Google Points Out That What The Authors Guild Wants And What Authors Want Are Two Very Different Things

from the seems-relevant dept

As the still ongoing legal feud between Google and the Authors Guild has continued, Google is trying a new tactic: accurately asking the court why the Authors Guild should be appointed as the representative of all authors? Google pointed out that the Authors Guild -- somewhat notorious for its luddite view of the world -- is trying to turn the lawsuit into a class action, but that most authors don't mind Google scanning their books and making it easier for people to find them:
To prove this point, Google commissioned a survey of more than 800 authors about their opinions regarding the project. The majority of respondents, 58%, said they approved of Google scanning their books, while 28% were neutral and 14% objected. Almost three out of four respondents, 74%, said they don't believe that Google's scans would affect them financially, while 19% say they have or would benefit and 8% said they have or would be harmed.
Of course, the judge pointed out that there could be advantages to having the Authors Guild declared as the stand-in for all authors. For example, if Google actually wins, then that would make life easier for Google. However, Google's lawyer responded that the company wants the right result, not the most expedient.
“Wouldn’t Google be delighted that this is a class action if I find it’s fair use?,” Judge Chin asked Thursday.

“No,” Ms. Durie said. “We care institutionally whether the law is being applied correctly. The correct application is not to certify a class.”
Of course, the Authors Guild has a rather different take on all of this, insisting that "millions of authors" have been harmed by Google helping people find their books. I'm not quite sure how that makes much sense, but it appears that if the Authors Guild had its way, libraries would pay extra to build card catalogs, since, you know, that's making use of the works without a license.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    TDR, May 4th, 2012 @ 12:25pm

    Of course, the Authors Guild has a rather different take on all of this, insisting that "millions of authors" have been harmed by Google helping people find their books.

    In answer to this, I pose Wadsworth's question to Mr. Green: "How?"

    Of course, if actually asked this, the Authors Guild will be just as clueless and slackjawed as Mr. Green was when trying to figure out how Mr. Boddy could have killed the cook.

     

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

  2.  
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    sehlat (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 12:29pm

    What the Author's Guild *really* wants.

    Is some way to get us to pay each time we read a page whether we've read the page (or the book) before.

     

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

  3.  
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    jjmsan (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 12:29pm

    Rental

    I believe the Authors' Guild view on libraries is that the author should be paid each time a book is checked out. So far they have not asked for money each time it is read.

     

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

  4.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 12:31pm

    Judges Guild

    I'm starting a Judges Guild to weigh in on the matter. Who wants in?

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2012 @ 12:33pm

    Re: Rental

    Probably not the author, but rather the publisher or whoever currently holds the copyright on the book.

    I do think it's kinda amusing that the guild is arguing that google providing snippets of books hurts them, when all it does would be to show people whether or not they might enjoy the work, and has probably persuaded some people to go and buy full copies.

     

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  6.  
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    Jeff (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Judges Guild

    Me!

     

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

  7.  
    icon
    Keii (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Judges Guild

    What kind of profits can I expect after I sign on?

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2012 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Re: Judges Guild

    All the profits

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2012 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Re: Rental

    BUT... some people have probably read the snippets and decided, "That's not really a book I want to read."...

    That's a lost sale right there, if the user had not been able to preview the book first, obviously they would have just purchased the book, started reading it before deciding it wasn't for them, and tossed it into their recycle (donate to local library) stack and moved on... but the publisher would have got the sale..

    Am I doing this lost sale thing right? Providing samples or demos of horrible products obviously results in lost sales, as users are able to decide BEFORE buying that they really don't want the companies product, but if they didn't have any choice, some of them would have purchased before realizing that the product was crap...

    AMIRITE?

     

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

  10.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 1:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Rental

    Totally correct.

    It's the same system many Computer (et al) Game companies have been using for years--if you don't know it's crap before you buy it, then they totally got a sale.

    Personally, I hate paying for crappy products.

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2012 @ 1:24pm

    Similarly...

    What Unions want is not the same as what workers want. I find that very often bodies like these don't represent the true interests of their members.

     

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

  12.  
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    gorehound (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 1:24pm

    Re: What the Author's Guild *really* wants.

    +1
    Just like the rest of these MAFIAA who deserve to all be Boycotted.They are all the same.
    Buy INDIE Books then or direct from Authors.More and more Authors should just put their own ebook out.

     

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

  13.  
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    Josef Anvil (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 1:30pm

    LOL

    Of course the Author's Guild wants a class action suit with minimum statutory damages. Just the thought of that probably made their lawyers salivate and jizz their pants.

    Do the math. $750 x 1,000,000 ( Surely they will narrow the field of harm to roughly one million authors ).

    So if they win they get at least $750 million, then 30% for the lawyers and the rest goes to the AG to decide in their wisdom how to split the rest of the pie. Most likely 50% to the "harmed" authors and the rest to cover "administrative costs". Nice haul.

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Harold Koenigsaecker, May 4th, 2012 @ 1:35pm

    Control

    Recently, many of you should know, that the painting The Scream was recently sold for in excess of $100 million.

    I learned of this while listening to a news report on NPR and during which, some art person explained that the high price of this artwork was a direct result of the painting fame. The fame froms from the many parodies of this art, like the scene in the movie Home Alone, or Homer Simpson in the prime time cartoon series.

    Now imagine that there was a HUGH licensing fee associated with the image or that the rights holders just don't want the image to be available to the public. Not only would the world be lessened by the lack of this artistic expression being available, but, there would be no fame on which to base the resale of this painting.

    So for any who wish to continue to restrict the availablility of their work... Here is $1.50, go buy a cup of coffee, instead of becoming famous.

     

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

  15.  
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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 1:40pm

    Of course, the Authors Guild has a rather different take on all of this, insisting that "millions of authors" have been harmed by Google helping people find their books.

    "Millions" of authors?

    The Authors Guild only has about 8,000 members. Even if every member disagreed with Google's scanning, they would still make up a nearly imperceptible percentage of the "millions" of authors being "harmed."

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2012 @ 1:45pm

    wouldn't surprise me to hear that the judge doesn't like libraries so doesn't care if they have to pay more

     

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

  17.  
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    Baldaur Regis (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 1:58pm

    Re:

    Maybe they're just pulling an RIAA, claiming they're defending the interests of ALL authors. Of course, the payout (after admin/legal costs) would only go to the top 10% producers in the Guild.

     

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

  18.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 2:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Rental

    I know you're parodying, but I can't help being Serious.

    That's a lost sale right there, if the user had not been able to preview the book first, obviously they would have just purchased the book


    Yes, and made the one sale. Followed by losing subsequent sales because the reader won't even look at that author's future works because of the ill will generated.

    Where if the reader previewed the book, decided it wasn't for them, the reader may go on to preview other works by that author and end up purchasing those.

     

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

  19.  
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    Keroberos (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 2:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Rental

    I refuse to buy any books, games, or software without a preview. If there isn't one I assume that the product is crap (because why else wouldn't they want you to try before buying?).

     

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

  20.  
    icon
    DanZee (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 2:11pm

    Agree with Google

    I think Google's correct, a lot of writers would like to just have their books read rather than withheld from the public. I heard a writer say he really didn't care that his copyright extended 70 years beyond his death, but he would like to be paid for his current work! One expert estimated that 75% of copyrighted works never renewed their copyright when the term was 28 years. The present copyright law only protects media corporations wanting to hang onto their stuff for as long as possible (I'm looking at you Mickey Mouse!)

     

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

  21.  
    icon
    Torg (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 2:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Rental

    Absolutely correct. This is why bookstores keep their books behind locked cases. If anyone could just grab a book and start reading without paying for it first, the store would never make a sale.

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    AC Cobra, May 4th, 2012 @ 2:20pm

    Re: Similarly...

    "What Unions want is not the same as what workers want. I find that very often bodies like these don't represent the true interests of their members."

    I may be bandying semantics here, and I'll confine my comment to IATSE, since that's the union I'm in, but I think what my union wants is pretty close to what I want: continued jobs with good pay and benefits. Where we differ, sometimes drastically, is the means to get there. For instance IATSE leadership thought supporting SOPA/PIPA would help advance these goals, while I thought it was a terrible idea.

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2012 @ 3:00pm

    Re: Re: Similarly...

    It's a pity Unions in the UK only want to get one up on the government. They don't give a damn about their members despite what they say. I suppose that's why Union membership has seen a drop.

     

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

  24.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 3:45pm

    Re:

    Eh, they're just pulling the same numbers game the RIAA does, where you don't actually have to be in the listed industry to count, only peripherally involved.

    So while there may be less than 10K actual members, they just tack on the people who made the computers the books are written on, the people who sell the computers, the people who ship the computers, the people who make the music some of the authors listen to while writing, the people who sell the music...

     

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

  25.  
    icon
    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 3:45pm

    Re:

    8000 huh? Does that mean that Google talked to all 8000 to cherry-pick what is clearly the only 7.5% of all of them that don't agree with the guild's view? /sarc

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2012 @ 8:01pm

    Re: LOL

    I think you have that last part wrong. See the remaining 70% will go to the authors who where "harmed". Of course of that remaining money about 90% of it will be taken by the Authors Guild as an "administrative fee" or maybe they'll rename it and call it a "protection fee".

     

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

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 5th, 2012 @ 5:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Rental

    That's a lost sale right there, if the user had not been able to preview the book first, obviously they would have just purchased the book, started reading it before deciding it wasn't for them, and tossed it into their recycle (donate to local library) stack and moved on... but the publisher would have got the sale..

    Wait a minute. If they donate the book to the library, that's a lost sale, too, because the library otherwise would have bought one. Maybe the library will put it in their bargain rack for a quarter, but that's another lost sale because otherwise someone would have had to pay full price. Maybe that purchaser will trade it in at a used bookstore where it will be sold to someone else. Another lost sale! That's three lost sales just because someone didn't like the book.

    If you don't like a book you should be required to destroy it. It's just wrong for the author's hard work to be expropriated for the profit of another. Book shredding companies will spring up to meet the demand. This would generate economic activity that provides good paying jobs. The traffic will also allow the postal service to keep volume up and prices low. Everyone wins!

     

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

  28.  
    icon
    CopyAndPasteProgrammer (profile), May 6th, 2012 @ 10:17am

    Copyright

    How long should creative works be protected by a copyright?
    Does a newspaper article need 95 years of protection?
    Does a magazine article need 95 years of protection?
    Does a book need 95 years of protection?
    Does Mickey Mouse need 95 years of protection?

    Are words protected by copyright? Authors often copy words from other authors. Compare the words used in several books by different authors. Does this make all authors criminals?

     

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

  29.  
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    Ninja (profile), May 7th, 2012 @ 6:49am

    It's a reasonable request that incidentally matches with Google interests. The Guild does not represent ALL authors and even within its ranks there's disagreement (and I'm not talking about the poll Google commissioned). While there may be some bias on the results it is clear that it's not the absolute majority of the authors that reject the scanning.

    In the end it's no different from other outfits (music and movies included), they have split themselves from the ones they should be representing.

     

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

  30.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), May 28th, 2012 @ 6:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Similarly...

    Blame Maggie and the various governments since who have ignored unions and their representations of the poor hard-workers.

    Then blame the current crop of union leaders who have a 'strike only' mentality. And Scargill for being an utter ass.

     

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


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