Focusing In On The Value: Google Books Provides An Amazing Resource

from the how-can-you-be-against-that dept

With all of the fighting over the Google Book settlement, it seems that an awful lot of people have lost sight of the key issue, which is that the tool itself, Google's Book Search, is amazing. We had mentioned this a couple of years ago. But if you step back from any of the legal issues, and just think about Google's book search as a tool, you realize what a wonderful cultural milestone it would be to make pretty much every book searchable. The more you think about it, the harder it is to take seriously anyone who is against this project. It's the equivalent of saying we should burn down all libraries because authors don't get paid every time someone checks out a book.

Luckily, even as the legal dispute continues, we're starting to see more people realize what a terrible thing it would be to kill off such a valuable resource. In that last link, law professor Peter Friedman not only discusses the Google Books project, but also Scribd, and makes a key point:
Why would you use copyright to stifle marvelous new innovations? Copyright exists to encourage, not stifle, invention.
What's scary about the discussions on the settlement, though, is that they don't seem to focus on this at all. Instead, almost all of them seem to be a weak excuse to attack Google because people don't like -- or don't like having to compete with -- Google.

Now, I've been clear since the day the settlement was announced that I thought it was a bad thing -- but not for the reasons most are stating. I thought it was bad because Google had a strong case for claiming that the project was covered by fair use. It was effectively no different than creating a fantastic card catalog -- again, something that should be encouraged. But, as Tim Lee brilliantly notes in a recent post, even if this whole lawsuit was over "fair use," what was so troubling about the settlement was that it deals with a bunch of other issues and sort of ignores the fair use issue! And yet, that was the center of the lawsuit.
In case we've forgotten, this is a copyright infringement case. The dispute between Google and the plaintiffs is not about orphan works, online book sales, or the structure of the publishing industry. It's about whether copyright's fair use doctrine allows the creation of a book search engine that displays "snippets" of in-copyright books in search results. Google says yes. Some publishers and authors said no. Absent a settlement, a judge would have been asked to rule on that question.

In a rational world, the settlement of the case would focus on that same question. Instead, we got a settlement in which the underlying infringement claims are treated as an afterthought. Instead, the focus is on the creation of an elaborate new structure for selling books online. It's as if Sony Pictures sued NBC for copyright infringement and then wound up with a "settlement" that focused mostly on Sony becoming a partner in GE's light bulb business.
And, indeed. So, why can't we bring the whole thing back into focus. Having a resource like Google's book search is an incredibly important and valuable cultural tool. It should be celebrated, not hated. But the key question is Google's legal right to create it. Any settlement should be focused on that issue, and not all of these extraneous things that are being shoved through the class action process. The settlement is bad, but Google's Book Search is an unequivocally good thing. Keep that in focus, and a lot of the sideshows melt away as meaningless.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Esahc (profile), Oct 2nd, 2009 @ 8:16pm

    It's a shame

    Since I fist logged on to the internet I've been waiting for something like Google books to appear, and when it started to appear, through sites like project Gutenberg I got excited. Then Google came into the space and I was elated. The possibility of having the whole history of humanities written word online and searchable was a sci-fi geeks dream come true.

    What's happening now makes me sad.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 2nd, 2009 @ 9:00pm

    Re: It's a shame

    Well, big corporations and the interests of rich and powerful entities are much more important than the interests of the general public. Why do you think intellectual property laws last so long? To serve the rich and the powerful at the expense of the masses.

     

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  3.  
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    adorno, Oct 2nd, 2009 @ 9:02pm

    Again, just like journalism and the dying newspaper business, bloggers and techies aren't looking at the businesses being left behind.

    Not only the copyright holders, but also publishers, libraries, used bookdealers, etc. How are they supposed to be compensated if Google has by virture of doing the scanning put them all out of business?

    Do you really want your local library to be closed or reduced? Lose your local secondhand bookshop? Have major publishers fail because a good portion of their backlist is now available free?

    Shortsighted.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 2nd, 2009 @ 9:15pm

    Re:

    No, the notion that no one would ever write a book and the world would come to an end without intellectual property is short sighted.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 2nd, 2009 @ 9:19pm

    Re:

    Hate to break it to you, but libraries are government-owned books purchased with your tax dollars that anyone can read (a good thing). If libraries can replace/supplement a large portion of public domain books with nice computers and comfortable chairs, they can increase the number of book their "customers" have access to while diverting the money they saved on buying more new books that cannot be found there or on getting monitors/lighting/etc. that would make reading on a computer or other electronic medium more pleasant.

    Your complaint is so... Shortsighted.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 2nd, 2009 @ 9:24pm

    Re: Re:

    Also, it's much easier to read from a book than it is from a monitor though with LCD monitors that complaint has been very substantially reduced. Back with CRT monitors it would KILL your eyes to read on them long. Faster refresh rates helped but even so CRT monitors emit more X - Rays than LCD monitors (hence you are told to stay away from the television. With LCD that's not so much an issue like with CRT though because LCD does not emit as much X - Rays. Of course, anything that radiates emits SOME X - Rays, even you emit SOME X - Rays but with LCD it's greatly reduced over CRT).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 2nd, 2009 @ 9:36pm

    Re:

    The only thing that's short sighted is the notion that the rich and the powerful are the only ones that know what's best for the masses and as a result the rich and the powerful get to have a disproportional influence on government and the masses get ignored. America, with intellectual property laws that benefit the rich and the powerful at the expense of everyone else, is right, and the MASSES (ie: ALL THE OTHER NATIONS THAT DISAGREE WITH INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF PEOPLE AND CULTURES WORLDWIDE) are ALL wrong, only the pro intellectual property nations are right and ONLY the rich and the powerful within those nations who use those laws to exploit the masses are right. Everyone else is wrong.

    That's short sighted.

     

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    H4CKM4N, Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 12:06am

    They WILL survive!

    Library and used book store should work with Google. A nifty little machine, the Expresso book machine, which can pump out a book from Google's library in about 5 min, can be lease by library's and shops to print rare books. Can't find it used? Can't find it new? Go to your library and get it printed! All for about $8. Then, if you're feeling kind, donate it to the library when you're done. Libraries get more books, get more business, and everyone's happy. Please feel free to criticize, this just sounds too good to be true. The story I'm referring to.

     

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    okwhen (profile), Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 2:03am

    Privacy for sale

    I guess the author of this article is over looking the fact that Google intends to track every book and page you search and read. I refuse to allow anyone access to my reading preferences simply because it is free. I guess for some selling their privacy for a few freebies is OK.

     

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    an author, Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 2:08am

    The problem with the Google Book Settlement is that it does much more than you are talking about. It gives Google the right to sell other people's books without their permission and it ties in almost every author in the world, even the millions who can't understand the settlement because it's only available in English.

    How would you feel if a court in another country working in another language you don't understand gave Google the right to sell or lease your car unless you registered your personal information with them and told them not to? I suspect the fact that Google might eventually give you some money for it wouldn't remove your sense of injustice.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 5:01am

    Re:

    Stop with your scare mongering.

    For people that don't speak English their books aren't likely to be in English and so probably won't even appear on Google's search engine unless the copyright holder grants Google permission.

    It's very likely that the settlement will or has already been translated to other languages.

    For copyright books

    "we show you info about the book and, generally, a few snippets of text showing your search term in context."

    http://books.google.com/googlebooks/agreement/#1

    See, they don't break copyright laws, they do not offer the book online. Just enough to identify the book.

    So please, before you start making things up to spread unsubstantiated fear please understand the issues. We shouldn't allow laws as stupid as intellectual property laws that are designed for the rich and the powerful to get in the way of a perfectly good innovation. You know that your comments have nothing to do with small individual book authors, you're afraid for the rich and the powerful. They have to compete with anyone who can have their book distributed for free and don't need rich and powerful entities to publish and own their books anymore.

     

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    adorno, Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 6:07am

    This also affects my personal finances in that I have been collecting books for over 20 years. I now have 8,000 volumes in my home library, most of them out-of-print and scarce or rare, and many of them for which I paid hundreds of dollars, a few even over a thousand.

    I had no intention of selling them in my lifetime, but are my heirs now going to be stuck with worthless assets? Is it a total loss?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 6:51am

    Re:

    I'm sure google would love to scan some of those books and you can contribute to the world. I mean, if they're scarce or rare or non existent then that's just more evidence that we need an online system to preserve our history. Why make something artificially scarce or perhaps even disappear when there is no need to, imagine all the books that disappear in history if many of the books you have are scarce or rare and can't be acquired.

     

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  14.  
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    Bad Analogy Guy, Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 6:55am

    Re: bad analogy

    Yipee, another bad analogy.
    And for added bonus, it involves an automobile.

     

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  15.  
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    ..., Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 7:02am

    Re:

    I fail to see how Google books would reduce the value of your scarce / rare books. Do you have any data to support your paranoia?

    For your reading pleasure, here is another car analogy.
    If you had an old limited edition vehicle in good shape and there were very few like it left, would you dislike the fact that some one was making kit cars or replicas? Would this reduce the value of your investment?

     

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  16.  
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    Hamish MacEwan, Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 8:44am

    "Why Public Libraries are just a Form of Theft"

    "It's the equivalent of saying we should burn down all libraries because authors don't get paid every time someone checks out a book."

    Yes, that is what it is like, not that that means it doesn't get said:

    http://brianedwardsmedia.co.nz/2009/09/why-public-libraries-are-just-a-form-of-theft/

    Ho wever, I note the page can no longer be found, media management?

     

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  17.  
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    George Riddick, Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 9:04am

    Google Book Settlement article

    Good morning, Michael.

    I am going to have to remember this date - October 3, 2009.

    For once, I totally agree with you (and believe me, that is rare). We generally come down on the complete opposite side of IP debates, but I do enjoy reading your posts to keep myself aware of all points of view.

    Greed killed this deal, Michael. It's that pure and simple. For those of you who think Google sits out there in Mountain View giving each other back rubs for the "common good of mankind", I wonder how much evidence it will take to convince you of "the truth ... and nothing but the truth"?

    "Do evil, but don't get caught!"

    Google is one of the largest violators of copyright in the world (and I am being VERY kind here, by the way). And it looks like they are making a ton of cash because of it, not simply improving the daily lives of all inhabitants of the planet, as they claim.

    Just like what is being done in this proposed "book settlement", Google, and others, are trying to turn 'Orphan Works' legislation (on its own, an admirable mission) into the same kind of "freak sideshow" at the state fair of yesteryear. It's hard to find much wording at all regarding actual 'orphaned works' in the latest bill still circulating around in Washington.

    If the "Google Book Settlement" had of stayed focused on compensating legitimate copyright holders (authors, publishers, and artists) and bringing public domain works to new readers worldwide, we would not be experiencing this ridiculous circus of events (and wasted time, money, and judicial resources).

    Finally, the government (DOJ, in particular), the U.S. Copyright Office (I am sure your read Marybeth Peters fine analysis of this "deal" last week), Congress, and other U.S.-based corporations, large and small, are expressing what they think about Google's attempts to underhandedly create yet another monopoly of their own within our precious copyight industries. Very interesting, indeed, since Google creates very little copyightable material of their own.

    I cannot help but laugh when I see companies like Microsoft, Yahoo, Amazon, and Apple opposing these manuevers by Google. Seems to me they have been doing the exact same thing lately, only the spotlights have not been turned their way (at least not yet).

    The Google Book Settlement needs to take a deep breath, start all over again at ground zero, and keep the judges focused on legal issues and the legislators focused on setting and clarifying our intellectual property laws.

    Whether or not any single player in this fiasco originally had good intentions is far too complex of an issue for any of us "consumers" to figure out. But we do know when someone is using greed and misrepresentation of the truth to try an pull a fast one over our heads.

    This "deal" was killed by greed. Now, let's get back to figuring out how to use technology legally to bring valuable intellectual property into view for those who have not had the opportunity to enjoy it thus far.

    Make sense?

    Who says we never agree?

    George Riddick
    Chairman/CEO
    Imageline, Inc.

    griddick@imageline2.com

     

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  18.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 9:46am

    Re:

    I don't see how Google puts any of those places out of business. Generally I think it will drive business to all of those sections of the industry, and those that embrace it as a tool will see many of their costs fall dramatically.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 10:53am

    Re: Google Book Settlement article

    "Very interesting, indeed, since Google creates very little copyightable material of their own."

    Google wrote Google chrome, they contributed to Mozilla firefox, and they made an excellent search engine, they improved google maps, etc... The only difference is they do not cry about infringement.

    "Now, let's get back to figuring out how to use technology legally to bring valuable intellectual property into view for those who have not had the opportunity to enjoy it thus far."

    You mean, "lets see if we can use the technology to exploit the public into encouraging them to buy overpriced books where the copyright lasts almost forever" kinda how you use mainstream media to overcharge the public and exploit them and provide them with almost nothing but commercials.

    "Google is one of the largest violators of copyright in the world (and I am being VERY kind here, by the way)."

    No, the google books project does not. For instance, as I have pointed out and you willfully ignore, for copyright material,

    "we show you info about the book and, generally, a few snippets of text showing your search term in context."

    http://books.google.com/googlebooks/agreement/#1

    They do not violate copyright law. What you want is for this technology not to exist because it COMPETES with existing copyright material. Anyone can write a book and release it under a free license on the Internet and anyone else can read it hence alleviating the monopoly that intellectual property causes. But you want to break a perfectly good technology not because of infringement (google goes out of its way not to infringe) but because you don't like competition. You don't like for the general public to be able to obtain a half decent product for what they buy, you want to exploit every last penny out of the general public and provide them with poor quality products at an expensive price.

    "If the "Google Book Settlement" had of stayed focused on compensating legitimate copyright holders (authors, publishers, and artists) and bringing public domain works to new readers worldwide, we would not be experiencing this ridiculous circus of events (and wasted time, money, and judicial resources)."

    I'm sure if a book author wants he can delist his books from google's index and, as has been shown before on Techdirt, many books were delisted only to eventually have them listed by libraries that realized they needed their books listed. GOOGLE DOESN'T OWE ANYONE A LISTING and if you get a listing Google doesn't owe you money. You can't force someone to use your product (ie: list your book) and pay you, that's extortion. If you don't want to be listed, get de - listed, they'll be more than glad to de - list you.

    "Finally, the government (DOJ, in particular), the U.S. Copyright Office (I am sure your read Marybeth Peters fine analysis of this "deal" last week), Congress, and other U.S.-based corporations, large and small, are expressing what they think about Google's attempts to underhandedly create yet another monopoly of their own within our precious copyight industries."

    Mostly large corporations because they can't compete in a free market and rely on government protectionism to exist. That's no reason to hinder a perfectly good innovation.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 11:09am

    Re: Google Book Settlement article

    and besides, many, if not MOST, of the books on google books are in the public domain, but of course you won't let facts get in the way of your worldview. But if a copyright holder doesn't want his/her books listed (though listing them only shows small snippets in the case of copyright books) I'm sure google will be more than glad to remove them from the index.

    The problem is you want it both ways, you want google to list copyright books and to pay you, which of course is extortion. You want to extort money out of google by forcing them to use your service (ie: list your book) because it brings you free advertisement and then forcing them to pay. That's not right and the world really shouldn't work that way just because rich and powerful people who benefit from broken laws think it should.

    Also, I hope Google lists entire books (not just snippets) that people release under a creative common license or some other similar license. That would be nice too.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 11:18am

    Re: Re: Google Book Settlement article

    and here is an example of that

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090819/0219255925.shtml

    Google books offers a great service to books, it offers great advertisement. Authors and publishers are better off with it than without and they WANT to be listed. However, they want it both ways, they want to force google to pay them and to list them at the same time, which is extortion. In the above case, Google didn't list any books until permitted. Google doesn't actively do anything wrong and they try very hard not to. It's that rich and powerful corporations who can't compete in the free market want to extort money out of google for no good reason.

    It's like with the newspapers, they are free to get de - listed from google's search engine and no one would miss them. But they want it both ways, they want to force google to list them and then to force google and/or others to pay them. Again, that's extortion and it's exactly what these rich and powerful corporations, who must now compete with Joe Blow who can now write a book and release it under a creative commons license, want to do. They want to extort unearned money out of Google or they want to shut Google down so they won't compete with their monopoly.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 11:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Google Book Settlement article

    also, why do you think copyright lasts so long after a book is out of print? To help the author? NO. It's not about the author, it's about preventing older books from competing with newer books by making sure that books that go out of print are lost in history by the time the copyright expires so they won't compete with newer copyright books and hence publishers and rich and powerful corporations can maintain their government sanctioned monopoly rents.

     

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  23.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 11:23am

    Re:

    Do you honestly not see how a book is different from your car? If you really are "an author", your work must not be very insightful.

     

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  24.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 11:27am

    Re:

    If anything, Google Books will make it more likely that some avid book-hunter will come looking for your original copies of these rare, obscure books.

    Besides, I don't shed any tears for the fact that the knowledge will lose its exclusivity. Enjoy your antique books, because I am sure they are beautiful and I know they would bring me great pleasure as physical items - but the ideas in those books aren't yours, and they shouldn't be exclusive to those with the means to collect 8,000 rare books and store them in a library.

     

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  25.  
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    Sonya, Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 12:58pm

    How Could This Be Wrong?

    I just found a long lost childhood book that I read in my elementary school's library. I've looked for this off and on for years but no luck until I used Google Books. Someone on ebay has it for sale and I can't wait to buy it.

    The book is from 1965 and long out of print. I would gladly buy it in the library if they offered speed printing. A missed opportunity indeed!

     

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  26.  
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    ..., Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 1:05pm

    Re: "Why Public Libraries are just a Form of Theft"

    Why should the author, publisher, etc get paid each and every time someone opens the book they wrote or published? Please provide rational reasons.

    If I purchase your book, then I own it and can read it as many times as I like - no additional charge and I do not need your permission. I can let friends and family read it too. I could even let my neighbor read it.

    What I can not do is make a copy. That would be copyright infringement which is presently still a civil matter although there are those who are not being very civil about it.

    So, how is this any different than a public library? If not for the public libraries the books of many authors would not sell.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 1:28pm

    I'm sorry, but I don't see how this is much different than allowing google to do a site called "google music" where they put downloadable songs for free, along with the sheet music (because we all would want to be able to play the song), along with the music video. While we are at it, we should also make kfc, coke, and all of our favorite restaurants give google the recipes that we all love so we can make the food ourselves. I also think "google movies" would be great. You could see a movie the same day it comes out in theaters. What right do those movie people have keeping their movies hidden from view without us paying for it?

    How do we not see that google is stealing? They are making a profit from sharing ideas that others spent years articulating. Do we think that authors will continue to waste time writing books if they can't make money doing it? How much innovation will google prevent rather than promote by giving away this valuable information for free.

    And for those of you suggesting that google shares everything, google recently sent a cease and desist order to a programmer named Cyanogen for distributing their propietary code. It seems that google is fine with sharing everyone else's information, just not theirs.

     

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  28.  
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    Richard (profile), Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 2:14pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    But LCD displays suffer from inherent post-aliasing problems causing eyestrain.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 2:17pm

    "The more you think about it, the harder it is to take seriously anyone who is against this project. It's the equivalent of saying we should burn down all libraries because authors don't get paid every time someone checks out a book."

    The premise of this statement fails to account for scale. Libraries have very few copies of books. The damage they do to an author or the publisher is minimal. For example, I recently went to the library to find a book, and saw that I was in line behind 6 others waiting to check out the same book. So I went out and bought it.

    I'm sure publishers and authors would be fine if google only showed a couple versions of the book, and made everyone wait until they were "returned" or "resubmitted" before they could get the book.

    Since that is not the case, and google clearly has an entirely different scale, google books is in no way like a library. So saying that stopping google books is "the equivalent of saying we should burn down all libraries because authors don't get paid every time someone checks out a book" is ridiculous.

     

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  30.  
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    Richard (profile), Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 2:21pm

    Re:

    Do you really want [to] Have major publishers fail because a good portion of their backlist is now available free?

    This back catalog thing is a serious distortion of the free market - even if you want to stick to a purely "professional" distribution model backed by copyright.

    It gives incumbent businesses a huge unfair advantage over new start ups. Why should a new publisher of record label have to compete with established players that can subsidise their current failures with a reliable income from the back catalog.

    Of course it can't be necessary - otherwise there would be no new start up publishers or labels would there?

     

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  31.  
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    Richard (profile), Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 2:35pm

    Re:

    "How would you feel if a court in another country working in another language you don't understand gave Google the right to sell or lease your car unless you registered your personal information with them and told them not to? I suspect the fact that Google might eventually give you some money for it wouldn't remove your sense of injustice."

    Yeah that free marketing is a real pain. How dare they promote my product and then send me extra money for doing nothing - its SO unfair.

    I was under the impression that authors actually wanted people to read their books. I also thought that there was a simple remedy if they really didn't want people to read - just don't publish!

     

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  32.  
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    Scott, Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 2:51pm

    Re: Re:

    "I was under the impression that authors actually wanted people to read their books. I also thought that there was a simple remedy if they really didn't want people to read - just don't publish!"

    Authors want people to buy their book, and then read it. There is a big difference. One involves being paid for work and one does not.

    I have another great analogy (I posted some earlier), I think that google should be allowed to put the actual content from other websites on their site. It would be great. You would never have to leave google's site. Let's take techdirt.com and more specifically, this article for example. I wish google just had the entire article along with all the comments right there on their site. That way I would never have to leave the comfort of google. Too bad for techdirt.com because only google would make money. I wouldn't have to be subject to the ads I'm viewing here, and thus, techdirt.com would not make any money, just like the authors and publishers from whom google is stealing. I'm guessing if that were the case, techdirt.com would complain to google about stealing their content.

     

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    herodotus (profile), Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 3:04pm

    "I'm sorry, but I don't see how this is much different than allowing google to do a site called "google music" where they put downloadable songs for free, along with the sheet music (because we all would want to be able to play the song), along with the music video."

    This has nothing to do with reality.

    Here is an example of what Google books does with a popular copyrighted book that the publisher doesn't want to share in any way. Notice that it is just a description. No preview, no extracts, no snippets, nothing. Just the publishing information and some reviews.

    "The premise of this statement fails to account for scale. Libraries have very few copies of books. The damage they do to an author or the publisher is minimal. For example, I recently went to the library to find a book, and saw that I was in line behind 6 others waiting to check out the same book. So I went out and bought it."

    1: See above

    2: Even when a book has a limited preview, it isn't enough to replace the book. It's missing something like 1 out of every 4 pages.

    3. What if the book is in the public domain, and your library doesn't have it? What if you can't even buy it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Bad Analogy Guy, Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 3:05pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    That is a horrible analogy.

    ProTip -> always include an automobile in your analogy

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 3:07pm

    Re:

    These last two comments seem to have fundamentally misunderstood what Google is doing.

    They are not, repeat not distributing complete copies of in-copyright books.

    That's right NO free distributions of copyright books.

    Got that?

    OK lets move on to what they ARE doing.

    They are scanning complete books (that they legally own) so that they are searchable . The search would return a short snippet of text (well within fair use/fair dealing limits).

    The authors publishers are complaining because they believe that what Google does IN PRIVATE to set up the searchability is itself a violation of copyright.

    There is no rational business reason for this complaint. It is simply paranoid control freakery that is all.

    Google books does offer a fuller preview (even a complete preview) of some books - but this is always individually negotiated with the copyright holder - maybe that was what was confusing you?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 3:13pm

    Re:

    No preview, no extracts, no snippets, nothing. Just the publishing information and some reviews.

    That is what they are limited to at present (no agreement with the authors) but there original intent was to allow search and to return a fair use snippet. This is currently stalled by the authors' complaint.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 3:18pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    They do, it's called Google Cache and most people don't mind. The sites that do opt out.

    You are COMPLETELY misrepresenting what Google is doing, and given how many times it's been explained it is logical for me to conclude you are purposely doing so.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 3:25pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I have another great analogy (I posted some earlier), I think that google should be allowed to put the actual content from other websites on their site.

    They do already. Did you not notice the "cached" link on every google search?. - of course techdirt's ads come too so the analogy doesn't work the way you think.

    As far as the rest of your comment is concerned you are inaccurate about :

    a) What Google does at present.

    No previews or search except by author/publisher consent. (Just like Amazon.)

    b) What Google wanted to do originally.

    Provide a searching ability with the capability to display a short snippet.

    Neither of these comes anywhere near damaging the commercial interests of authors or publishers. It just irritated their control paranoia.

    (It might also have scared some authors that their own plagiarism or infringement of others copyrights could be revealed.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 3:26pm

    Re:

    Also, CRT monitors were replaced with LCD monitors, horses got replaced with cars. We shouldn't stop the progress of technology just because legacy business models will suffer. They either have to adapt or die, but the free market should be free to operate in its own best interest and if an advancement is useful to the free market the free market will naturally choose it over a legacy technology. We don't need the government to keep us in the stone age just because old businesses don't want advancement.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 3:30pm

    Re:

    Again, you are misrepresenting the issue. They are ONLY offering books that are in the public domain. As far as non public domain books they only offer small snippets.

    If I want to write a book and give it away for free and allow Google to index it and give it to others I have that right. What you want is you want for me not to be able to write a book, give it away for free, and compete with your monopoly control over book distribution.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 3:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Just because you may not understand an analogy entirely, or completely agree with the idea that an analogy presents does not make it bad, wrong, illogical, or horrible.

    The more educated I get the more I realize that people cower behind phrases like, "it's a horrible analogy", or "it's not logically sound" to cover up the fact that they just don't agree with the information presented, and have no way of clearly presenting their rebuttal. So instead of articulating their position, they simply attempt to fundamentally undermine the oppositions point of view.

    An analogy is not an exact description of the phenomena, but rather, it's similar or equivalent in some respects though otherwise dissimilar.

    Kind of like how an automobile is analogous to a motorcycle. They are vastly different, yet both are used for travel, both involve an operator, both have wheels, both are used to draw analogies frequently, etc.

    The analogy presented wasn't horrible. More than likely you missed the applicable comparisons between the analogy given and the google book phenomenon.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 3:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The problem is that, despite how much we explain to you what google is, you keep misrepresenting what they are doing. If you don't have an understanding of what they are doing then you are in no position to make a valid analogy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 3:37pm

    Re:

    This also affects my personal finances in that I have been collecting books for over 20 years. I now have 8,000 volumes in my home library, most of them out-of-print and scarce or rare, and many of them for which I paid hundreds of dollars, a few even over a thousand.

    Like the guys who dealt in diamonds just before the big mine in S Africa was discovered.

    They were wealthy enough to buy the mine and stop it producing too much. Fortunately the copyright industry hasn't the resources to buy Google.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 3:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    and to explain it to you again, Google is only putting public domain books on their site or they're only putting books with the copyright holders permission. As far as snippets, they scan the entire books WITH the copyright holders permission (hence the settlement) and those are books they OWN. They are not putting anything on the site without the copyright holders permission. UNDERSTAND THIS FIRST before you start arguing.

    but YOUR problem is that you don't want Joe Blow to write a book and compete with your monopoly by allowing google to freely distribute it.

    You want google to take your book, offer snippets of it, and force them to pay you. Google doesn't have to put searchable snippets of your book online and you don't have to allow them to. but what you can't do is force them to put your book online and then force them to pay you, which is exactly what you want to do. You want to extort google out of money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 3:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I understand what they are doing. Just this morning I happened upon google books and ended up using the snippets and getting all the necessary information I needed. Without google books, I would have paid $65 to buy the book.

    I love free as much as the next guy, but google just contributed to a $65 loss for the author/publisher/retailer from whom I would have purchased that book. I may be the exception, not the rule, but I wonder how many other people have done what I did?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I stand corrected.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 3:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But it's being put up there with the authors/publishers permission. All the publisher has to do is refuse to have their book put on google's search and Google will be more than glad to remove it. But the settlement was an agreement between the publishers of certain books and Google to allow google to post them. If they don't like the agreement they didn't have to agree.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 4:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    and honestly I don't think google should have gave anyone any money in any settlement. Google should have just NOT indexed the copyright books in their search engine not giving the publishers the publicity and let the publishers suffer. If the publishers want to start their own search engine they are free to.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    icon
    zcat (profile), Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 5:12pm

    Re: "Why Public Libraries are just a Form of Theft"

    you didn't notice that 'don't get paid' is a blue link. Guess where it goes? Same story..

    BTW It's worth noting that Brian Edwards is probably better known for newscasting. You could reduce the term of copyright or eliminate it entirely and it really wouldn't change the news business at all.. there's not much of a market for copies of yesterday's news.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Oct 3rd, 2009 @ 5:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I understand what they are doing. Just this morning I happened upon google books and ended up using the snippets and getting all the necessary information I needed. Without google books, I would have paid $65 to buy the book.

    I love free as much as the next guy, but google just contributed to a $65 loss for the author/publisher/retailer from whom I would have purchased that book. I may be the exception, not the rule, but I wonder how many other people have done what I did?


    You think it was fair to have to spend $65 just to get such a small amount of information. Sounds like extortion to me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    icon
    Laughingdragon (profile), Oct 4th, 2009 @ 4:43am

    Google and the book commons

    I like Google's book search. I love being able to read old books, from the best libraries in the U.S. It is a wonderful thing. I also use it once in a while to research things and sometimes find something useful in a modern, copyrighted book. The best thing about the modern books is being able to review them in a much better way than on Amazon. I can really see whether or not the book is worth buying. And since any book I'm interested in is technical and expensive, it's given me an incentive to buy some of them.
    What I worry about in the latest "agreement" between Google and the active publishing companies is that between them, they propose to take over our (the people of the United States) commons. The estate of orphan books belongs to all of us, it is our commonly held property. If a book no longer has a defender of it's copyrights, it becomes our book. It is not the property of Google or of any other publishing company (or all of the companies). Copyright is a matter of defence of rights. One can defend one's right to exclusively control publication of a work if one has the copyright. The agreement I see being proposed is basically a kind of gangsterism. In effect, what Google and the publishing consortiums are saying is, "We will take over all the orphan books and make them ours by copyright. And then we will use our might to attack anyone else who attempts to use or publish them."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Yeah right, Oct 4th, 2009 @ 6:25am

    @ Herodotus:

    "Here is an example of what Google books does with a popular copyrighted book that the publisher doesn't want to share in any way. Notice that it is just a description. No preview, no extracts, no snippets, nothing. Just the publishing information and some reviews."

    I see what you mean. However, there is also this link:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=Og2xAAAAIAAJ

    Same book, same year of publication, and lo and behold: snippet view! So which is it, is Google respecting the publisher's wish or not?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Oct 4th, 2009 @ 8:04am

    No Wrong

    It's not the same edition.

    In any case it will have been negotiated with the publisher.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2009 @ 9:09am

    Re: No Wrong

    Exactly, if the publisher owns the copyright it's because the author sold it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2009 @ 9:11am

    Re: Google and the book commons

    The books that google does put on its search engine that are public domain do not belogn to anyone. They don't belong to google or the publishers or anyone, they belong to the public. The negotiations were regarding copyrighted books.

    Also, I think that once a book goes out of print it should no longer be copyright. Period.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2009 @ 9:27am

    Also found this interesting.

    http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/ci_13479398

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2009 @ 11:20am

    erm... in the U.K everytime a book is borrowed from the library the author gets a small fee. Surely that happens everywhere inthe world, right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    Luci, Oct 4th, 2009 @ 1:54pm

    Re: Privacy for sale

    Wah wah. Orbital mind control lasers! Truth serums! Thought police! Give me a fucking break. You use the internet. Someone is tracking you, anyways. Because they want to sell you better porn. Get over yourself.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    identicon
    Luci, Oct 4th, 2009 @ 2:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Let me explain why this is a horrible analogy:

    Caching. Google already copies content into cache, so no, you do not have to visit the original site to view the content. There's your first loss.

    Secondly, TechDirt doesn't make enough in advertising to keep the site open. You've fallen into that trap, as well. Ask Mike how far the adverts actually go. Then ask him if he minds if people copy the content. Your own comments make it apparent that you spend little to no time here, or you would understand that.

    Finally, Google is not offering the books up to be read. For some reason people keep suggesting this is the case, but it is not. Instead, they are offering snippets that will let someone identify the book in question. Now, if I need to find a book, and I can remember a quote from that book, I can search Google for the title and author so that I can go to the library to borrow it, or, hell, go /buy/ a copy (assuming it's in print, and if it isn't the author isn't losing any sales).

    Now go ahead and tell me how wrong I am. I can see it simmering back there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2009 @ 2:46pm

    Re: Re: Privacy for sale

    Hey, I need to put on my tin foil hat.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2009 @ 2:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Caching. Google already copies content into cache, so no, you do not have to visit the original site to view the content. There's your first loss."

    and guess what? The world didn't come to an end. Google already does what this person says would be a disaster and has been doing it for a while and the world didn't come to an end. Isn't it amazing?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2009 @ 3:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Here is a nice site explaining Anti Aliasing

    http://alienryderflex.com/sub_pixel/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 4th, 2009 @ 5:51pm

    Re:

    Again, just like journalism and the dying newspaper business, bloggers and techies aren't looking at the businesses being left behind.

    I assume that you wanted telcos to always manually connected calls. Once they did autodial, think about all those operators "left behind."

    Progress changes the nature of some jobs, but expands the opportunity for everyone.

    The very fact that you get to type on a computer means that a "secretary" from the old days, or a typewriter maker is now out of business. Is that bad? I don't think so.


    Shortsighted.


    Dunno. I'd argue that holding back progress and economic growth just because you want a particular job description saved is much more shortsighted.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 4th, 2009 @ 5:53pm

    Re:

    The problem with the Google Book Settlement is that it does much more than you are talking about. It gives Google the right to sell other people's books without their permission and it ties in almost every author in the world, even the millions who can't understand the settlement because it's only available in English.

    Did you read my post? I pointed out that it was problematic because it brought in all sorts of other things -- such as the point you raised above -- that have nothing to do with the copyright/fair use question.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 4th, 2009 @ 5:59pm

    Re: Google Book Settlement article

    For once, I totally agree with you (and believe me, that is rare). We generally come down on the complete opposite side of IP debates, but I do enjoy reading your posts to keep myself aware of all points of view.

    You say that... except everything you go on to say I disagree with...

    Google is one of the largest violators of copyright in the world (and I am being VERY kind here, by the way). And it looks like they are making a ton of cash because of it, not simply improving the daily lives of all inhabitants of the planet, as they claim.

    You are out of your mind -- if I may speak frankly -- if you think that Google is a large copyright violator. And, no, they are not making cash due to copyright violations, but because they HELP people FIND stuff. It's called providing a valuable service, that they've figured out how to monetize.

    If the "Google Book Settlement" had of stayed focused on compensating legitimate copyright holders (authors, publishers, and artists) and bringing public domain works to new readers worldwide, we would not be experiencing this ridiculous circus of events (and wasted time, money, and judicial resources).

    Again, my argument was that Google didn't need to compensate anyone for what it was doing, because I don't see how it violated copyright law.


    Who says we never agree?


    Heh. Pretty sure that's still the case. Thanks for the comment though!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 4th, 2009 @ 6:03pm

    Re:

    I'm sorry, but I don't see how this is much different than allowing google to do a site called "google music" where they put downloadable songs for free, along with the sheet music (because we all would want to be able to play the song), along with the music video.

    That's only because you appear to be wholly unfamiliar with what Google's book search is. It does not allow people to download or read the whole book. It was just a searchable index. It only displayed snippets of the book.

    While we are at it, we should also make kfc, coke, and all of our favorite restaurants give google the recipes that we all love so we can make the food ourselves.

    You know there are some restaurants that do this... and they still do quite well, because most people don't want to cook themselves, and are more than willing to go out to eat for the experience and the lack of hassle.

    How do we not see that google is stealing?

    Because they're not. Not that hard.

    hey are making a profit from sharing ideas that others spent years articulating.

    Not at all. They are helping more people find relevant books. Many publishers found that sales of books included in Google Books *went up*.

    Do we think that authors will continue to waste time writing books if they can't make money doing it?

    Moronic fallacy alert: who said that authors can't make money if their books are easier to find?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    icon
    Overcast (profile), Oct 4th, 2009 @ 7:20pm

    See - my eye's aren't that hot anymore.

    I use google books... but if there's something I like - I buy it, it's just easier on my eyes, I don't have to worry about the laptop battery reading in bed or in the car while my wife shops or goes to the doc's. Kindle, etc - it too restrictive. A book is just EASY, period. NO power needed, other than a light source.

    And as age has taken it's toll on my eyes, it has also changed my perception of music and quality. I'm not happy with broken up, skippy, low bit rate MP3's. Nor am I up to digging through 5 different collections of music to find one that some competent person actually ripped decently.

    Rather than have to Torrent MP3s if I want a higher bitrate or want to move it to a new format, I find buying CD's if optimal when combined with the ability to digitize music myself.

    If it wasn't for those TWO THINGS mixed, I would not buy CD's anymore. I'd skip it.

    Reason is this - the technology exists to digitize music. In tandem with owning 'physical media', it makes for a long-term method of keeping my tunes.

    Physically - not only does the CD last practically forever since I *might* use it once a decade - it offers me the flexibility of digital audio. Plus, you know - I just like owning the CD, just like I do DVD's.

    Take one of the two out of that equation - and I'll pass. If I can't rip to digital files - I won't buy it, if I can't buy the media, I don't want it. Sorry, I just don't like paying for MP3's and not getting anything to 'back it up'. I'd rather buy and rip.

    To date: I've bought at least 15 CD's that I would not have otherwise bought if I had not heard the songs on the web first - be in on YouTube or another site. Some bands I just had never heard of until I heard them on the web. Therefore; I would have never known I liked them.

    Realistically; Pandora's box is open on Media - Audio and Video - it can't be closed, so one must adapt or fade away. Kinda like 'survival of the fittest' I guess you could say.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2009 @ 8:53pm

    Re:

    Personally owning a bunch of CD's and books takes WAY too much room. The problem is that reading a lot hurts the eyes on a monitor, even an LCD one. Perhaps I should tinker with the fonts or something, not sure if a higher resolution would help. As far as owning CD's and DVD's is concerned, I just want to be able to own them all on some hard drive. CD's should be obsolete, they should all be DVD's or 50 GB blue rays where I can put a lot more higher quality music on far fewer disks. Hard drives should replace blue rays and even then DVD quality is fine for me. We need to move away from having stack sand stacks of books and CD's taking away TONS AND TONS of space when we can reduce libraries of space on a single hard drive that takes very little space.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2009 @ 9:08pm

    Re:

    For your monitor, if it's LCD, try right clicking on your desktop, click on properties, appearance, effects, make sure that use the following method to smooth edges on screen is checked, then select cleartype below it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2009 @ 1:02am

    Re: Re:

    To me the Mac font rendering is superior to PC by a order of magnitude... like not even close.

    To even suggest a process to turn on "ClearType" is silly in multiple ways. First of all, ClearType looks like absolute garbage. The Mac's font rendering was actually one of the things that made me decide to stop using Windows at home, and switch to the world of Jobs.

    I am really quite stunned that something so trashy can be fixed in a way that seems so absolute and unequivocal as to assume a feature is off, and then proceed to educate how to turn on a feature by clicking on a properties tab.

    Wow.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    identicon
    JP_Fife, Oct 5th, 2009 @ 2:53am

    Re: Re:

    No 35, "They are scanning complete books (that they legally own) so that they are searchable ."

    I must have missed it when Google went out and bought millions of books just so they could scan them in.

    The books are legally owned by Libraries. And it doesn't matter why they are scanning them, they are scanning them, thereby creating a copy. This whole issue has been turned around to avoid the fact that Google are copying with impunity.

    The whole 'Google Provides An Amazing Resource' is a side issue too. If someone gets robbed and their insurance provides new for old then the person who has been robbed has benefited by receiving new goods. It doesn't justify the robbery. Google providing an 'Amazing Resource' doesn't justify their wholesale copying.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    icon
    Richard (profile), Oct 5th, 2009 @ 2:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:anti-aliasing

    The point is that all this gives is the 3 sub-pixel filter (with a colour bias) in one dimension.

    Properly there should be a reconstruction filter ideally with negative sidelobes to increase frequency respone -but not too much otherwise you will get ringing.

    CRT monitors have a natural Gaussian filter, which - if correctly adjusted - is superior to anything you can do with an LCD. For the classic paper on reconstruction filters see

    http://www.cs.utexas.edu/~fussell/courses/cs384g/lectures/mitchell/Mitchell.pdf

    (pdf)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73.  
    identicon
    1DandyTroll, Oct 5th, 2009 @ 4:36am

    Re:

    Lets see. Google books.

    Your online tool for searching through a zillion books in minutes, every time you happen upon those pesky references, or when you need quote the whole quote and nothing but.

    You get the option to buy the book, or lend it from a library near you.

    And you can read books that are in the public domain, or otherwise free to read free of charge.

    The copyright holders get paid for you to be able to search through their copyrighted works. Then they get paid if you opt to buy or lend the book as per usual.

    The only ones risking of going out of business is bad journalism, bad research, and other fraudulent writings.


    For libraries this book tool is a tremendous boon. It will add to the service, with zero cost.

    And used book dealers pay crap all to copyright holders, so they don't count.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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