If Google's Book Scanning Violates Copyright Law, What About The AP's Book Scanning?

from the hard-to-see-the-difference dept

Danny Sullivan does a great job calling out the hypocrisy of the Associated Press yet again. The organization, which has taken a very maximalist position on copyright, where fair use gets mostly ignored, apparently had no problem scanning Sarah Palin's entire book into a computer so that reporters could search it. Of course, this is no different than what Google is doing with its book scanning program (which, again, I still believe is a clear case of fair use). Yet, since the AP seems to take such a limited view on fair use (and has a habit of accusing Google of "stealing" content), it's amusing that it's now trying to defend its actions by claiming that it was legal because it was for the sake of journalism, and the scan wasn't for public consumption. Except, of course, Google's book scanning isn't for "public consumption" of the entire work either, but so people can do a search to find the relevant tidbit of info within the book. The AP's statement on the matter is laughable:
"The book, purchased several days ahead of its on-sale date by the AP, was scanned after the first spot stories moved on the wire from New York so that staffers in bureaus in Washington and Alaska with knowledge of various parts of Gov. Palin's life and political career could read those relevant sections the next day."
Yes, you can understand why they did it, and even why it seems reasonable. But that doesn't change the fact that it appears the AP made an unauthorized copy of the book, in violation of its own interpretation of copyright law. Funny how the law seems oh so different when it limits what you can do, than when it's about limiting what your competitors can do...
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: book scanning, copyright, fair use, going rogue, journalism, sarah palin
Companies: associated press, google


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Nobody said it, 9 Apr 2014 @ 6:41am

    Mike, you're off your rocker.

    What Google has done and gotten away with is a flagrant violation of copyright law, and always has been.

    The one key phrase in your and their /entire/ argument is "the entire work"

    Merely hiding 1 out of every 10 pages does not hold water.

    What you have expounded on here is nothing more than a red herring.

    Under the purview of copyright law, this is no similarity between what AP did and what Google is doing.

    AP used a legally purchased book to it's fullest extent for THEIR OWN PURPOSES, privately. The "Journalism" exception isn't even properly invoked!

    Google is displaying vast amounts of copyrighted work COMMERCIALLY, for public consumption.

    The two actions are not one bit the same. Equating them is dishonest.

    Slandering one side or the other in light of the facts is just poor form.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord

Introducing the new Techdirt Insider Chat, now hosted on Discord. If you are an Insider with a membership that includes the chat feature and have not yet been invited to join us on Discord, please reach out here.

Loading...
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.