportunity presented to them. If they were smart, they would work with Google, to develop strategies to increase sales through this new medium.
Just another group of people that do not understand the true marketing power of the Internet and what can be achieved by putting information at the finger tips of the general public.

Stifling creativity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13940612)

Monetary gain has never been, and will never be, the primary driver of creativity...

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? :)

google's indexing (1)

ripcrd (31538) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940621)

Heaven forbid that I ever be able to find a book that I want. Anyone ever hear a line from a book and can't remember the title? Anybody else have trouble finding stuff thru the library's search system? My hand was raised twice.

Sometimes the search system is so clunky that it is nearly unuseable, that happened to me in college while doing research papers. I had to have the help of a librarian many times to find usefull results. I learned a lot about boolean back then.

Books or congressmen NOT FOR RESALE (1)

PrimeNumber (136578) | more than 8 years ago | (#13940631)

Pat Schroeder is president of the Association of American Publishers and a former member of Congress from Colorado. Bob Barr, a former member of the House Judiciary Committee, is an author, newspaper columnist and analyst for CNN.
I guess the warranty on congressmen lasts as long as copyright does*.
* See List of countries' copyright length - USA [wikipedia.org]
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"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
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