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Old 09-21-2005   #1
dannysullivan
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Google Sued Over Google Print Library Scanning

We've had some past discussions on the Google Print library scanning project, namely:Now Google's actually being sued by authors over the program, as today's blog post explains more: Google's Library Scanning Project Heads to Court. Thoughts on this latest move?
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Old 09-21-2005   #2
PhilC
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Quote:
Copyrighted books are indexed to create an electronic card catalog and only snippets of the books are shown unless the content owner gives permission to show more.
The last I heard of this was that Google wanted an opt-out system, which was ridiculous, but I didn't know that they were only planning to display snippets - or is that something they've come up with since they put it on hold until an agreement could be reached?

Google is a Web search engine, and the Web functions much better with such engines than without them. But books are quite different. They are not part of the Web, and they don't need Web search engines in the way that websites need them. Google is perfectly free to move outside the Web by bringing books onto the Web, but they are not free to do it without the copyright holders' permissions.

Also, they are not free to make copies of entire books, which it seems they've done. I don't think that the intention to only publish snippets should be any sort of defense against copying entire works. As far as I know, nobody is allowed to copy a whole book that is still protercted by copyright laws, without permission. Imo, they are getting what they deserve.
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Old 09-22-2005   #3
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Only showing snippets has been there from the beginning, but it's something a lot of people and particular publishers don't seem to be aware of. They aren't publishing the books, and some feel they'll have fair use on their side. I postscripted some additional info on this to the blog post above.

They already make copies of entire copyrighted works by crawling the web. The principle is no different, and opt-out's been accepted there (though not seriously legally challenged). As far as they are concerned, they're essentially making a super card catalog of these books and don't feel they need permission, which some legal people also seem to agree with.

It was inevitable we'd finally see it go to court. That seems to be the only way we'll move from just legal opinions to actual legality with this.
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Old 09-22-2005   #4
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I've long objected to some of the things that the engines do - displaying the content of websites within their own site, for instance, and the copyright issue has been discussed many times. But we accept it because the benefits of search engines are so great - and we can opt out. But isn't the copying of a whole book against copyright law, regardless of the purpose? I may be mistaken, but I think it is, and, if it is, then Google is in violation of the law and should be called to account. It's not as though they just copied a couple of books for personal use, which I'm sure is against the law anyway. Copying whole libraries of books is a bit significant.

The engines probably break the law by violating website owners' copyright, but in doing it, they make the Web work a helluva lot better for everyone, including the website owners whose copyright is violated. But expanding into non-web areas where search engines aren't needed, and probably aren't even beneficial, and violating copyrights to do it, is going too far, imo.
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Old 09-26-2005   #5
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People keep mentioning "fair use" - BUT so far as I understand it, copyright does not simply extent to display, but also protection of electronic rights via STORAGE.

The Author's Guild has already sued for this before:
http://www.authorsguild.org/?article=23

More information on Electronic Rights:
http://www.sfwa.org/beware/electronic.html
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Old 09-26-2005   #6
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I agree with the goal here: to direct people to non-digital sources when they have the information that a person is looking for. However, this case really brings to the forefront the need for a solid non-profit search engine, whose sole purpose is to provide people with information. The DMCA provides an exception for non-profit archives, but Google is not a library; it is a for-profit entity.

I'm really interested to see how the courts will rule on the whole idea of having to opt-out of having your content copied by a search engine. Maybe this will be one step towards a better system than the completely unenforceable robots.txt protocol?
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Old 09-27-2005   #7
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Very interesting case. Seems to be a lot of similarities with what Napster was doing. Will be very important what the outcome is going to be IMO.

If Google happens to lose this one, the internet will definitely become far more commercial than it already is.
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Old 09-27-2005   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eileen kowalski
I agree with the goal here: to direct people to non-digital sources when they have the information that a person is looking for. However, this case really brings to the forefront the need for a solid non-profit search engine, whose sole purpose is to provide people with information. The DMCA provides an exception for non-profit archives, but Google is not a library; it is a for-profit entity.
I'm with Eileen.
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Old 09-27-2005   #9
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Quote:
The DMCA provides an exception for non-profit archives, but Google is not a library; it is a for-profit entity.
How does one spell Dublin Data centre DMCA isn't international law, either, AFAIK.

Personally, rather than US law, I would like to see an international effort on this. The UN isn't doing much for anyone lately, and don't seem to have much influence over much, perhaps they can take up the challenge?

I would hate to see anyone entity, be they private, State owned or sponsored or country-specific non-profit have the ownership of such data. Surely, the collective knowledge of mankind ideally should be freely available to all.

That seems a bit far out and unlikely, but just agreeing on a common format, using a copyleft licence for all the data would be an excellent start.
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Old 10-24-2005   #10
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Cool Google Print

Although I might not know the legalities by heart or even understand them thoroughly, I still think that Google should be allowed to at least show snippets of the books, like they are currently doing.

The one thing that I don’t understand is how it is copyright infringement when Google displays a snippet of the book in a separate, obvious “frame” or format. I’ve used block quotes all the time for reports and that’s not against copyright law. I, of course, do cite where my sources are from. But so does Google. They actually do one better by showing the copyright page and the cover of the book. There’s no mistaking where that snippet came from! If I memorized a poem and wrote it out in a note to my girlfriend without saying who it was by (maybe I forgot who actually wrote it, but acknowledging that I didn’t write it), is that against copyright law?

Also, Google doesn’t charge for this service. All it takes is signing up for a free Google account. I admit that they have an ad on the page, but I’ve been in many libraries with quite a few ads for all sorts of things all over the walls and doors. Plus, the ad is at the very bottom and kind of hard to notice unless you look down there.

I recently looked up “Dorian Gray”, the lead character of my favorite book, “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde. When I chose the first selection, I was brought to the “page viewer” window. In this view, it shows the author’s name, the ISBN number, and the words “copyrighted material” on every page.

Somehow, I got the idea that this was a copyrighted material and that Google wasn’t calling it its own, unique material; which would be copyright infringement.

My question is, can anyone tell me and everyone else exactly where (chapter, article, etc.) in the Copyright Law that it says what Google is doing (not exactly of course, but generally) is against this law?

I also agree with what Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google says about Google Print.
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Old 10-24-2005   #11
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The key is that publishers will lose money, and that is not going to stop causing them to go against Google on this one.
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