Authors Guild Petulantly Whines About How Wrong It Is That The Public Will Benefit From Google Books

from the talk-about-sour-grapes dept

Yesterday we wrote about the fairly unsurprising, but still good, news that the Supreme Court had rejected an attempted appeal by the Authors Guild of the really excellent fair use decision by the 2nd Circuit appeals court over whether or not Google scanning books to build a giant, searchable index was fair use.

It's no surprise that the Authors Guild -- which has been tilting at this particular windmill for over a decade -- was upset about the refusal to hear the case, but I wasn't quite expecting the level of ridiculous sour grapes that were put on display:
“Blinded by the public benefit arguments, the Second Circuit’s ruling tells us that Google, not authors, deserves to profit from the digitization of their books,” said Mary Rasenberger, executive director of the Authors Guild.
Did you get that? The Authors Guild is so completely out of touch that it actually thinks that "public benefit arguments" have no place in copyright disputes, despite the very fact that the Constitutional underpinnings of copyright law is to maximize the public's benefit. And, of course, this all ignores the fact that the vast, vast majority of authors greatly benefit from such a searchable index in that it drives more sales of books.

But, on with the hyperbole:
“Today authors suffered a colossal loss,” said Authors Guild president Roxana Robinson. “We filed the class action lawsuit against Google in September 2005 because, as we stated then, ‘Google’s taking was a plain and brazen violation of copyright law.’ We believed then and we believe now that authors should be compensated when their work is copied for commercial purposes.”
What you believe, and what the law says, are different. And that was the case back in 2005 when you filed the suit just like many of us said at the time.
“The price of this short-term public benefit may well be the future vitality of American culture,” continued Rasenberger. “Authors are already among the most poorly paid workers in America; if tomorrow’s authors cannot make a living from their work, only the independently wealthy or the subsidized will be able to pursue a career in writing, and America’s intellectual and artistic soul will be impoverished.”
This is ridiculous on so many levels. First, most authors cannot make a living today because most books don't sell. That's not the fault of Google Books. In fact, as noted time and time again, Google Books acts as a discovery mechanism for many books and increases sales (I've bought dozens of books thanks to finding them via Google Book Search). Second, the gloom and doom predictions of legacy industries over new technologies is time-worn and has never been even remotely correct.

What Rasenberger leaves out of her ignorant whine is the fact that in the time that Google Books has existed, the number of authors has increased massively. No, they're not all making a living, but the purpose of copyright law is to incentivize the creation of new works for the public, and the public is getting an astounding amount of new works -- a totally unprecedented amount of new works actually -- and it's got nothing to do with anything the Authors Guild has done.

And, of course, the Authors Guild still won't give up, promising to fight this issue in other courts, hoping to get a circuit split that the Supreme Court will review:
Following the Supreme Court’s order, the Guild vowed to remain vigilant to ensure that the Second Circuit’s ruling is not taken as carte blanche for unfettered digitization of books. “The Second Circuit decision took pains to highlight that fair use was found based on the strict display restrictions and security measures currently employed by Google,” said Authors Guild general counsel Jan Constantine. “We’ll continue to monitor Google and its library partners to ensure these standards are met, as we will take appropriate action to ensure that fair use isn’t abused.”
To ensure that fair use isn't abused? Lovely people at the Authors Guild who outright declare themselves against public benefit, and then worry about the "expansion" and "abuse" of fair use. Does no one at the Authors Guild recognize that their authors are protected by fair use as well and many of them rely on it all the time? Who would ever join such a backwards looking and thinking organization?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2016 @ 10:41am

    I wonder if this Authors Guild will come out and say that with Google allowed to continue to scan books then nobody will ever write any more books as the authors will lose out in revenue due to people being able to read the scans for free by Google.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2016 @ 11:11am

      Re:

      You only get to see a few pages of books covered by copyright. You've clearly never used the service you are complaining about.

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    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 20 Apr 2016 @ 6:10pm

      Re:

      This has happened twice now:

      I've been researching a topic online and got a search result that led to a scanned book result. I read the couple of pages of the scan and realized that the book being excerpted contains exactly what I'm looking for. I buy the book.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2016 @ 10:45am

    the Second Circuit’s ruling tells us that Google, not authors, deserves to profit from the digitization of their books

    If only there was a group representing authors, a guild of sorts, that would digitize the books for the benefit and profit of the authors. Too bad nothing like that exists.

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    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 19 Apr 2016 @ 12:30pm

      Re:

      It is indeed unfortunate that no authors guild, none that currently exist, actually represents the interests of authors.

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    • identicon
      Stephen, 19 Apr 2016 @ 3:32pm

      Re:

      ...that would digitize the books for the benefit and profit of the authors
      That would require the use of DRM or some equivalent otherwise digitisation would NOT be for the benefit of authors. One person could buy a digitised book, then put it online for others to download for free.

      Are you in favour of DRM?

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      • icon
        nasch (profile), 19 Apr 2016 @ 10:06pm

        Re: Re:

        That would require the use of DRM or some equivalent otherwise digitisation would NOT be for the benefit of authors. One person could buy a digitised book, then put it online for others to download for free.

        You're joking right? Or satirizing what the guild's position would be?

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      • identicon
        Joel, 20 Apr 2016 @ 2:29am

        Re: Re: DRM

        Are you joking, Stephen?

        The possibility of copyright infringement does not automatically require technical countermeasures like DRM in order to ensure profitability (which I equate with a 'requirement' for the copyright holder here). Plenty of technically unrestricted works, be it books, music, games or movies, that still are economically successful, prove this point.

        DRM does not prevent the possibility of copyright infringement. That is pretty obvious, just from the state of affairs. Most if not all DRM protected works are still freely available from infringing persons.

        Perhaps DRM reduces the number of cases of copyright infringement, or increases the number of sales by the copyright holder but that is a point that would need some supporting evidence first.

        What I do believe is that new forms of DRM can buy the copyright holder some time of exclusivity during which the work is only available from their hand, while crackers are still figuring out how to break the new scheme. However I contend that new DRM schemes are too seldom released to make a difference in the point you're making, especially in the case of electronic books.

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        • identicon
          Stephen, 20 Apr 2016 @ 3:25am

          Re: Re: Re: DRM

          Plenty of technically unrestricted works, be it books, music, games or movies, that still are economically successful, prove this point.
          Leaving aside movies & TV shows (and maybe games) where the rules are different because the authors are corporations, or you are creating a work for a corporation under work for hire rules, under current rules books etc do not go out of copyright until after the author is dead (and 50 or 70 years after at that) so it is difficult to see which books etc you are alluding to when you refer to "technically unrestricted works" unless you are referring to those where the author has deliberately chosen not to claim copyright or those which are now OUT of copyright because the life+50/70 limit has been passed.

          Can you give some examples of what you were referring to? I'm having trouble thinking of even one where the author is still living.
          Most if not all DRM protected works are still freely available from infringing persons.
          Probably, but that would require overcoming DRM in some way, whether through cracking or some other fashion. Unless that happened DRM-ed books would be unusable on other persons' computers. That cracking would probably itself be illegal, never mind the copying.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 20 Apr 2016 @ 3:42am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: DRM

            Hmmm, it appears you were serious after all, so I'll jump in here to join in the conversation.

            "the rules are different because the authors are corporations"

            Well, not really, although they have certainly tried gaming all the rules in their favour, at the cost of independents and the public alike.

            "under current rules books etc do not go out of copyright"

            Do you think that copyright requires DRM? If not, what does it matter whether a title is in the public domain or not, given that the argument is that DRM actually does little to reduce piracy?

            "so it is difficult to see which books etc you are alluding to"

            Not really, if you stick to facts rather than the silly demands of some major publishers. Plenty of newer books are legally available with no DRM, either at the behest of the author or their publisher.

            But, we are talking about an industry so scared of new technology that some tried refusing to release some major titles legally at all until people simply digitised them anyway. They may not be the best arbiters of what actually works.

            "That cracking would probably itself be illegal, never mind the copying."

            It is, yet it doesn't seem to stop anyone for long. Meanwhile, once the DRM is cracked, it often has negative effects that *only* affects those who legally bought the product. DRM is a speed bump for determined pirates (assuming they didn't just get a product leaked from before the DRM was applied).

            So why insist on it? It doesn't stop piracy, arguably does nothing to decrease it and makes piracy more attractive even to those who do pay. Given that this is an industry that traditionally thrived on huge levels of product being available either free (libraries) or used (with no resale revenue to them), doesn't this seem rather silly?

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            • identicon
              Stephen, 20 Apr 2016 @ 6:32am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: DRM

              Pardon the length of this post!
              Well, not really, although they have certainly tried gaming all the rules in their favour, at the cost of independents and the public alike.
              Actually they are different. Under the Berne convention rules a movie created by (say) Disney is only in copyright for 50 years following its creation. In contrast, a movie made by a single person would be in copyright for the life of that person plus 50 years.

              Why do you imagine companies like Disney have been beavering away to get the copyright rules changed from a 50 year expiry date to 70 years? (And not just to NEW works but for EXISTING ones as well.)
              "'under current rules books etc do not go out of copyright'"
              Is that what I wrote? That books NEVER go out of copyright? Be careful where you snip!
              Do you think that copyright requires DRM?
              Just for the record, I don't like DRM. There are way too many traps for the unwary and too many restrictions about what you can do with a DRM-ed work (e.g. you often can't pass the right along to your heirs and descendants; those rights die when you do, which is not the way it is with printed books or a CD or DVD).

              That said, how else are you going to protect copyright in a digital work? I'm open to suggestions. Youtube, to cite merely one example, is stuffed solid with pirated movies, TV episodes, TV and cable news show clips, and music, all of it free and unpaid for by those who choose to watch or listen to them. (In fact if anybody is making money off the pirated copies it is the pirates through Google's ads system.) Google does a good job at dealing with them, but it is like playing wack-a-mole. And there are many pirates who don't bother putting the videos themselves on Youtube anymore anyway. They just put an ad up about it and a clickable link to where the pirate video is actually stored.
              If not, what does it matter whether a title is in the public domain or not, given that the argument is that DRM actually does little to reduce piracy?
              FYI, public domain works are FREE works. The author gets paid NOTHING. How is that a solution for the author?

              People don't work for free; nor do they want to work for free. That applies whether you work in McDonalds, for Apple, or you are self-employed (which is basically what authors are). Copyright is a way of compensating writers for their efforts. I'm not claiming it doesn't have its problems, but stuffing it up is NOT a solution. Not unless your aim was to kill the golden goose and do away with books, music, etc altogether and rely entirely on people publishing such things for free.

              To be more specific, having unworkable DRM systems would merely encourage authors to keep their works out of the digital domain.

              Does DRM have problems? Sure!

              Is there a solution? I dunno, but cheering the ruination of existing systems is a poor move tactically because I warn you now you are NOT likely to be in favour of what would very likely happen next. Because if current DRM solutions do die an unloved death the next step would surely be to strong-arm Congress and other legislatures into mandating DRM be a part of EVERY operating system. Or better yet a hardware DRM chip which goes into every computer sold, sort of like a copyright version of the clipper chip. (To paraphrase Tolkien: One Chip to rule them all, One Chip to find them. One Chip to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.)
              Plenty of newer books are legally available with no DRM, either at the behest of the author or their publisher.
              Your inability to actually cite any examples suggests otherwise.

              I would also note that authors and publishers who make digital copies of their works available without DRM are the equivalent of a house owner who does not put locks on his or her house. That is to say, it implies that he or she does not care whether they get ripped off or not by burglars. (Or they have nothing worth stealing.) Such authors are (probably) more interested in being widely read.

              Which in turn would seem to say something about the kinds of digital works where DRM is not put on.
              …until people simply digitised them anyway.
              FYI, that is called stealing.
              It is, yet it doesn't seem to stop anyone for long.
              Bank vaults haven’t stopped people robbing banks, but what would your solution to the problem of the existence of bank robbers be? Do away with bank vaults altogether and leave money (or bullion etc) lying around for any light-finger individual to pick up and remove?
              Meanwhile, once the DRM is cracked, it often has negative effects that *only* affects those who legally bought the product.
              Who’s denying it?
              DRM is a speed bump for determined pirates….
              All you’ve done is describe what the military would call an arms race. Just as militaries around the world haven’t stopped trying to build bigger and better bombs to get round the bigger and better defences their foes develop against those bombs, so don’t expect the DRM people to surrender any time soon.
              So why insist on it?
              Because most authors want to get paid, not pirated.

              Not that there aren’t a few alternatives. Eg shareware in software relies on the honour system. If you use shareware beyond a trial period withOUT paying for it then, frankly, you would be a thief. Which doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, but would you defend such thieving?
              Given that this is an industry that traditionally thrived on huge levels of product being available either free (libraries) or used (with no resale revenue to them), doesn't this seem rather silly?
              Now that’s a ridiculous argument! First of all, as I am sure you’re aware printed books are only sold by the publisher once, not multiple times. But that once is where they make most of their money.

              Secondly, FYI most libraries pay for their books, even if the people who read them in those libraries do not.

              Thirdly, there is a thriving (or used to be before the Net) secondhand book market where printed books are bought and sold. The money doesn’t go to the publishers or the authors, but plenty of people still make a living out of it.

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 20 Apr 2016 @ 6:49am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: DRM

                "FYI, public domain works are FREE works. The author gets paid NOTHING."

                Of course, since as you already pointed out, that person is dead by the time the work reaches the public domain (and most likely their kids and grandkids by that point). Who would you expect to be paying? The publisher, who often no longer exists or is now part of a corporation?

                Also, check your local bookshop if possible - or your favoured digital retailer if not. There's plenty of copies of public domain books still being published and sold for money. The lack of copyright merely removes the exclusivity, not the ability to sell copies. Not every title sells of course, but neither do the ones in copyright.

                "First of all, as I am sure you’re aware printed books are only sold by the publisher once, not multiple times"

                Indeed. That's why publishers are desperately trying to change this with digital books, so they can be paid multiple times despite having thrived once with a one-off payment for multiple readers. Now, have a think about why people have a problem with that change and the rights removed from them by DRM in order to achieve it.

                You're right, it's a long post and I can't read the whole thing right now. But, given the lack of facts and woefully skewed point of view already demonstrated here, it may not be worth the time. I'll do what I can once I have some time once I finish work, however. Just don't expect to change many minds when you're clearly either lying or distorting basic fundamental facts.

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              • icon
                nasch (profile), 20 Apr 2016 @ 7:10am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: DRM

                That said, how else are you going to protect copyright in a digital work?

                Why is your focus on protecting the copyright? Are authors in the business of copyrighting things, or in writing? If you instead focus on building an audience and selling things, you won't need to worry about protection.

                FYI, public domain works are FREE works. The author gets paid NOTHING.

                As Paul mentioned, that is a non sequitur.

                To be more specific, having unworkable DRM systems would merely encourage authors to keep their works out of the digital domain.

                Stupid authors maybe. Smart ones know that's where the market is moving, regardless of what they might pine for.

                Your inability to actually cite any examples suggests otherwise.

                Are you serious right now?

                https://www.google.com/webhp?q=drm%20free%20ebooks

                I would also note that authors and publishers who make digital copies of their works available without DRM are the equivalent of a house owner who does not put locks on his or her house.

                Just so wrong. A digital copy of a book is not a house. It is not like a house in any meaningful way. The analogy is terrible.

                Bank vaults haven’t stopped people robbing banks, but what would your solution to the problem of the existence of bank robbers be?

                Understand the difference between money and computer files, and then maybe you will see why this is another faulty analogy.

                Because most authors want to get paid, not pirated.

                But DRM doesn't keep them from getting pirated, and it doesn't ensure they get paid. I thought you already acknowledged that.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2016 @ 8:39am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: DRM

                  The guy's either trolling or high off his own supply.

                  DRM<=>DMCA<=>COPYRIGHT is a FALSE equivalence. I don't get why people even try to make it otherwise.

                  "Technically unrestricted works" means just what it says on the tin: the works do not have any technical restrictions.

                  No DRM doesn't mean it's suddenly OK for anyone to make a copy.

                  Successful games are not only made by corporations. In fact many corporation backed games don't turn really slim profits or none at all. That's why so many studios close down.

                  In fact the discussion has very little to do with the concept of DRM and everything to do with lack of regulation and standards.
                  Everyone wants to sell THE SOLUTION as opposed to just A SOLUTION because "f'k you, got mine".

                  Also FYI DRM does nothing to prevent copying itself. If you copy a protected file, you can always obtain (crack or buy) the key later and it will work.

                  The only thing that does (somewhat) prevent copying is custom hardware. And that brings us back full circle.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2016 @ 4:33pm

      Re:

      Why would they bother? Google can now steal their work. They can just steal the scans.

      Oh wait. Google claims that their scans are transformative. I bet Google claims they're copyrighted too.

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 20 Apr 2016 @ 12:19am

        Re: Re:

        "I bet Google claims they're copyrighted too."

        Well, it's true that the works remain copyrighted even if Google have a copy available. I've never read anything to suggest that they believe they hold a new copyright on the resulting scans.

        Do you have any proof that they believe that, or is this another weak AC attempt to attack Google for an imagined strawman position even when they're shown to be in the right?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2016 @ 12:45am

        Re: Re:

        You want some fries with that salt?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2016 @ 10:54am

    Author's *Guild*?

    Well, they have a point. This whole digitization thing undermines the Guild's monopoly, and thus the Guild. And when we lost all of those medieval guilds, all sorts of trouble ensued. You know, like massively increased productivity. So, unless we want something like an industrial revolution in authorship on our hands, we'd better damn well stop Google.

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    • identicon
      Stephen, 19 Apr 2016 @ 3:51pm

      Re: Author's *Guild*?

      This whole digitization thing undermines the Guild's monopoly, and thus the Guild.
      Nice smear.

      You don't want to come out against book authors--the people who the Guild represents and the ones who ACTUALLY hold the monopoly you allude to and are one of the two main sets of people (the other are the publishers) who benefit from book copyright--so you attack the Guild itself. That way you get to attack a big bad organisation rather than the little people behind the big bad organisation,
      And when we lost all of those medieval guilds, all sorts of trouble ensued.
      Curious statement. Apparently you're unaware that modern counterparts of such organisations still exist. One of them's called the Chamber of Commerce. Another is the AFL-CIO. There ate lots more.
      You know, like massively increased productivity.
      So just how would busting the monopoly authors have on the copyright of their books lead to "massively increased productivity"? Generally you take rights away from people when you're trying to smash them and the influence they wield.

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      • icon
        xtian (profile), 19 Apr 2016 @ 5:32pm

        Re: Re: Author's *Guild*?

        Authors don't hold the copyrights, publishers do via their contracts with authors.

        What wasn't discussed in this article is that the issue isn't about authors at all, but about publishers feeling that it threatens their marketing of books. Representatives of the Guild have said that explicitly.

        To be clear, the only sales to be lost here would be the rare occasion, where someone discovered that a certain book wasn't about what they thought it was. It's a discovery tool; it allows one to find quotes and books on various subjects. You can only see a sample of the books online. Does anyone purchase every book they think might discuss some article, so that one can rifle through the bibliography and index?

        The whole issue is about the publishers' control and the pretense of defending poor authors and predicting the downfall of culture is their 'think of the children and terrorists!' argument.

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        • identicon
          Stephen, 20 Apr 2016 @ 4:05am

          Re: Re: Re: Author's *Guild*?

          Authors don't hold the copyrights, publishers do via their contracts with authors.
          You are confusing copyright with distribution. Most authors nowadays retain copyright--as opposed to assigning copyright over to a publisher (which did often happen in times past, especially in the US). Their contracts give the publishers exclusive publication and distribution rights in a particular market (e.g. the US/Canadian one). Your claim that PUBLISHERS hold the copyright themselves is JUST PLAIN WRONG. Granted they will often be the ones to take a copyright offender to court, but that is because they are acting on the author's behalf (most authors, unlike publishers, not having the resources to take someone to court), not because they themselves hold the copyright.
          Representatives of the Guild have said that explicitly.
          A URL or actual quote which can be googled would be nice, otherwise this becomes just another unsubstantiated smear.
          To be clear, the only sales to be lost here would be the rare occasion, where someone discovered that a certain book wasn't about what they thought it was.
          How do you figure that? If you abolished copyright on DIGITAL (as opposed to PRINTED) books, why would most people BUY a digital book at all when those SAME books would soon be available for free from the countless archives which would quickly populate the Net?
          Does anyone purchase every book they think might discuss some article, so that one can rifle through the bibliography and index?
          Nice sweeping statement.

          I take it you have never heard of those places called "libraries". (Not impossible, I'll grant you, especially if you're a Millennial! Public libraries are fast becoming a disappearing institution, and may one day become largely extinct except for a few national ones like the Library of Congress.)

          But in answer to your question. Yes they did buy the book(s)--or they visited a library to read them. (Or to rifle through the bibliography and index.)

          Just what are you suggesting anyway? That in the olden times of printed books, back in the ancient Twentieth Century, many people doing research went out and STOLE books, newspapers, etc they needed to study? Is that what you;re insinuating?
          The whole issue is about the publishers' control and the pretense of defending poor authors...
          Just what exactly is your problem with publishers anyway? They sell books. Books you appear not to want to have to pay for. You appear to want to get them for free or at least for a reduced price. Is that your problem with publishers?

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          • icon
            nasch (profile), 20 Apr 2016 @ 5:53am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Author's *Guild*?

            How do you figure that? If you abolished copyright on DIGITAL (as opposed to PRINTED) books, why would most people BUY a digital book at all when those SAME books would soon be available for free from the countless archives which would quickly populate the Net?

            I don't see anyone saying we should abolish copyright on anything (in this discussion). Where did you get that?

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            • identicon
              Stephen, 20 Apr 2016 @ 6:45am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Author's *Guild*?

              Where did you get that?
              That seemed to be the subtext of Xtian's argument in his post. In particular, this passage:
              To be clear, the only sales to be lost here would be the rare occasion, where someone discovered that a certain book wasn't about what they thought it was.
              When read with his initial claim ("Authors don't hold the copyrights, publishers do via their contracts with authors") he seemed to be suggesting that without copyright, or at least some way of enforcing it, "the only sales to be lost here would be the rare occasion, where someone discovered that a certain book wasn't about what they thought it was".

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              • icon
                nasch (profile), 20 Apr 2016 @ 7:11am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Author's *Guild*?

                When read with his initial claim ("Authors don't hold the copyrights, publishers do via their contracts with authors") he seemed to be suggesting that without copyright, or at least some way of enforcing it, "the only sales to be lost here would be the rare occasion, where someone discovered that a certain book wasn't about what they thought it was".

                No, he was saying that is the only way Google's book scanning project could result in lost book sales.

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 21 Apr 2016 @ 1:14am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Author's *Guild*?

                "he seemed to be suggesting that without copyright, or at least some way of enforcing it"

                Seemed - in your mind. Nobody else got that, they were instead addressing your ridiculous and easily falsified claimed that DRM was necessary to hold copyright.

                Perhaps before writing another 20,000 word essay that nobody's going to read, you might think about why you're so off-base with the very foundation of the arguments you're trying to make, and why you and you alone are comprehending the words of others so differently.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 20 Apr 2016 @ 6:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Author's *Guild*?

            To continue my jumping into here...

            "Nice sweeping statement."

            Given your later comments here, that's kind of hilarious. I'd suggest that if you're not trolling (the pastime of fools and liars), you might wish to re-examine your own writing.

            "If you abolished copyright on DIGITAL (as opposed to PRINTED) books, why would most people BUY a digital book at all when those SAME books would soon be available for free from the countless archives which would quickly populate the Net?"

            What's funny is that you say that as if it's a hypothetical future. Most digital books are available already - as are many that have never been released as digital versions.

            Is your fear that people *might* start doing something that's been happening for years regardless? How does that make sense? Wouldn't you be better increasing reasons for people to buy the original (I'd start with not locking people into bespoke platforms, thus encouraging them to "pirate" the books they already own later on)

            Plus, of course, the person you're responding to said nothing about abolishing copyright

            "back in the ancient Twentieth Century, many people doing research went out and STOLE books, newspapers, etc they needed to study? Is that what you;re insinuating?"

            By the claims of the people in charge of these companies, that's *exactly* what they did. People shared newspapers all the time with each other, they gave books away for free when they finished with them. There were even businesses dedicated to reselling books multiple times when each reader finished with them without a single cent going to the author or publisher. Yet, they thrived...

            The entire point of DRM is to prevent people from doing these things, even though the industry thrived when they were allowed. It's true that the nature of digital goods introduces new issues, but don't pretend people never did these things until big bad Google appeared - and the industry not only accepted them but adapted to the fact that most people will never buy a new hardcover or the same newspaper that someone else at work buys every day.

            "You appear to want to get them for free"

            ...and this is why these discussions never get anywhere. Some people are incapable of addressing real opinions, they have to pretend other people are trying to steal from them just so they can protect the old ways.

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            • identicon
              Stephen, 20 Apr 2016 @ 9:12am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Author's *Guild*?

              What's funny is that you say that as if it's a hypothetical future. Most digital books are available already - as are many that have never been released as digital versions.
              I don’t get what you’re claiming here. I never said digital books weren’t available.

              Or are you attempting to claim that digital books are not in copyright? You need to clarify your point.
              Is your fear that people *might* start doing something that's been happening for years regardless?
              That sounds like a justification of pirating. Have I got that right? Is that truly what you’re insinuating? If so I look forward to you applying your justification to bank robberies and insurance fraud (“Is your fear that people *might* start doing something that's been happening for years regardless?”)

              The fact that people do it—and KEEP doing it, regardless of what the laws say—doesn’t make it lawful, let alone morally right.
              Plus, of course, the person you're responding to said nothing about abolishing copyright
              It helps to read what the person wrote. Here is what Xtian said:
              Authors don't hold the copyrights, publishers do via their contracts with authors. … To be clear, the only sales to be lost here would be the rare occasion, where someone discovered that a certain book wasn't about what they thought it was.
              Here we find Xtian claiming that publishers held copyrights (which is only true in some cases). When he then went on that “the only sales to be lost here would be the rare occasion, where someone discovered that a certain book wasn't about what they thought it was” the insinuation clearly was that if copyright vanished it would have negligible effect on sales.
              By the claims of the people in charge of these companies, that's *exactly* what they did. People shared newspapers all the time with each other, they gave books away for free when they finished with them.
              You do realise that that particular part of my post was flippant sarcasm?

              But that aside, you then respond with a secondhand (“by the claims of the people in charge of these companies”) half-truth. People might share newspapers inside their household or around an office, but how many (printed) newspapers do you yourself share with total strangers?

              The fate of most newspapers is to wind up in the trash bin or incinerator when they have been read by the person who bought them.

              As for books, some may have been loaned or given out to friends or relations. But how many do you yourself share or give away with total strangers (except perhaps as a donation to a good cause; say, a school book fair)?

              More to the point though you are taking my words out of context and twisting them. Here is what Xtian posted and which I was responding to:
              [Copyright i]s a discovery tool; it allows one to find quotes and books on various subjects. You can only see a sample of the books online. Does anyone purchase every book they think might discuss some article, so that one can rifle through the bibliography and index?
              I sarcastically pointed out that many people would use a library if they did not have or want to purchase a book they needed to study. I then followed that with another piece of sarcasm, the one you commented on.
              There were even businesses dedicated to reselling books multiple times when each reader finished with them without a single cent going to the author or publisher.
              I know. They were called secondhand bookshops; and believe it or not they still exist, although you may have to hunt round to find them (and Millennials probably don’t visit them at all; if it’s not on the Net it doesn’t exist)! :-)

              But that point is irrelevant. With printed books publishers only ever sold a book once. That’s where they made their money. This is common knowledge amongst my own and older generations, although maybe it is dying out among more recent ones (who probably don’t read newspapers and have read few if any printed books in their life).
              The entire point of DRM is to prevent people from doing these things, even though the industry thrived when they were allowed.
              This needs a bit of explanation. Copyright of a printed book is an ownership of the printed text. As distinct from the physical book. The book owner owns the physical book but not the rights to the text. He can sell or give away the physical book but the copyright of the text remains with the copyright holder (who is generally the author) no matter how many times it is sold. The same with DVDs, CDs, etc. You own the physical media, but not the rights to the contents (music, game, video, etc) on it.

              Before computers (or at least before they moved out of universities and large corporations and into the home and small business) physical books were hard and expensive (at least for individuals) to copy, especially in large quantities, there were no videos or computer games, and music came on vinyl disks. Like books they were hard for ordinary people to copy.

              Computers and the Internet have changed all that; and digitisation has set the cat among the pigeons. With digitisation there is no physical book or media. You just have the text/music/video/etc. That is, the thing which is copyrighted. DRM is an attempt to control the unlicensed reproduction and distribution (in a word: proliferation) of that text/music/video/etc.

              Since there is no physical book or media that also means there is nothing the person who bought the thing and which they themselves own. All they bought was a licence. A licence to view/listed to/watch/play the text etc. A licence they can (probably) not sell or give away, though different licences may have more leeway there than others.

              DRM is an attempt to control what you do with the text/music/video/etc. It was never needed before computers came along because of the difficulty of copying books etc. With the advent of digitisation it hs become the way copyright holders are trying to protect their rights.

              DRM is not new. If you think today’s DRM systems are a pain, go back two or three decades to the era when copy protection reigned for computer software. That was WAY worse. But it was essentially also a DRM system. It was an attempt to control the unlicensed proliferation of the copyrighted material.
              but don't pretend people never did these things until big bad Google appeared
              What has Google to do with this? Granted it owns Youtube, but there is more to the Internet than Google.
              most people will never buy a new hardcover or the same newspaper that someone else at work buys every day.
              I cannot speak for where you work (assuming you aren’t still in high school) but newspapers have never been shared around offices where I’ve worked, in part perhaps because we only read them during lunch hour or on the way to or from work.
              Some people are incapable of addressing real opinions, they have to pretend other people are trying to steal from them just so they can protect the old ways.
              So might the neighbourhood burglar opine about why people are so old fashioned as to keep putting locks on their front doors “just so they can protect the old ways” when all the young things know that the brand new way is to have no locks at all and allow people to wander through your house at all and share your possessions with others.

              For if you can share newspapers around an office why should burglars not feel entitled to share jewellery and blu-ray players around the local neighbourhood?

              Just as you have rights that you (probably) wouldn’t like to see violated by others so other people have rights as well that they would prefer not see cavalierly disregarded.

              DRM is a pain in the neck. We can all agree on that. It has many flaws. But be careful what you wish for! If current DRM systems keep failing or are too easily circumvented sooner or later attempts will be made to embed them into operating systems (eg Windows 10); and eventually maybe even into all computers at the chip level.

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 21 Apr 2016 @ 1:08am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Author's *Guild*?

                "I don’t get what you’re claiming here. I never said digital books weren’t available."

                No, but you pretended that if copyright was removed there'd suddenly be a glut of pirated books. My point is - those pirated copies are already there, and also that your attempt to conflate DRM and copyright is outright lies.

                Perhaps instead of writing your ridiculously overlong nonsense, we can return to your original idiocy. DRM has nothing to do with the copyright status of a book. Are you capable of conceding this part of reality or not?

                "DRM is an attempt to control what you do with the text/music/video/etc."

                Yes, an ATTEMPT. One that has failed miserably at its stated purpose and has a huge number of unintended consequences that damage authors and the public alike.

                It's also got sod all to do with the copyright status of a file or the ability to sell it. There are such things as DRMed public domain works, there are such things as non-DRMed copyrighted books. Both can sell for money, so get out of here with your other idiot strawman.

                "What has Google to do with this? Granted it owns Youtube, but there is more to the Internet than Google."

                WTF does YouTube have to do with books? The damn article you're drooling all over is specifically about Google's book scanning project.

                In your rush to attack, have you actually forgotten what you're talking about? Maybe writing some short, intelligent, reality-based sentences instead of moronic 20 paragraph essays would help you focus your thoughts.

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      • icon
        BernardoVerda (profile), 19 Apr 2016 @ 11:40pm

        Re: Re: Author's *Guild*?

        > "You don't want to come out against book authors--the people who the Guild represents..."

        That's odd -- there's plenty of authors who are quite explicit that they don't feel the Guild represents *their* interests (at least not on this matter).

        There are a few authors who will express support for the Authors' Guild -- but then, there's a few musicians who have expressed support for the RIAA, as well...

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2016 @ 8:12am

        Re: Re: Author's *Guild*?

        Author's Guild is just a tiny bit better at not being complete jerks than the RIAA which is just a tiny bit better at not being complete scumbags like the MPAA.

        It all comes down to money. You can bet your ass that had books been as lucrative as movies AG would've been every bit as scummy as the RIAA and MPAA.

        Nobody's "coming out against the Authors" neither as a whole nor individually. Most authors wield very little if any influence.

        People generally joined a guild to have their rights better protected but it doesn't look to me like the AG is doing anything to protect their rights.

        They just collect the cash and maybe, maybe they send some threat letters every now and again... if they feel like it.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2016 @ 10:56am

    Whatever really hates it when copyright law is enforced.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2016 @ 11:19am

    "...the public benefit arguments..."

    Damn it, Iustitia, take off that blindfold!

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  • identicon
    Rain, Rain, 19 Apr 2016 @ 11:19am

    Watch what they do, not what they say - AG authors know full well that Google Books is good for sales

    Interestingly - if predictably - it looks like Roxana Robinson (current president of the Author's Guild) has chosen not to opt out of Google Books' "preview" mode for at least a couple of her books. Past AG president Scott Turow's books are in preview mode, too. Talk about not putting your money where your mouth is.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2016 @ 12:09pm

      Re: Watch what they do, not what they say - AG authors know full well that Google Books is good for sales

      If the Authors Guild are so against Google for scanning books etc. then perhaps if the AG were to send a very nice letter to Google asking Google not to scan any books belonging to any member of the AG or show any previews from any books belonging to a member of the AG then should/when Google complies then the AG will be happy that Google will no longer be scanning any books or showing previews of any books belonging to a member of the AG.

      Me thinks that the AG will not ask Google to do this being as they are dead against Google for doing this because the AG knows full well that what Google is doing is FREE publicity for them that increases sales for the AG and the AG will in no way cut of the hand that feeds them.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 20 Apr 2016 @ 12:21am

      Re: Watch what they do, not what they say - AG authors know full well that Google Books is good for sales

      They presumably hold the same positions as the newspapers who demand money from them - claim that Google is robbing money from them if they have the previews and then claim Google is robbing from them if they remove them from the previews.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2016 @ 11:22am

    Birds gotta sing, writers gotta write, middlemen gotta be grasping leeches.

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  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 19 Apr 2016 @ 11:55am

    First, most authors cannot make a living today because most books don't sell.

    This would be second on an item list.

    The first item would be "Most authors cannot make a living today because publishers take so much, they put the author into debt the second they sign away their rights for that paltry advance check."

    I always love how gatekeepers keep forgetting this fact of lost creator revenue.

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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 19 Apr 2016 @ 12:59pm

    “The Second Circuit misunderstood the importance of emerging online markets for books and book excerpts. It failed to comprehend the very real potential harm to authors resulting from its decision.”

    https://consumerist.com/2016/04/18/google-books-allowed-to-continue-after-supreme-court- rejects-authors-guild-appeal/

    One would think if there was such a market that some sort of guild representing authors would have started a book scanning project to make it possible.

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  • icon
    Bergman (profile), 19 Apr 2016 @ 1:17pm

    Re: gloom and doom

    "Second, the gloom and doom predictions of legacy industries over new technologies is time-worn and has never been even remotely correct."

    Eh, it depends on the industry. The technology to refine petroleum cheaply had one hell of a dooming effect on the whale oil industry, and when was the last time you bought an 8-track tape of the latest hits?

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    • icon
      madasahatter (profile), 19 Apr 2016 @ 2:36pm

      Re: Re: gloom and doom

      The whale oil industry was in trouble when the petroleum industry started. 8-track tapes were made by the same companies that made vinyl records, cassette tapes, and CDs and most of them are still around.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 20 Apr 2016 @ 12:27am

      Re: Re: gloom and doom

      Depends on how you define "industry". Whale oil and petroleum are both part of the fuel industry, and that's thrived even if people who depended on murdering sea creatures didn't. The music industry has thrived (note: music industry, not music recording industry), even if 8 tracks were replaced by CDs and further iterations between factions of that industry.

      The problem is that the "legacy" industries tend to be run by people who demand they remain in the buggy whip industry, not the ones who simply tie themselves to transport (to use the oft-repeated analogy).

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  • identicon
    Peter, 19 Apr 2016 @ 1:44pm

    Google have got it wrong

    Google got the name wrong.

    If only they had called it Google Advertising and charged for posting excerpts to their billions of customers, the publishers would have been queueing around the block

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  • identicon
    Minnesota slim, 19 Apr 2016 @ 2:01pm

    Who are they?

    I looked up the Authors Guild.
    According to their website they have 804 members.
    I scrolled through several pages and did not recognize a single name. Maybe I'm not reading the 'good stuff'. I tend to be in the 100 books per year range.

    Why don't each of those authors simply ask Google to not index their books, then Google would not be competing with them.

    If the are hard up for money maybe they should get a different publisher, a less greedy one. Take you price point down just a little. Get Amazon and Barnes & Noble to offer your first book at half price for a week as one of their deals to get readers hooked on your fabulous work. I have tried several authors that way and have bought more. All e-books, with no hard copy the price can come down and the author can get a better percentage.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2016 @ 2:13pm

      Re: Who are they?

      If the are hard up for money maybe they should get a different publisher, a less greedy one.

      They could go the self publishing route, cut out the middleman and get more income from fewer sales, or if they keep up their sales volumes, make a lot more money.
      However doing so will do nothing for the books that they have signed over to their existing publisher, and so they will have to write some new books, which may be difficult for those who believe that one book should provide an income for their life, and for their children and grandchildren.

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    • icon
      Seegras (profile), 20 Apr 2016 @ 1:06am

      Re: Who are they?

      Wow, you're right. I think I recognize maybe three names or something like that.

      So this authors guild represents (only) 800 relatively unknown authors. No heavyweights whatsoever, neither in the literary sense, nor the economic one.

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    • icon
      mistercynical (profile), 20 Apr 2016 @ 5:57am

      Re: Who are they?

      I too read quite a bit and don't recognize the vast majority of these authors. Because they are dead set against me being able to learn about their books, I feel that it is only fair that whenever I am looking to purchase a book I check the list of members of the Authors Guild to ensure that I don't inadvertently purchase one of their books and give them even more money to fight fair use.

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  • identicon
    jem, 19 Apr 2016 @ 2:29pm

    Attorney for Authors Guild

    Just to note that the lead attorney in the Authors Guild's appeal request to the US Supreme Court was Paul M. Smith who was also the lead attorney on the landmark 2003 US Supreme Court ruling Lawrence v. Texas which struck down sodomy laws in the USA.

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  • identicon
    Kronomex, 19 Apr 2016 @ 3:28pm

    "“Authors are already among the most poorly paid workers in America;..."" and they (and other authors from around the world) will stay that way while publishers and the copyright lobby hold the reins and control the cash.

    On a side note; I imagine that when the next volume in the interminable Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) appears the publishers will reissue multiple versions of the earlier books yet again and take up shelf space that could be used to sell and promote new authors. Oh yes, I still can't get past page 23 of the first volume even after leaving the book alone for long (a year or so) periods of time. There is something about it that irks me so it now just gathers dust.

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  • identicon
    Wendy Cockcroft, 20 Apr 2016 @ 6:02am

    I refer you to my rant in the last story's comments. They think their writings are their very own property and the idea that this property stops being theirs after the monopoly privilege term expires is anathema to them.

    This is because they see it as neither a monopoly nor a privilege, hence the mile-high sense of entitlement. They think about their work the way you think about your house, your car, or anything else that you own.

    Just imagine how they'd be if they understood that the work they produce is not property, it's culture, and the revenues they receive are due to a temporary monopoly privilege, which is WHY it has an expiration date.

    I've had that conversation with such people and pretty much been savaged for it over the property angle over and over again. I'm past being annoyed about it, I'm resigned to it. As long as we let them get away with characterising it as property this will continue.

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 20 Apr 2016 @ 7:45am

      Re:

      Not sure how much impact it would have, but two counter-arguments that come to mind are:

      1) Property is taxed, if you think your song/movie/book is so insanely valuable then have fun paying the yearly taxes on it.

      2) The penalties for 'misuse' of property is drastically different than the penalties for Imaginary Property. Steal a CD, slap on the wrist, $100 or less fine. Infringe on the rights related to the songs on the CD, massive penalties large enough to buy cars or even houses. As such if they want imaginary property to be treated as regular 'property' then the penalties for infringement need to be drastically lowered, no more ten/hundred thousand dollar fines to threaten people with.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2016 @ 7:56am

        Re: Re:

        True enough, I'd say that longer copyright, if ever decided on, should come with the redefinition and taxation of this new type of property.
        I'm pretty sure Disney could well afford to pay a few 100K / year to keep The Mouse from going PD.
        Actually there are countries where, until 2014-2015, you'd get both fined AND at least a year (up to 15!) in prison for stealing a CD.

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        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 21 Apr 2016 @ 6:07am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Okay, fine. Either treat it as tangible property with all that goes with it or don't. But don't give us this limbo crap where they're having it both ways.

          I mean, heck, if there was a way to turn their own greed right back in their faces by levying taxes on imaginary property, I'd be campaigning in that direction.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 20 Apr 2016 @ 7:35am

    Being /in/ the market is a requirement for someone to compete with you

    “Blinded by the public benefit arguments, the Second Circuit’s ruling tells us that Google, not authors, deserves to profit from the digitization of their books,” said Mary Rasenberger, executive director of the Authors Guild.

    Ignoring for the moment that what Google Books is doing isn't so much 'digitizing books' as creating a searchable collection of snippets via digitizing books, I have to wonder: Out of the books digitized by Google, how many were/are available in digital format? If it's not possible to buy a digital version of a given book then even if Google was offering the entire books to be read on their service they'd still be 'competing' in different markets, physical and digital, and Google would not be threatening more than the potential ability for publishers to profit from digitization of their books.

    Baring books that are so bad that reading a snippet it enough to tell people to avoid the book itself, nothing Google is doing here stops the publishers from making digital versions of the books and offering them for sale themselves if they are willing to put in the effort required to do so. They can absolutely still profit from offering digital versions of their books, they just need to be willing to offer them in the first place, and that's entirely on them, not Google.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2016 @ 7:50am

    Not that I disagree with the utility of Google Books but just how f*ed up can copyright be that Google Books is fair use, but re-implementing the Java language APIs might well not be fair use.

    Obviously there were two different judges and two different defense lawyers. But fairness in law shouldn't hinge on the lawyers' ability to sway and trick the judge and jury, especially in cases such as these.

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    • icon
      BernardoVerda (profile), 21 Apr 2016 @ 10:38pm

      Re:

      The mess around the Oracle vs Google / Java API debacle, isn't because of copyright law, but because of the CAFC's mulish insistence on misinterpreting the facts so as to allow themselves to misapply copyright law. (the pertinent section of the copyright act is actual quite sensible).

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2016 @ 8:03am

    “We’ll continue to monitor Google and its library partners to ensure these standards are met, as we will take appropriate action to ensure that fair use isn’t allowed.”
    There FTFY. :)

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  • identicon
    Mary Rasenberger, 20 Apr 2016 @ 9:44pm

    Authors Guild Petulantly Whines About How Wrong It Is That The Public Will Benefit From Google Books

    Mike, This piece is so full of rhetoric and so unrelated to anything we have said (if read in context) that it barely merits response. I am sorry you feel that way about our desire to protect the ability of authors to make some kind of living. We feel strongly that books -- and I mean book sin any format -- are a crucial part of our cultural knowledge and learning. Nothing gets people to think like books. Good books expand our thinking, allow us to take deep dives into issues, and help us get inside others lives -- among other things. No one writes to get rich, but few great books are written by hobbyists. Our Founders understood we need a class of professional authors--people who make a living, although a modest one, in the free market from writing -- in order to promote free expression. It is not a complicated idea and yet you and others seem to take it for granted. More books in and of themselves do not mean better culture. Books written by people who have spent years learning to write and perfecting their craft and who take the time to research them, think about them, get them reviewed by peers, and get them well edited -- those are the books that advance us as a civilization, and those are the books that take years to write and the support of others to perfect. We need a way to allow authors to support themselves while writing and to pay others for their services to help make the book as good and marketable as it can be and to help sell it. Copyright is how we do it in democratic societies where we don't want books controlled by the government. It sounds like you are stuck in the old world model of publishing, so you do not understand how deep a hole a fair use exception for commercial copying and also for search could cut in future markets. Access to books in the future will largely occur though search engines -- not very different than the Google Books model. We will do our best to make sure that full display of books is not permitted under fair use. If it is, that will be the end of an American literary culture. Sure people will write, but unless they are independently wealthy, they won't be writing much real literature and they won't be writing non-academic seriously researched non-fiction. Why? They will be spending their working hours doing other work that keeps the lights on. Why do we do this work? Because we care about the future of this country. Technology is cool and does great things, but it is worth little if we lose the knowledge we gain through serious thinking and books -- in any format.

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    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 21 Apr 2016 @ 6:12am

      Re: Authors Guild Petulantly Whines About How Wrong It Is That The Public Will Benefit From Google Books

      Mary, you've just explained to everyone why I'm a Pirate. What you want us to do is ring-fence the rights and privileges of your elitists' club where the quality control gatekeepers keep the riff-raff out, the market be damned.

      Copyright is meant to benefit the public after you've had a chance to make money from your masterpieces.

      We had plenty of books before the copyright regime we have in place now (I recently finished reading Moby Dick. I'm convinced that every adaptation gets Queequeg wrong), and we'll have plenty of others after we have finally got rid of it.

      Congratulations, Mary, you've provided the best ever case for the oppositions. To whom do I pay your monopoly privilege rents if I quote from your text block o' doom?

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    • icon
      nasch (profile), 21 Apr 2016 @ 7:34am

      Re: Authors Guild Petulantly Whines About How Wrong It Is That The Public Will Benefit From Google Books

      Access to books in the future will largely occur though search engines -- not very different than the Google Books model.

      And yet you're opposed to Google Books? Why? Surely increased access to books is a good thing.

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 21 Apr 2016 @ 8:04am

        Re: Re: Authors Guild Petulantly Whines About How Wrong It Is That The Public Will Benefit From Google Books

        Because, as with the newspaper argument, reading more than a sentence without paying for it will lead to the destruction of the industry!

        None of the arguments make a lot of sense. I mean, look at the argument about people writing "real literature". Well, it's telling that the "real" caveat has to be inserted there, because that means they're not thinking about books that are currently best sellers.

        Actually, that makes a lot of sense with regard to the argument above. Nobody who is making a truly good product tends to worry that people will be able to preview it.

        They're largely thinking about more niche books - the kind that tend to have overinflated price points and low marketshare to begin with. I've had arguments many times where with people who can't understand that if they charge $10 instead of $30 for their book, that's not saying it's worth less, that simply the marketplace - and people can make more money, not less, if the product's worth it. People trying to base their income on massively overpriced works would lose out, but I'm yet to hear a good argument as to how people writing good material will lose all their customers, and as to how lowering the price reduces rather than expands their customer base. That's even without pointing out the obvious facts of reality (most readers never pay for their most of their books directly; most writers have never made a living without a day job).

        The only interesting argument is that people writing complex factual books won't be bothered to put in the effort if people can preview a few pages they need for reference rather than pay for it. But, that's no reason to destroy the opportunities afforded to many others.

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 21 Apr 2016 @ 8:55am

      Re: Authors Guild Petulantly Whines About How Wrong It Is That The Public Will Benefit From Google Books

      You'd think someone extolling the virtues of 'professional' authors would know about paragraphs, but no matter...

      I don't care if someone has spent years practicing writing or just picked up a pen/sat down at a keyboard, I'm just interested in the quality of their work.

      I don't care if a particular story has been through a gauntlet of proofreaders, editors, or what have you, or if the writer just handed it off to a friend and said 'Hey, could you go through this for me, see if I made any mistakes?' All I care about is how good the story is.

      I don't care if the overwhelming majority of 'amateur' stories and books are rubbish(not saying they are mind) if it means that the pile of good or great works also increases to match, which is the case.

      The idea that only 'professionally' written stories/books add to culture is complete and utter crap, everything adds to culture and shapes it, and what may be seen as of little worth or impact now might not always be the case.

      Authors don't deserve to make a living writing just because they've spent years practicing, all they deserve is the opportunity to do so. If someone spends a decade practicing writing, sends their story off to a publisher to polish it up and it bombs they aren't owed anything. They created something, people decided that it wasn't worth it, too bad for them.

      Unless you are willing to fund them, toss the idea of 'professional author' as a 'safe' career right out the window, it's not going to happen. Someone could write an amazing story and have it fail because people don't hear about it, or because it's not nearly as good as they think it is, or for any number of other reasons. When whether or not your book sells is dependent upon the public and whether or not they think you've written something good, and the public can be wildly inconsistent at times, any book is a gamble.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2016 @ 8:43am

    We will do our best to make sure that full display of books is not permitted under fair use

    Which... Google Books doesn't do in the first place? So what's your point?

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

  • identicon
    dr evil, 25 Apr 2016 @ 8:15am

    then it IS agreed

    Remove previews / preview mode for all guild members. Just out of curiousity, what gave the guild standing over non-guild works? and why is any guild home page so hard to find
    with search engines?

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


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