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Google Businesses The Internet Editorial

Reining in Google 552

Posted by Zonk
from the you-shall-not-pass dept.
CDPatten writes "The Washington Times has an op-ed piece by two writers typically on opposing sides of the isle, Pat Schroeder and Bob Barr. The article is brief, but overwhelmingly opposes the Google Print service. From the article 'Not only is Google trying to rewrite copyright law, it is also crushing creativity ...Google envisions a world in which all content is free; and of course, it controls the portal through which Internet user's access that content. It would completely devalue everyone else's property and massively increase the value of its own.'. It sounds to me like they might be slightly peeved that Google is resuming the scanning.
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Reining in Google

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  • by sbaker (47485) * on Thursday November 03, 2005 @09:48AM (#13940295) Homepage
    I don't see any difference between what Google are doing here and what they do to index web sites.

    The roam the web - they take local copies of every web page - they index those pages - then they display a 'snippet' of the page in response to a search query.

    Same deal with the books. Scan them into a private archive, index the archive - display the title and a sentence or two of content to provide context. I see no problem with that.

    What is problematic (both with the Web indexing and Book indexing) is the Google 'cache' - where you can get the content of the web page from Googles cache if the original web page is missing or slow. That is (in my opinion) a breach of the Web page owner's copyright - and would be a breech of the book's copyright too.

    However, the indexing service that Google (and others) provide for the Web is the only thing that makes the Internet useful. Doing that for books would be of HUGE benefit to mankind and absolutely must be allowed - even if copyright law has to be changed to make it happen.

    Let's think carefully about the 'Google cache' thing though - that's dubious because it allows people access to content without going through the content provider's access mechanisms. That's the thing that deprives the author of value. Indexing actually increases the value of a work because it allows people to find it - and therefore increases the pool of potential purchasers by an enormous factor.

    Google indexing should be the savior of printed media and authors should support it.

    Google caching is morally dubious.
    • by KiloByte (825081)
      Let's think carefully about the 'Google cache' thing though - that's dubious because it allows people access to content without going through the content provider's access mechanisms.
      For things the "content providers" already made publicly available, for crying out loud. What you want to do, is applying extra restrictions management over what was emitted to the public. If you want that "content" to be private, you know how to restrict it in the first place, Google will obey your request.

      And for books, Goo
      • by Zacha (581899) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @10:18AM (#13940471)
        Not originally. At first, things like the New York Times were cached and able to be searched; that is, the articles they were trying to make people pay for. The NYT asked Google to take those pages down.

        And for books, Google Print scans books for which the copyright has already expired.
        No. That's the Yahoo and Microsoft versions. Google will scan copyrighted books without explicit permission. See this [csmonitor.com] article, by way of example.

        "The Google project ... includes both public domain works and printed materials under copyright, although it would handle and display these two differently.
        ...
        The OCA [Open Content Alliance] will seek to digitize all public domain works, but only copyright material for which they gain explicit consent from the publisher. Made up of Google competitors Yahoo! and the Microsoft Network (MSN)"
      • I don't think the law supports your arguments about "publicly available". Copyright still applies to websites in general. Just because an image or text is on the web doesn't mean it's legal to copy entire pages and republish them under your own name, for instace.
    • On the web, there are a variety mechanisms that store 100% copies of webpages and images: corporate/ISP/college proxies, individual's browser caches, and to some extent the search engines themselves. Also, it's almost become standard operating practice that these kinds of things are opt-out, just like the cache is [google.com]. Though I don't know how exactly that fits into the four factors of US fair-use law [wikipedia.org].
    • by shanen (462549)
      I think you're completely missing the boat here. When someone puts something on the Web, they have agreed to try to make it visible, and Google is serving their interests by making it more visible.

      The conflict of Google caching is not that they scan pages and use that content for indexing and search results, but that they allow the cached content to remain available even after the authors have changed the site so those keywords no longer exist. I frankly think it's difficult to justify that use of caching

      • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @11:05AM (#13940786)
        When someone puts something on the Web, they have agreed to try to make it visible,

        ...on their web site...

        and Google is serving their interests by making it more visible.

        But who are we to say that for someone else's material?

        It's very easy to take the public-spirited view in any intellectual property debate, be it on copyright or patents or whatever. Allowing anyone to control access to or use of information is (almost) always against the public interest in any isolated case and once the information has already been published. But you have to consider the bigger picture, which is why concepts like copyright exist in law.

        Personally, I agree with the original reply that started this subthread: things like Google Cache and the Wayback Machine are on very dubious ground, both legally and ethically. It isn't a no-brainer that these caching systems are of benefit to the original creators of the material. I've enumerated some reasons that I believe this before, but probably the three most important are:

        • potential financial damage (for example, not seeing ads on the original site)
        • potential disruption of feedback (not getting an accurate idea of numbers of page impressions, click-throughs, referrers, etc.)
        • presenting out of date or incorrect information that's been removed from the real site.

        Caching/archival services disrupt all of these things, potentially damaging the interests of the content provider. Those interests are protected by copyright to encourage them to offer the content to the public in the first place, and thus I have a problem with violating the letter and/or spirit of copyright law to set up a cache. If you want to offer such a service, by all means do, but make it opt-in; "You can just disable it with robots.txt/by e-mailing us at.../by setting up a password" really isn't good enough.

        Although commercial entities can be killed off by the unfortunate side effects of dubious caching, this isn't automatically a money issue, either. For example, I help to run a relatively large web site for a local club, and we rely on server logs to see which links visitors do and don't follow and which pages they want to get to from which other pages. We use this information to improve the links and menus on our site. We have no commercial stake here; this is a non-profit organisation, providing the site purely to help our members and anyone else with common interests. However, if everyone started seeing our site indirectly via Google Cache or whatever, we couldn't do this because our server logs would be empty, and therefore we couldn't continue to update our site to better provide for our visitors.

        We also update our content regularly, sometimes even providing information in an afternoon that's relevant only to the same evening. Yes, we make mistakes occasionally too, and have to fix them. Having a cache that's out of date by even a couple of hours could spoil a whole evening for one of our members who missed a last-minute announcement or saw cached data that was copied while there was a mistake on the site that had since been fixed.

        None of this is in either our interests or that of our members/random visitors interested in our stuff, and there's not a single financial consideration in any of the above problems. So no, Google Cache isn't automatically serving the interests of either the copyright holder or the general public, and more to the point, it's not up to them to decide what's in the best interests of others and whether it's OK to break the law on that basis.

    • by scolby (838499)
      There is a HUGE difference between indexing a web site and indexing a printed work.
      Indexing a web site leads people to that actual web site, encouraging the user to do the things that will make money for that web site. In this case, Google makes money helping others make money.
      Indexing a printed work in no leads to the user actually doing anything that will make money for the person(s) responsible for that work. Although Google makes money in this scenario, the owners of that content do not. This is w
      • by sbaker (47485) *
        > Indexing a printed work in no leads to the user actually doing anything that will
        > make money for the person(s) responsible for that work.

        How not?

        How is this different from the list of citations at the end of a scientific paper?

        How else do you lead someone to something that'll make money for the author?

        1) You quote the title of the work, the name of the author and the name of the publisher. I'm pretty sure Google will do that.

        2) You might provide a link to a website where you can purchase the book.
      • Indexing a printed work in no leads to the user actually doing anything that will make money for the person(s) responsible for that work.

        Doing anything like, oh... buying the book?

        While O'Reilly Books are seriously cool people, they aren't publishing just for the fun of it. They're out to make some money (although they're not completely averse to having fun [oreilly.com] while doing it). They're also, judging by bookshelves in local geek circles and by the cover prices I've been paying, doing a decent job of it.

        So

    • The big difference between a "book data" cache and a web content cache is that web data is already freely available on the web. It's hard for someone to argue that Google has deprived them of anything by distributing their copyrighted information (except maybe tracking info they would get from someone visiting their site directly - which may be fairly significant in some cases) whereas an author has not already made their information freely available. Additionally, depending on the content of the book, thei
    • Google caching is morally dubious.

      That's silly. Google caching is, morally, no different from anybody else's caching. The HTTP protocol has been designed, since early days, to support caching. Caching is a good thing, generally, because it speeds up access to web pages, decreases network congestion, and mitigates the "slashdot effect". There are a huge number of caches deployed across the internet, and you may be reading this content via a cache without even knowing it. Lots of ISPs deploy HTTP caches,

    • While I am 100% pro-google-print, I think there is a HUGE difference between indexing webpages and indexing a book. Webpages (at least those indexed by Google) are all accessible for free to everyone. Books are not. You have to pay to get one (even if only a subscription to a library).

      Now I am not saying that it is bad to index books. I am saying that there is a difference in the procedure.

      But this was to be expected. You deprive the printing companies from a bit of their control over their content. They wi
  • Wait (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mark_MF-WN (678030) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @09:50AM (#13940310)
    Wait a minute. Are these guys saying that Google is some sort... BUSINESS?! Good god!
    • Yeah, for shame!!! They provide a search engine that has served millions for a decade [or so] and when they make money it must because they're evil!

      That said, [to the article author] get a grip. You don't have to use google to "use the web". Other search engines still exist.

      Tom
      • They provide a search engine that has served millions for a decade [or so]

        Or even just five years, yes I am picky.
  • by liquidpele (663430) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @09:52AM (#13940325) Journal
    Google is scanning books! Start burning the hard copies! Copyright law will be rewritten! People will only use google, even if the information is free to other companies and search engines as well! The sky is falling! This is totally different than everyone using Windows! A pig just flew out of my ass!
    • A pig just flew out of my ass!

      Ah. and sadly, that explains goatse.

    • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday November 03, 2005 @11:12AM (#13940850) Homepage
      Their absolutely right! No one is going to try to write anything creative anymore. In fact, I was right about to finish writing a book, but now that I found out someone might read something I wrote without paying, I'm just going to trash the whole thing.

      So, now how do I get paid for writing this post? I don't? All right, that's it! ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H

  • by MarkEst1973 (769601) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @09:53AM (#13940331)

    1. The Washington Times != The Washington Post. One is a bastion of DC journalism. The other is only slightly better than a tabloid.

    2. Let Google scan. Let me search. Only by having Google's (or someone's) index available will I be able to easily find a book I never knew existed. The Dewey Decimal System's got nothing on full text indexing.

    • by k98sven (324383) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @10:20AM (#13940484) Journal
      1. The Washington Times != The Washington Post. One is a bastion of DC journalism. The other is only slightly better than a tabloid.

      Uh, I wouldn't even say the Washington Times is that good even.

      It was founded by the Moonies, which is IMHO, a cult and certainly not an uncontroversial organization by any other standards.

      Add to that the fact that it was explicitly created by Moon to create an 'alternative' to the Post that was more in line with his own opinions. Which is just a wonderful premise to start a quality newspaper on. Not.

      (Not that there's anything wrong with op-eds. But if it's the raison d'etre of your paper, I wouldn't call it a 'newspaper'.)

      Ok, but enough shooting the messenger.. The actual op-ed piece speaks for itself. It's a load of baloney. Filled with a nonsense interpretation of copyright law, tons of statements and allegations without any arguments or reasoning to back them up.

      And more than a few straw-men like: "Our laws say if you wish to copy someone's work, you must get their permission. Google wants to trash that."

      Google wants to abolish copyright laws. Riiight. (sarcasm)

      • Uh, I wouldn't even say the Washington Times is that good even.

        It was founded by the Moonies, which is IMHO, a cult and certainly not an uncontroversial organization by any other standards.

        Let's not forget that "Rev." Moon recently had himself crowned the prince of peace in an elobarate self-congratulatory ceremony. Someone who does that is probably not out to establish an objective newspaper.

        The actual op-ed piece speaks for itself. It's a load of baloney. Filled with a nonsense interpretation of c

    • The other is only slightly better than a tabloid.

      Tabloid is a term of size, or physical format. It has nothing to do with content. Not having seen the paper in question, I can't say which it is, but, for instance, The New York Times is a broadsheet, and The New York Post is a tabloid.

  • While I can enjoy the NY times quite comfortably from my Tablet PC, I think I'm in the minority. A lot of people still will want their paper with their coffee and bagel, and just can't stand reading *anything* on the computer. My friend will print off even a 1 page article, instead of just reading it on the desktop. I think libraries should be a bit more concerned. I think they're going to drop off face of the earth this century!
  • by Steve B (42864) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @09:57AM (#13940355)
    And so we find ourselves joining together to fight a $90 billion company bent on unilaterally changing copyright law to their benefit

    Who wants to start posting Barr and Schroeder's voting records?

    Or does their objection to doing it "unilaterally" merely mean "our old colleages aren't getting their cut"?

  • While I'm not sure how I feel about whether or not it's fair use (I think that Google's activity may enable fair use, but not be fair use in itself), it certainly has the potential to be a disruptive technology in terms of research.

    People tend to be afraid of disruption. It's natural. Google's got the pockets to deal with the repercussions, so I'm happy to let it play itself out, even if they get spanked with a billion dollar judgement against them.

  • I think copyright law needs to be changed anyway. Things are getting ridiculous. Perhaps not eliminate copyright altogether but put a single term limit on copyright of any work, 15 or 20 years and once that term is up, the work becomes public domain. I am 100% for google's scanning project. Go Google!
    • "Perhaps not eliminate copyright altogether"

      You dont need to eliminate copyright altogether to eliminate the negative properties of it altogether.

      The concept of copyright should be built upon the foundation of compensating the authors, not upon restricting everyone elses rights to do what they wish with their own property or creating artificial scarcity through monopoly.

      Want the government to encourage writing or other arts? Then it can damn well put its money where its mouth is and actually pay for it stra
  • by It doesn't come easy (695416) * on Thursday November 03, 2005 @09:59AM (#13940364) Journal
    Either what Google is doing is allowed by copyright law, or it's not. The courts will decide, the losers will appeal, and eventually we will have a final ruling. Personally, I think a searchable index might just boost sales of lesser known books (considering that the mainstream bookstores only carry the most "popular" books and if you're not carried by the Barnes & Nobles, et al, you don't have much chance to become known to most of the population).
    • by EpsCylonB (307640) <{eps} {at} {epscylonb.com}> on Thursday November 03, 2005 @10:26AM (#13940519) Homepage
      Either what Google is doing is allowed by copyright law, or it's not. The courts will decide, the losers will appeal, and eventually we will have a final ruling.

      But what if the law is wrong ?. Copyright was originally supposed to be a contract between an artist and soceity, the deal is that your work will be protected for a period of time in order to encourage you to make further cultural contributions. How many of these books that google is scanning are over 30 years old ?, has the author not had enough time to profit from his work ?.

      Copyright in the US (and also in the UK shamefully) is now effectively infinite. Copyright is a anti capitalist monopoly that rewards people for the work of others and puts a price on our culture. Imagine if shaespeare's plays were under copyright today.

      One of the great ironies of this copyright law is that Disney, one of the main proponents of extensions, would have been unable to rip off the all those fairy tales had todays copyright laws existed a 100 years ago.
  • Our laws say if you wish to copy someone's work, you must get their permission.

    It seems obvious that he sees "fair use" as something to be dismissed (as he does in the next paragraph).

    I'm unclear as to why he doesn't have problem with book reviews (which often display portions of a book) or student's book reports. The courts have decided that copyright material can be presented without permission for a number of uses. While this seems completely reasonable to me, I suspect the courts get to decide t
    • From the EFF analysis:
      Amount and Substantiality of the Portion Used: Favors Google. Google appears to be copying only as much as necessary (if you are enabling full-text searching, you need the full text), and only tiny snippets are made publicly accessible. Once again, Google looks a lot more like Arriba Soft than MP3.com.

      They may only be providing snippets, but they're copying the whole damn thing.
  • typically on opposing sides of the [sic] isle

    Rest assured they are both on the same side of the "isle", the one with a tropical island nest paid for by Thurston Howell III, er, the book publishers.

    Bob Barr no doubt made plenty of friends in publishing when he recently wrote a book [townhall.com]. Book royalties are a convenient way of laundering money bound for politicians (Newt Gingrich, Hillary Clinton, etc.) since they are ostensibly for something the person did rather than being outright contributions.

    This controversy
  • I think downloading a new graphic during the holidays is a small price to pay to be able to search through all of mans literature with a single click. And if Google does charge a price (you mean they want to make money?) and we think it's unfair, competition will arrive to balance it out. It's not like once google absorbs all the info that our libraries worldwide will explode and google will have a complete monopoly on information.

    If publishers and authors have to spend all their time policing Google for wo
  • by mpapet (761907) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @09:59AM (#13940368) Homepage
    I love it when they intentionally steer away from the whole idea of indexing books. Why am I not surprised?

    For those who may not be aware, their objective is not to have the entire book available on the internet because it won't be or shouldn't be. They'll have enough of the book (whatever that is) to help you find the name/author/etc of the book then tell you where to find the book. (Amazon, library)

  • by Jerk City Troll (661616) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @10:00AM (#13940372) Homepage

    I hear there are places where there are shelves after shelves of books, conveniently organized for quick reference, all at the disposal of the public, free of charge. What's more, these places, sometimes called "libraries", will even let you photocopy any of the material you find there for only the cost of the copy machine! Just imagine how much creativity is being stifled by these rackets! If we hope to save our society from the menace of intellectual property theft, we should be shutting them down, and not allowing Google start doing the same!

  • Contradictions (Score:5, Informative)

    by jurt1235 (834677) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @10:02AM (#13940382) Homepage
    If Google crushes copyright law, and in that proces makes all content free, than the value of all other content will go down, but the value of Google will not go up. With a sufficiently crushed copyright law under which you can copy everything (to a certain extent), nothing will stop another company (lets say Yahoo, or Microsoft) to do the same, and have the same information available, maybe even by copying it from Google.
    It just sounds to me that they are afraid of change. Creativity does not by definition depend on money. Why would there be thousands of art blogs, musicians, and writers who just publish it all for free. Some of them are really good, or even mainstream and could sell, but the commercial copyright industry just has no interest since they already have a few others, and profit margins would just go down when you add one more.
  • I always think it's interesting that people state this sort of opinion without actually providing any evidence that this kind of move by Google actually reduces creativity. Sure, their model for the way things are produced predicts this, but why is their model valid? What about a model where one posits that having all (or even just more) information freely available for anyone's use actually increases the overall creative output of society because creators have more raw material to work with? Though I pr
  • Retard (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Digital Vomit (891734) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @10:03AM (#13940391) Homepage Journal
    Not only is Google trying to rewrite copyright law, it is also crushing creativity

    As opposed to what lobbyists have done, rewriting copyright laws (extending them infinitely) and crushing creativity (you so much as write something similar to us and we release the lawyers)?

    ...Google envisions a world in which all content is free;

    We can only hope, for the good of all society, that this day comes soon.

    • To all the people that beleive that free content "crushes" creativity:

      Creativity is more obviously crushed by the idea that you should use your creativity to make money. Some examples:

      • How creative are Hollywood films? How much more creative are independant films that do not exist solely to make a profit?
      • How many local bands can't get radio time / aren't heard because of the MEGABANDS that have had millions of dollars put into them (so that a huge profit can be made off of them). Now, if you thin
  • by carlos_benj (140796) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @10:08AM (#13940412) Journal
    Good grief. Google's not making the works available. They're just making them searchable. The TV taping isn't a good analogy from either viewpoint as the television show will be watched in whole. What Google makes available would be akin to watching a one minute clip of the television show.

    I was going to argue against it stifling creativity, but I guess paranoia would keep you from writing new works as it's hard to type while running from imaginary enemies.

    The article claims Google has not defined what a "snippet" is. They go on to ask if it's a paragraph, a page or even a chapter..... This is willful ignorance as Google has provided examples of what a snippet will look like. Best to ignore what's out there so we can create the monster to look the way we want it to.....
  • I read this as Re-Ining in Google, and couldn't figure out what Ining was or why it'd need to be done over again. I think it's time for some coffee, and what better time than the fire drill that's set to happen in five minutes. Mmm, caffeine. Perhaps Ining has something to do with caffeination. If not, it should.
  • by Zacha (581899)
    "The creators and owners of these copyrighted works will not be compensated, nor has Google defined what a "snippet" is: a paragraph? A page? A chapter? A whole book?
    This is the better point of the article: who said that Google gets to decide what's fair use? It can't just be Google's say so, court decisions aside. Nor just the balance of opinion on the web.
    I admire Google's robust approach to copyright - that it's better to try things first, find out if you're right second. It's a very cool company. Bu
  • Libraries didn't make books and newspapers go away, did they? I can go into my local library and read the newspaper! FOR FREE! It's COMMUNISM! OHNOES!

    This debate happened a long time ago. The benefits to society from an educated populace with easy access to information vastly outweighs any harm that might come from shared access to the information to the producers.

    I'm suprised more of the public does not push for this; indeed, a digital library would be a great boon in many ways. Printed media is not going
  • Fair Use Misleading. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kefaa (76147) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @10:13AM (#13940437)
    I do believe in Copyrights (that alone may get this modded down to -255). However, if google lives up to the claim they will only provide snippets, how is that different than what any web site, quoting an author does. Is this web site in violation Dilbert -why you are wrong [megat.co.uk] by quoting from Dilbert? It appears fair use to me.

    Where google may have issues, is if anyone figures out a way to reconstruct a book in total. They would give people like this a lot of ammunition against them. Of course, the library does not prevent me from scanning a book if I take it home, but that is something that will be missed in the hype around it. I am not sure how they could prevent this, but these are some pretty smart guys.

    In this case, the authors sound more like they want a cut of the click through, regardless of sales. What may be interesting in the end is book sellers would be the most likely to advertise on Google Print. A "click here to buy this book" type of link.
    • by swillden (191260)

      However, if google lives up to the claim they will only provide snippets

      Rather than guessing about what they'll do, go check out the Google Print [google.com] beta site and see how it works. They also have a FAQ list [google.com] that describes it pretty well.

      To summarize, though:

      • For public domain books, Google allows you to read the entire book on-line. It appears they don't put any ads on these pages.
      • For copyrighted books scanned from libraries, Google:
        1. Only provides a few lines of text [google.com] around each search term.
        2. Will om [google.com]
  • by portwojc (201398) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @10:13AM (#13940445) Homepage
    And so we find ourselves joining together to fight a $90 billion company bent on unilaterally changing copyright law to their benefit and in turn denying publishers and authors the rights granted to them by the U.S. Constitution.

    It sucks when another company comes along and try and change the rules. It's ok when you do it though huh?

    Let's see as I understand it. You look for certain phrases through searching books scanned in on google. It finds those books and displays a page or so of the text (probably less). So you know what you searching for is actually found. Then you can if you want, now see if you can keep up, buy the book.

    Wow the authors and publishers really loose out. I see what they mean. Why would you want to sell more books? Google must be stopped!

    Didn't amazon do something like this already? Well at least a few pages of the book.

  • So if I'm an author and I write a book/novel/whatever and instead of people buying the book, they download it and read it for free. This is different from the whole iTunes issue as atleast money is exchanged for goods. This model is more like the old napster or bittorrent....

    If i'm going to spend a couple of years writing a book in the hopes that it makes money, I'd hope people that read it pay for it.

    -HockeyPuck
  • by el_womble (779715) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @10:14AM (#13940449) Homepage
    If I write a novel, and put on the floor in the street, somebody picks it up and reads it, they arn't violating copyright because they haven't create a copy.

    If I write the same novel and leave it on a public file server, if someone picks it up and reads it or saves it to disk they have made a copy of it (because thats how digital reading works) so they have violated copyright, unless I allow them the right to make one copy. So what happens the next time I open the file? Technically I'll have a copy on disk and a copy in memory - so I'll have two copies. Or worse, I decide I want to read it on a different computer, I copy it to the other computer, delete from the current computer and then read it on the other computer. As far as I'm concerned there is still only one copy, but in reality there are three: the copy marked for deletion on my harddrive, the copy on the other computers harddrive and the copy in memory. All this before we start getting our knickers in a twist about caching and registers!

    Digital data really stuggles with copyright, because even the most simple of actions require that the data be duplicated, and the reason we duplicate over transfer is because it's faster and safer. Once something is digitized good luck trying to keep control over its distribution.

    Googles actions here show a complete disregard for conventional copoyright. Taking a none digital medium and transcoding it to digital, then disitributing it on the web is not what fair use had in mind, and really should involve giving some money to the copyright holders, probably a lot of money.
    • It is really quite simple. You are allowed to copy copyrighted works all you want. What is illegal is either selling or giving those copies to someone else. There is a "fair use" exception that lets you use short snippets for review purposes.

      That's it. "Copying" is not illegal. Never has been. You can take a book of your shelf, rip it apart, create 5000 copies. All perfectly legal as long as you don't give/sell those copies.
      • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday November 03, 2005 @12:19PM (#13941538) Homepage Journal

        It is really quite simple. You are allowed to copy copyrighted works all you want. What is illegal is either selling or giving those copies to someone else. There is a "fair use" exception that lets you use short snippets for review purposes.

        That sounds very nice, but it's not true, at least in the US. According to section 106 of title 17 of the US Code:

        Subject to sections 107 through 122, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:

        (1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;

        Per the bolded bits, only the copyright owner has the legal right to make copies. Now, there are a whole bunch of exceptions to that, including Fair Use (section 107), reproduction by libraries (section 108), and a bunch of others.

        You can take a book of your shelf, rip it apart, create 5000 copies. All perfectly legal as long as you don't give/sell those copies.

        No, I'm pretty sure it is illegal for you to make those copies. Of course, if you don't give them away or sell them the publisher (a) won't have any reason to sue you for it and (b) wouldn't be able to get anything from you if they did sue you, because you made no profit. Historically, copyright infringement has been a civil issue, and although your copies infringe the copyrights, there is no loss over which the copyright holder can sue.

        As of a few years ago, copyright infringement became a criminal offense, and the 5000 copies you mention would seem to meet the requirements for the criminal statute (section 506). Again, though, if you didn't do anything with the copies other than store them in your basement, there's no way for the authorities to find out you've broken the law, and really no reason for them to bother even if they do find out.

      • I have heard that many times, and I think it would definately be good if our law was written that way. However I haven't found any authoritive legal sources to back that assertion up, and there are several things that lead me to think it incorrect.

        For starters, the way the law is written, copying appears to be protected privalege granted to the owner of the copyright. From Section 106 [copyright.gov] of the Copyright Act of 1976:

        Subject to sections 107 through 122, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusiv

  • Our laws say if you wish to copy someone's work, you must get their permission. Google wants to trash that.

    That's what I want to trash,too.

    Google envisions a world in which all content is free

    That's exactly the world in which I want to live.

    These lawsuits are needed to halt theft of intellectual property. To see it any other way is intellectually dishonest.

    I believe in freedom of access and distribution of all information content for all mankind. These lawsuits are theft of intellectual work

  • ...it is also crushing creativity....

    As a NaNoWriMo participant [nanowrimo.org], I had wondered where my creativity had gone last night. Damn you, Google! Now I'll never make it beyond 50,000 words.

  • by raddan (519638) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @10:27AM (#13940521)
    How aren't they able to see that allowing all published books to be searched online-- searched but not read -- will mean MORE REVENUE for publishers. This solves the "don't judge a book by it's cover" problem. The success of publishers like O'Reilly, who put huge excerpts of books on the web, and retailers like Amazon, who provide snippets for customers to read through, shows that providing a way of looking before you buy brings in MORE CUSTOMERS. And do we really need to point out... Google says that you won't be able to read the whole fucking book online!

    If we'd had a "Napster of books" that blew the doors off of print like it did for music, publishers would be beyond this now. I know the RIAA/MPAA take the stance that P2P has had a negative effect on the music/movies biz, but with the massive success of the iPod/iTMS/[insert favorite online music store] does anyone really beleive that anymore?

  • A lot of waffly claims that "Google is changing the law".

    No they're not. They're testing the law in a whole new field of endeavour. The courts will decide what the law is, and clearly neither side can claim a cut and dried legal watertight case till the court rules. Neither side can claim the other is "changing the law". The field is too new. Personally, I hope Google wins. We shall see.
  • by frankie (91710) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @10:30AM (#13940548) Journal
    She is not on the "opposing side" of anything except common decency. Pat sold her soul to the publishing industry years ago. She's the public face of the anti-library movement [washingtonpost.com] that would love to eliminate print ownership entirely and switch to a pay-per-read model.

    Claiming that Pat Schroeder still holds true to any of her former progressive Democratic views is like saying Arianna Huffington [thedetroitproject.com] is still a Republican.
  • by GerardM (535367) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @10:32AM (#13940563)
    As the publishing companies have an abysmal record of preserving the heritage; they leave it to libraries. History is full of important libraries that have burned with all its content.

    The argument that these people use is ONLY about copyright and how they THINK they might be worse off in this deal. Their reasoning is not at all why this is a good thing for the society and they do not even consider how it will benefit themselves.

    It is a well known but little understood fact that people who go to libraries are the ones most likely to buy books. It is as little understood that file sharers are the ones most likely to buy records.. You do not need to stretch your imagination to understand that when books are known courtesy of this program, that people will be interested in copies these often out of print books.

    Please wake up, you are robbing yourself when you spout this nonsence.

    Thanks,
          GerardM
  • by Vengeance (46019) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @10:38AM (#13940604)
    Dumb and Dumber, as far as I'm concerned. Did you ever see her on "Jeopardy", when she failed to come up with basic answers about the US government? Did you ever wonder why he so strongly opposed the will of the people that he wrote (and got passed) legislation to circumvent even PLACING a referendum on legalizing marijuana on the ballot? I don't want to hear or see what these two have to say, it simply brings down the general level of human discourse.

    Two wastes of horseflesh, they are.
  • Heaven forbid that I ever be able to find a book that I want. Anyone ever hear a line from a book and can't remember the title? Anybody else have trouble finding stuff thru the library's search system? My hand was raised twice.

    Sometimes the search system is so clunky that it is nearly unuseable, that happened to me in college while doing research papers. I had to have the help of a librarian many times to find usefull results. I learned a lot about boolean back then.
  • Google is the best thing to happen to humanity since language.
  • Pat Schroeder is president of the Association of American Publishers and a former member of Congress from Colorado. Bob Barr, a former member of the House Judiciary Committee, is an author, newspaper columnist and analyst for CNN.

    I guess the warranty on congressmen lasts as long as copyright does*.

    * See List of countries' copyright length - USA [wikipedia.org]
  • Behind all this rhetoric is actually the opposite of what Barr and Schroeder say. They are not afraid of Google scanning their content; the opt-out provision is trivial for big publishers to deal with. If Houghton-Mifflin doesn't want any of its books scanned, a single letter suffices.

    No, what they are afraid of is that with an opt-out policy, Google will pick up lots of content that they don't control and that provides cheap or free alternatives to what they sell at inflated prices. They rightfully fea
  • R.I.P. Copyright (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Thursday November 03, 2005 @11:27AM (#13941005) Homepage Journal
    As a writer and content creator, I'm a rarity -- I hate copyright.

    Why do we need it? I learned in business never to write or say anything proprietary that you don't want others to know.

    Copyright is basically using the force of government to enact a monopoly on thought. I'm not sure the process of thought should be regulated or licensed.

    The web's easy access to millions of commercial (ie, for profit) copyright works "for free" proves why copyright is outdated: people still buy content they could download freely.

    Why do people buy versus download?

    1. They appreciate the author's work and want to compensate them.
    2. They want to support the author's future work.
    3. The time-requirements or download quality is wors than buying the author's version.
    4. They're afraid of government force.

    I doubt the last is a big reason.

    I'm 31. I buy content as its time-cheaper than downloading. For the youth, the reverse is true. The major pirates can't vote, can't sign a contract and can't get credit. 6 years of "piracy" can set up their preferences for 50 years of purchasing.

    I say use the web to set up your future customers. Dump copyright.

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