The Legality Of Amazon's Search The Book Feature

from the ask-the-lawyer dept

Who better to discuss the legality of Amazon’s new full text search feature, than a copyright lawyer who is also an author? Over at, Doug Isenberg points out that if you happen to do a search on the system of “fair use” and “internet”, you’ll actually get the passage from his book describing how one of the determinants of whether or not something is fair use is how it impacts the sales of the book. So, while he’s was a bit surprised, as an author, to find out his entire book was online via Amazon, it’s probably perfectly legal. In fact, he says that the publishers probably do have the right to make that call (no matter what the Authors Guild says), though he admits that almost no one probably thought about this potential use of their work when they signed their publishing deal.

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Comments on “The Legality Of Amazon's Search The Book Feature”

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Anonymous Coward says:

focused rights

Today, creators assign only certain limited rights on publishers or clients. Photographers can offer single-use, electronic-only, and/or non-commercial rights to an image, for example.

While it’s gray today, it’ll be obvious tomorrow. Tomorrow’s writers will simply have another checkbox when deciding the rights of the publisher: search/index rights, yes or no.

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