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Old 08-31-2013, 11:06 AM   #1
doctorow
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Google versus Authors Guild - the next chapter

If you thought the constant quarrel between Google and the Authors Guild for the Google Book Search project has come to an end, you are sadly mistaken.

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Google and the Authors Guild’s eight-year legal fight over digital books is coming to a head once again, as both sides prepare to make their final case next month about whether Google’s scanning of more than 20 million library books is fair use under copyright law.

In documents filed in New York federal court this week, Google argues at length that the scanning is “transformative” — a legal concept that gained importance after the Supreme Court used it in 1994 to rule in favor of rappers 2LiveCrew, who had sampled the Roy Orbison song “Pretty Woman” without permission.
Link

Google opposition to the Authors Guild motion: Link
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Old 08-31-2013, 12:52 PM   #2
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You have to wonder what percentage of the 20 million scanned are PD books and how many of the 20 million are books that are read by the majority of the reading public. I mean surely some of the books are titles that are out of print or are by authors who aren't well known. Not everyone is a Stephen King or a James Michener for example.
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Old 08-31-2013, 01:22 PM   #3
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You have to wonder what percentage of the 20 million scanned are PD books and how many of the 20 million are books that are read by the majority of the reading public. I mean surely some of the books are titles that are out of print or are by authors who aren't well known. Not everyone is a Stephen King or a James Michener for example.
They still deserve to have their rights respected.
I'm no fan of the AG but on the "orphan" books land-grab Google is way out of line.
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Old 08-31-2013, 02:40 PM   #4
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They still deserve to have their rights respected.
I'm no fan of the AG but on the "orphan" books land-grab Google is way out of line.
I'm not saying that they don't deserve to have their rights respected. Just wondering how many of them are PD books as opposed to books that aren't PD yet. And of course how many of them are books that have been in obscurity due to people not even knowing that they exist prior to being scanned. I mean how many other authors wrote books at the same time as Charles Dickens for example? Probably hundreds I'd imagine. And many of them are pretty much forgotten I'd think as well. I'd guess even today the ratio of books that are known of to those that are out of print is a large one. Ebooks allow for such books to be available to everyone. So while there are some problems I'd imagine that there are some benefits as well. Ebooks themselves have been around for some 40 yrs or so (Michael Hart) but the new tech of the ereader is probably going to lead to a few rough spots as technology and law both evolve.
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Old 08-31-2013, 03:56 PM   #5
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PD books are not at issue in this case.
The issue is Google making money (in several ways) off books that are under copyright without asking permission and adopting an opt-out model, putting the onus on the copyright owner to *individually* fight Google.
Obscurity is irrelevant: If the copyright owner wants them to languish in obscurity, that is their right to decide and not Google's. Especially since their motivation is commercial.
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Old 08-31-2013, 08:51 PM   #6
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The issue is Google making money (in several ways) off books that are under copyright without asking permission and adopting an opt-out model, putting the onus on the copyright owner to *individually* fight Google.
Book reviewers -- the kind I take seriously -- routinely make money off books that are under copyright, without any opt-out or opt-in. And when reviewers pan books, quoting passages for purposes of ridicule, they hurt authors and publishers. Google Books, by contrast, is free publicity.

The little book snippets that google provides are comparable to fair use quotations in periodicals, and to the big snippets in academic studies written to gain tenure and thus more pay. Google Books is just as much a public service as the review-complete-with-quotes, published in a profitable newspaper, that warns me away from a bad book, and should be equally protected.
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Old 09-01-2013, 07:54 AM   #7
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I suspect that much of this comes down to the idea that copyright for books is property and thus belongs to the copyright holder for eternity rather than a limited privilege granted by the Constitution. If you buy into the idea that the copyright of a specific book is property, and belongs to the copyright holder for eternity, then there is an emotional response of "how dare someone use my property without my say so". Some authors feel very strongly that way. That wasn't the original intent of copyright in the Constitution, but that does seem to be the way it has evolved over the years.
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Old 09-01-2013, 08:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
PD books are not at issue in this case.
The issue is Google making money (in several ways) off books that are under copyright without asking permission and adopting an opt-out model, putting the onus on the copyright owner to *individually* fight Google.
Obscurity is irrelevant: If the copyright owner wants them to languish in obscurity, that is their right to decide and not Google's. Especially since their motivation is commercial.
Ah, but how many of those authors want their books to languish in obscurity? I'm not lobbying for or against what Goggle has or might have done, just posing the questions.
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Old 09-01-2013, 11:02 AM   #9
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Ah, but how many of those authors want their books to languish in obscurity? I'm not lobbying for or against what Goggle has or might have done, just posing the questions.
Actually, many think that their book languishes in obscurity (i.e. doesn't sale well) because of piracy. They think if it wasn't for those blamed pirates, their book would be a NYT bestseller. They simply can't accept that their book is mediocre or at best, a well written book that no one is particularly interested in.

I saw the same attitude about software back in the 80's. A fellow that I knew was positive the reason that his $500 UNIX shell wasn't raking in the buck was because everyone was pirating it.
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