Google Asking For Help In Making Sure Public Domain Books Are Recognized As Public Domain

from the good-to-see dept

Recently, we wrote about how some book publishers appeared to be using public domain books from Google to make their own books (which is mostly fine), but then telling Google that its books were copyrighted, causing the full versions to disappear from Google -- which is not cool at all. Perhaps in response to this, apparently Google is now asking people in their forums to identify books within Google Books that are in the public domain, so that Google can investigate and see if they should be opened up as public domain books (found via Glyn Moody). I don't know if this is a direct response to those earlier complaints, but it's always nice to see a company not just respect the public domain, but do its best to make sure what belongs there is properly included.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2010 @ 8:17pm

    Google should also give us the names of those fraudulently claiming copyright on public domain works. Sure, our broken legal system probably won't do anything to them, but at least the court of public opinion can know who they are.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2010 @ 8:19pm

    Re:

    court of public opinion is so much more effective, I sure hope they release the name

     

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  3.  
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    Laurel L. Russwurm (profile), Sep 22nd, 2010 @ 9:55pm

    good news

    Just think how much easier copyright would be if it only ran 5 years.

     

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  4.  
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    Ric, Sep 22nd, 2010 @ 10:10pm

    Similar things are happening with songs, too

    A couple days ago I was looking through the blues section at the Audio Archive ( http://www.archive.org/details/audio ) at the Internet Archive, and noticed that one musician had placed a note that three different radio shows had played a song of his that he had placed in the public domain and then claimed copyrights on his song and he was threatening to leave the notice in the description until Archive Org started sticking up for the public domain rights in their collections.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2010 @ 12:46am

    so IP Maximists(sp) think that file sharing is theft even though file sharers only take a copy of the software/movie/book/music they share, but they have no problem in taking work off the public domain and claiming it there own?

    id love to see there logic behind it.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2010 @ 4:02am

    I have just such a case.

    http://mikecanex.wordpress.com/2010/09/05/public-domain-parasites-2/

    Although the issue apparently was an error on the Google's part.

    But just to be sure I keep an eye on that publisher.

     

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  7.  
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    mcvooty (profile), Sep 23rd, 2010 @ 5:14am

    Don't rush to judgment

    More information is needed before objecting to what publishers may or may not be doing. If I take "Hamlet" and add annotations, the result is a new work under the copyright law and I can claim copyright in it...no one can copy my book, at least not with the annotations. That doesn't interfere with everyone's continued right to copy Hamlet, per se.

     

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  8.  
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    Lolocafera (profile), Sep 23rd, 2010 @ 5:23am

    Re:

    Easy: the very notion of public domain is blasphemy to them. That's why they push regularly for the duration of copyright to be made longer and longer.

     

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  9.  
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    DH's Love Child (profile), Sep 23rd, 2010 @ 5:29am

    Re: Don't rush to judgment

    If you read the linked article, the companies are not adding anything. All they are doing is binding and printing it and then claiming copyright so that google doesn't show the whole book.

     

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  10.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Sep 23rd, 2010 @ 6:43am

    Re: Re:

    " I sure hope they release the name"

    name should be Names. Its alot more than just one company doing this.

     

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  11.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Sep 23rd, 2010 @ 7:14am

    Re: good news

    Just think how easy it would be if we could tell who actually owned the copyright. I mean if people actually had to register and re-register a work for it to be copyrighted.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2010 @ 8:35am

    public domain

    it varies per country
    so you need to create a flag per country and hten allow the book to be seen or not seen

     

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  13.  
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    PRMan, Sep 23rd, 2010 @ 8:44am

    Movies too...?

    How about Steamboat Willie, Google? That should be in the Public Domain.

     

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  14.  
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    TJGeezer (profile), Sep 23rd, 2010 @ 9:25am

    Greed Is Good Dept.

    C'mon, all you critics, lighten up. Don't you realize that, in the U.S. at least, corporations now own the government, courts and all? They do whatever the hell they want and the public interest has nothing to do with policy or anything else, not even in their rhetoric. That does it for the basis of the public domain. In the spirit of the sorts of people who preface irrelevant remarks with a faux long-suffering "Sigh," I must say it is only right that they steal from the public. After all, they have money, they have power, and they can.

     

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  15.  
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    Goog watcher, Sep 23rd, 2010 @ 10:54am

    Public domain = $ for Google -- DUH!

    You're kidding me -- you think this is somehow NOBLE?

    Wake up, readers -- Google makes money from Pub Domain because they don't have to pay for the rights to the books. _This makes for more "free," ad-supported browsing, which means more ad revenues for GOOG, the great commoditizer of everything they do not own._

    And btw -- do you think TechDirt doesn't know it?

    To paraphrase the old Clinton campaign, it's the advertising, stupid.

     

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  16.  
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    Michael Ward (profile), Sep 23rd, 2010 @ 12:11pm

    Kessinger / Google / Full View

    Kessinger's been doing PD reprints for years. In the early days they photocopied the pages and provided hard copy reprints of books that were difficult to find.

    With Google and others providing usable electronic texts, it's gotten easier for Kessinger to find source material. In a lot of cases, I suspect, the physical books don't even exist until someone buys a copy -- and at that point the copy is printed off and sent to the buyers.

    The two key issues are:
    (1) Is Kessinger claiming a bogus copyright? -- and if so, what are the penalties?
    (2) Is Google actually keeping a PD book out of Full View because someone like Kessinger claims a copyright, or is it just poor management at the Google project?

    Regarding (2), Google has a history of screwing up the titles and descriptions (aka metadata) so that it can be impossible to find, e.g. all the volumes in a series. Some volumes may have variant titles; some may be in Full View while others are just not available, though already scanned; and some may simply be missing.

    The Goog needs to hire a few hundred librarians just to figure out what they already do have.

    On their behalf I will now add that trying to figure out which books can be read in Full View, in which countries, has to be a nightmare of awesome proportions.

     

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  17.  
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    bowerbird, Sep 23rd, 2010 @ 1:32pm

    (what a treat to see michael ward's name right above! hi michael!)

    anyway, here's the comment i left over at google...

    sofia-

    i'm so glad google is finally addressing this issue!  thank you!

    but let us not be disingenuous, ok?  the vast majority of books
    that are being hijacked from the public-domain are being lifted
    by a small number of companies.  google knows who they are.
    you don't need us to identify the books one by one, individually.

    -bowerbird

     

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  18.  
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    Michael Ward (profile), Sep 23rd, 2010 @ 2:25pm

    Re: bowerbird's comment

    bowerbird! hey, where you been, buddy? Great to see you're still raising a ruckus.

    OK, back to work: Are there specific examples of Kessinger, for example, causing a book to be removed from Full View because of a claimed copyright, or is it just folklore? So far we're long on fears and short on examples.

    I love what Google is doing in making rare volumes available for easy download, but am continually dismayed by the erratic way in which they do it: missing or distorted pages, broken sets, and volumes which are clearly in the PD in all countries but not available in Full View.

    It's that last consideration we're talking about here.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2010 @ 7:15pm

    Re: Public domain = $ for Google -- DUH!

    and what's wrong with that?

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    bowerbird, Sep 24th, 2010 @ 1:57am

    michael said:
    > bowerbird! hey, where you been, buddy?

    hanging around... :+)


    > Great to see you're still raising a ruckus.

    i'm a hit-man, brother -- honesty, integrity, and truth...


    > OK, back to work: Are there specific examples
    > of Kessinger, for example, causing a book to be
    > removed from Full View because of a claimed copyright,
    > or is it just folklore? So far we're long on fears and
    > short on examples.

    i'll go ask over on the project gutenberg listserve.
    i am quite sure they can give us some examples...

    -bowerbird

     

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


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