Google Discovers Appeasement Doesn't Work

from the let's-try-that-again dept

Back in August, Google announced that, due to various complaints, they were going to stop scanning books from various libraries to try to come up with a way to make authors and publishers feel more comfortable with the project. Since that time, organizations representing both authors and publishers have sued Google -- so apparently the "appeasement" part of the plan isn't working very well. If that's the case, why stop scanning? So, sometime next week, Google plans to get right back to scanning.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    Stoned4Life, Oct 28th, 2005 @ 6:20pm

    Go for it!!

    Scan away! If it's in the library, SCAN IT! I want every written work in existance in Google's archives.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2005 @ 9:23pm

      Re: Go for it!!

      If the books are in public domain so how can google be sued?

       

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        Mike (profile), Oct 28th, 2005 @ 9:50pm

        Re: Go for it!!

        That's just it. They're not in the public domain. They're just owned by the libraries. So, does the library have the right to scan the book that they own and make it searchable via Google? Many (including myself) believe it's reasonable. However, others disagree and say that it's a violation of copyright.

        It's likely that the courts will have to decide who's right.

         

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          mottie, Oct 29th, 2005 @ 12:56am

          Re: Go for it!!

          I agree 100% My girlfriend has to photocopy a lot of books at the university, and you aren't allowed to remove them from the library. Because of this she gets charged obsurd rates to photocopy them. If they were all available on google we could print them out at home.

           

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            N8behavior, Oct 30th, 2005 @ 3:43pm

            Re: Go for it!!

            Exactly, every college student is price gouged this way. If we can legally view and copy the material in the library why not make it cheaper on students and more in favor of EDUCATION? Keep them dumb and they want question authority as often.

             

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            Mousky, Oct 31st, 2005 @ 3:52am

            Re: Go for it!!

            You will only be able to print out books in the public domain. From the Google Print Help page:

            Why can't I read the entire book?

            It is this misconception that anyone can print out any book that is behind these counterproductive lawsuits.

             

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          Mike, Oct 30th, 2005 @ 10:06am

          Re: Go for it!!

          If the library owns the book and the library wants to scan it, OK. If they want to make it available online to others, the others must have a library card! Lighten up!

           

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          CAM, Oct 30th, 2005 @ 2:37pm

          Re: Go for it!!

          If the library can purchase a copy of a book and then allow anyone to check it out, why can't Google buy a copy and then allow anyone to view it online.

          As long as Google can protect the complete contents of the book from being copied or printed, they should be allowed to scan the books.

           

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            nonuser, Oct 30th, 2005 @ 3:20pm

            Re: Go for it!!

            A book can only be viewed by one person at a time, so there's a built-in practical safeguard. You can argue that someone paid for that copy, so lending it to someone else falls under fair use.

            A digitally encoded work can be distributed to and viewed by arbitrarily large numbers of persons simultaneously. That's why the library analogy can't be simply applied to cover the case of sharing digital works.

            I remember Borland used to distribute Turbo Pascal with a license that used the book analogy. It expressly allowed you to make copies of the software or even lend it to someone else, *provided* that there was no possibility that multiple people were using the software at the same time under a single purchase. I liked that, it was EULA that actually made sense.

             

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      Me, Oct 29th, 2005 @ 4:07pm

      Re: Go for it!!

      Amen!!

       

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    Stinky Old Fart, Oct 29th, 2005 @ 2:33am

    No Subject Given

    I think that Google ought to obtain permission from presses first. Author's and presses should have a say in how their work is distributed. Same with music companies. If they don't want their work distributed on the internet, then they can deal with the consequences on their own. If they elect to have their works distributed on the internet, then they can deal with those consequences. Anybody who publishes anything has to decide how they want their work distributed. There are pros and cons to every method, they just need to decide which pros and cons they are willing to deal with.

     

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      Brian Bartlett, Oct 29th, 2005 @ 4:43am

      Re: No Subject Given

      That's the rub, is it distribution? Despite the assertions of the author and publishing groups, copyrighted works will not be made available in their entirety as a result of a search. Only a few pages, at most, that are relevant to the search will be made available so you can determine if the search result meets your needs unless the whole work is out of copyright. Now does this meet the doctrine of "Fair Use." From my work at the university and on the networks, well before the Worldwide Web came along I might add, I would have to say yes it does meet the criteria. We would agonize over every paper, journal article, and online every post to determine what exactly met that criteria. It isn't fun but there are certain fixed rules and so far as I can determine, Google is following them.

      Actually what I think this comes down to is that the authors and publishing houses want a cut of the revenues that Google will derive from the advertisements as is usually the case with any media group to date. I believe this is very short-sighted on their part as works that are found from search are very likely to result in increased demand and sales and are almost certain to result in demand for works that have drifted out of publication.

      By the way, many journals contain advertisements as well. Should the same reverse doctrine apply to the journals when an author quotes, sometimes extensively, from a copyrighted work as part of the article that they should get a cut of that advertising revenue? No? Why?

      In other words, just as with the RIAA, especially in light of their increasingly bad relationship with Apple and consumers, and the MPAA, we are seeing yet another form of short-sighted extortion.

       

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      Aaron Friel, Oct 29th, 2005 @ 4:53am

      Re: No Subject Given

      "Author's and presses should have a say in how their work is distributed. Same with music companies."

      I disagree, primarily because I think that we are finally on the track towards free media (almost all media is now available for free, legal or not) and I think our society has shown its stuff in keeping these people payed. Look at the music industry, with huge numbers of songs pirated on a daily basis you would think that nobody would buy a disc copy anymore. See The Effect of File Sharing on Record Sales, An Empirical Analysis, and note that their argument is that only the minority of people pirate music and do not do what they normally would have done, buy or not buy the album.

      The same can be applied to print media on the computer, I find reading things on the computer in book format a pain. It simply isn't worth my time or potential eye strain to spend that much time reading material. It'll still cost money to print it out, but at what quality decrease from the original?

      Copyright is great, really, but it's time for our culture to embrace an idea better than capitalism. Freedom is what this nation was founded on, after all.

       

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        A Bismark, Oct 30th, 2005 @ 3:02am

        Re: No Subject Given

        You idiot, freedom also implies the freedom of the people who create the things on which they have rights. Without copyrights, there would be no monetary gain and hence little incentive for people to publish things on the public domain.
        Just remember that as an author, composer, or producer, you also have a right to own your living. And others don't have any claim on your produce. If they do, then people will stop bringing things on the public domain.

         

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          Mike (profile), Oct 30th, 2005 @ 11:06am

          Re: No Subject Given

          You idiot, freedom also implies the freedom of the people who create the things on which they have rights. Without copyrights, there would be no monetary gain and hence little incentive for people to publish things on the public domain.
          Just remember that as an author, composer, or producer, you also have a right to own your living. And others don't have any claim on your produce. If they do, then people will stop bringing things on the public domain.


          You idiot? Thanks for keeping the debate at a high level, rather than personal attacks.

          Anyway, the rest of your argument has its own problems, so perhaps you shouldn't be so fast to insult people.

          Plenty of material was published in the days before copyright, so that sort of wipes out the core of your argument right there?

          Second, no one has the right to "own [their] living." If I build a chair and no one buys it, by your logic, I'd have the right to demand money for it. After all, I made it and I (according to you) own the right to my "living". So, who cares if no one wanted it?

          So that brings up the other point. You only have the right to make money from what you can actually sell in the marketplace. If the marketplace is telling you they value your product only when it's free, then it suggests you need to find another business model.

          And, don't think there aren't other business models if stuff is given away, because there are. Notice that Google is now one of the most successful companies in the world after "giving away" their search tool for free.

           

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            Mousky, Oct 31st, 2005 @ 4:24am

            Re: No Subject Given

            Over the past 30 or so years, the life of copyright has been extended well past the lifetime of an author, composer or producer. Based on his argument, there should be plenty of material in the public domain. Unfortunately, very little material is being released into the public domain.

             

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    Joe Snuffy, Oct 29th, 2005 @ 7:27am

    Google's books

    I don't think I would want to read a book offf the internet. I sit at my desk all day, why would I want to stay and read? Is it cost efective to print off an entire book if you had the opportunity? Not really. As for research, I think that scanning the books would be great.

     

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    nonuser, Oct 29th, 2005 @ 7:47am

    so if Google's search engine source code leaks out

    then they'd be grateful if it's posted on the web, on the grounds that that will make Google's service even more popular, right?

     

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    oscardominguez, Oct 29th, 2005 @ 8:18am

    SCAN 'EM

    SCAN 'EM. it might be the most exposure some of these authors will ever get. RIAA tried to go after filesharing and it apparently hasn't worked out like they hoped. Google is merely giving them more exposure to their 'litterary' work, more than what they get with their book sitting on the shelf gathering dust.
    Most of us don't have time to go to a library, i know i have a hard time taking my kids there.
    If it bothers these authors so much, how come they don't go after Cliff's Notes, too? Cliff's Notes saved me a bunch of time and money when i was in school.

    GOOGLE DO US ALL A FAVOR, SCAN 'EM.

     

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    googly_eyes, Oct 29th, 2005 @ 9:36am

    somebody call the Waaaaaaaaaabulance!

    In this day and age when the power to do so much good by sharing information is hindered by sheer greed, then it is a sad day indeed.

    How much of the revenue from the sale of these books is returned to those who taught these authors what they know? How much of it goes to the communities that sponsored the schools they learned in? How much of it finds its way back to feed the education of the rising generations?

    How much of that compensation is given back to the rest of humanity?

    Now I am not naive and do not believe that Google is operating out of the goodness of their hearts, but what they are doing is trying to both open the knowledge up to more people, and make a profit while doing so.

    Apparently the same can not be said by some of the publishers. (they already made and are making their profit, and stand to make more from book sales as a result of googles project)

    It would be a great day indeed when the idea of giving back to the community supercedes the greed around today.

    To the publishers who are suing, I say somebody call the Waaaaaambulance!

    To Google, I also say - SCAN AWAY!

    /rant off

     

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    Dustin, Oct 29th, 2005 @ 4:03pm

    why should google get all of the profits?

    While I think that this is a great idea, I do think think authors and publishers have a legitimate gripe. Why in the hell should Google be allowed to commit the largest act of copyright infringment of all time, and turn a huge profit doing in doing so?
    I'm not saying this shouldn't be done, in fact I think it is something that needs to be done, But Google has no right to make money from this, not without compensating the copyright holders.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2005 @ 11:48pm

      Re: why should google get all of the profits?

      I think you are missing the point. Person find book passage on Google...which is displayed with a direct link to the book at Amazon.com. Person clicks link and buys book at Amazon. Amazon pays Google for reffering the person, Amazon gets its margin and the book publisher sells a book. Oh ya, and less then 1% of the book wholesale price to Amazon might be paid to the author.

       

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        Tony R., Oct 30th, 2005 @ 6:26am

        Re: why should google get all of the profits?

        Just curious, but how much would the author receive if the book was sold in other places, such as bookstores?

         

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          nonuser, Oct 30th, 2005 @ 7:05am

          Re: why should google get all of the profits?

          Just curious, but how much would the author receive if the book was sold in other places, such as bookstores?
          I just read that open source advocate Tom Friedman receives $4 for every time someone buys a copy of "The World is Flat".

           

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        Mousky, Oct 31st, 2005 @ 4:28am

        Re: why should google get all of the profits?

        Yet another misconception of Google Print. Google makes no money by referring to Amazon.com (or any other book retailer). Google makes money "from user clicks on the contextually targeted ads that appear on Google Print book pages".

        See Google Print Help for details about Google Print.

         

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    rev.felix, Oct 29th, 2005 @ 6:17pm

    No Subject Given

    I say to scan to their hearts content. Most people won't read an entire book off the computer, and it gives you a headache after a while, anyway. But for research purposes it's a wonderful idea.

     

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      Oliver Starr, Oct 29th, 2005 @ 9:35pm

      Re: No Subject Given

      Its easy fo be cavalier if you've never been published and plagiarised. Try spending months of your life & thousands of dollars developing copy only to have your competition rip off your material and use your name. and the name of your company as Google AdWords to compete against you unfairly. l promise that the second plagiarism punches a hole in your wallet you 'll have an entirely new point of view.
      Oliver Starr "stitch"
      http://www.mobile-weblog.com

       

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        Mike (profile), Oct 30th, 2005 @ 11:02am

        Re: No Subject Given

        Its easy fo be cavalier if you've never been published and plagiarised. Try spending months of your life & thousands of dollars developing copy only to have your competition rip off your material and use your name. and the name of your company as Google AdWords to compete against you unfairly. l promise that the second plagiarism punches a hole in your wallet you 'll have an entirely new point of view.

        Olvier, that argument doesn't hold weight either. As we've explained before, that happens to us all the time at Techdirt -- but, honestly, the effort of trying to go after these guys is pretty pointless. People aren't stupid. They recognize the real work for what it is. The copy-cats end up disappearing over time. Just think of it as free promotion of your work, and people will eventually know to go straight to the source.

         

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    Bob Oliver Bigellow, Oct 30th, 2005 @ 1:17pm

    Copy away...

    It is amazing that no matter how many times Google keeps explaining its process of scanning books, many people keep missing the finer details. The only scanned books that will be readable on the web are those books already in the public domain or books that authors have explicitly given permission. Any books still protected by copyright and whose authors want to remain protected can only be FOUND via Google Print, NOT READ. Although minor snippets may be viewable, these are amounts already protected by the "fair use" clause of copyright. So, in fact, this issue cannot even be compared to the problem of downloading songs or movies because in those cases entire songs and movies were being downloaded. In the case of Google Print, if one wants to read the book he/she would still need to go out and buy it or find it in their local library. Google Print will simply be the tool for such readers to find the relevant books being sought.

     

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    David Levine, Oct 30th, 2005 @ 1:23pm

    Copying copyrighted books

    If the copyright is still valid, then it is illegal to make copies for free public consumption.

    Otherwise, what good is a copyright? If you can make any copyrighted work available free of charge to anyone in the world?

    Can you say "Digital Rights Management"?

     

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    printer, Oct 30th, 2005 @ 4:12pm

    I print books.

    The way google is making these books accessable, is not in a way where someone would want to print out the whole book like I do. I am not going to sit there and print one page at a time, that would take forever. I think that the way they are going about this is probably the most legit way of doing it. I say scan the books. And if the publishers have anything to say about it, buy them out.

     

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    Aleks Y., Oct 30th, 2005 @ 7:11pm

    GODSPEED GOOGLE!

    I say 'Do it for the future of the internet, Google!' Because when scanning a snippet from a book becomes illegal, then Google itself can become illegal. Imagine if anything you search for on Google has to be approved by the authors, Google will be in deep trouble. So just do it, Google, just do it! Even if it means that 90% of your books you scan are out of print and all you are trying to is save our history and the greedy writers can't help themselves. We're with you Google, I'll pick up another 1,000 shares tomorrow!

     

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    Kaveman, Oct 30th, 2005 @ 7:45pm

    POOR POETS

    That fact that this will take away more revenue for literary producers with a drop in book sales is sad. I am for scanning it all but I would like to see some kind of royalty systems set up for the authors... publishing companies I don't care about but authors deserve it

     

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      zcat, Oct 31st, 2005 @ 2:07am

      Re: POOR BUGGY-WHIP MAKERS

      The interesting thing here is that almost everything is copyright from the moment it's created, even the stuff on the web. Google had no legal grounds to cache every URL they could spider but they went ahead and did it anyway.. Many subscription-only sites have gone out of their way to allow google's bots in and index their content (and at no charge to google), and most webmasters would kill for a higher ranking!

      How are books any different? I don't know.

      I don't imagine that O'Reilly or Baen are amongst the publishers that are sueing.

       

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    Pete Austin, Oct 31st, 2005 @ 1:17am

    Boycott These Publishers

    I've recently stopped buying new books to protest these lawsuits. Instead I'm buying second-hand books from charity shops - about 5 per week - and this is working working really well.

    Used books are much cheaper (10%-20% the cost of new) and the money goes to a good cause, not greedy publishers. The only negatives are that finding good books in good condition takes a few minutes longer, plus I can't get this year's manuals, but then I use the Web for leading-edge info anyway. Try it!

     

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