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Amazon, MS, and Yahoo Against Google's Library 144

Posted by samzenpus
from the many-against-one dept.
anonymousNR writes "From the BBC, 'Three technology heavyweights are joining a coalition to fight Google's attempt to create what could be the world's largest virtual library. Amazon, Microsoft and Yahoo will sign up to the Open Book Alliance being spearheaded by the Internet Archive. They oppose a legal settlement that could make Google the main source for many online works. "Google is trying to monopolise the library system," the Internet Archive's founder Brewster Kahle said.'"
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Amazon, MS, and Yahoo Against Google's Library

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  • Open X Alliance (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ShaggyZet (74769) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:24PM (#29153035) Homepage

    1. Competitor is kicking your ass at X
    2. Form Open X Alliance
    3. Profit!

    • Re:Open X Alliance (Score:4, Informative)

      by FooAtWFU (699187) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:43PM (#29153125) Homepage
      I'm fairly sure that the Internet Archive is a nonprofit.
      • Re:Open X Alliance (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday August 21, 2009 @11:15PM (#29153263)

        I'm fairly sure that the Internet Archive is a nonprofit.

        Yep. Ironically Kahle started it the same year Larry Page started the research project which became google.

        But, even if it is a non-profit that doesn't mean MS/Yahoo/Amazon aren't supporting it for their own reasons. I just hope Kahle is shrewed enough to milk as much support out of these new-found 'friends' as he can without giving away the cow.

        Google's initiative is remarkably one-sided. But a lot of the opposition seems to be from 'old-media' types who want to keep things locked up in dead trees and paywalls rather than a solution that opens up as much information to as many people as possible. Kahle's got the opportunity to do not just the right thing, but the best thing, I hope he can get away with it.

        • by autophile (640621)

          I just hope Kahle is shrewed enough...

          If so, perhaps he could tame them.

        • by Ankh (19084)

          One problem with all this that I see is that the quality seems awfully spotty, but usually pretty low. Which means one day it'll have to be done again. Google's main goal is to have as much content as possible, so as to drive advertising revenue. Here's a short extract from a Google book (try it, look through the text of them), showing how well Google is preserving our shared heritage:
          [[
          SAAVEDRA-FAXARDO (OfBooiBa), a SpMishfipolU

          ileal and moral writer,' was bora* May 6^ l58e^>atiAlgaMMm

          iittbe kiDgddm

          • I would really be surprised if they weren't also storing high-resolution bitmaps.
            The physical scanning is the hardest part, no way would they be foolish enough to throw out the basic results of those labors.
            They can always OCR a file once their algorithms improve. Or outsource it to the 3rd world for a human to to 100 pages a day for $4 or less.

          • by fritsd (924429)
            Well it was obviously a piece of a biography of Don Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra [wikipedia.org] (sheesh!). You mean you couldn't read it? :-)
            Probably this page would benefit from being re-scanned. Such a thing could be found out and corrected, if all those scanned books would be processed in some kind of Project Gutenberg Distributed Proofreaders [pgdp.net]-like fashion. OCR is still a bit of an artform at the moment, as far as I'm aware.
            I'm looking forward to PGDP (or anyone else really) coming up with a plan for social website
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        They may be but Amazon, MS and Yahoo are not and they stand to benefit from this too. They're not doing it for the non-profit.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by AmberBlackCat (829689)
      Leave Mozilla out of this.
    • Er, exactly how often do "open" and "profit" coincide, anyway? They appear to contradict each other at first glance.

      Or did you just forget the ??? step?

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        They coincide when you're not the one with all the control.

      • by ShaggyZet (74769)

        Yeah, I wasn't sure where to put the ???. But, I think that "open" doesn't always mean "open" in the same sense that we'd all like it too. Mostly I was poking fun at Google's Open Handset Alliance, which may be "open", but at the end of the day has most of the same restrictions that the iPhone does in practical terms. But that's another topic entirely.

        • I think that "open" doesn't always mean "open" in the same sense that we'd all like it to.

          For example, MS Windows is the most open OS there has ever been! It opens its legs and every orifice it has when connecting to internet...

      • The seem to be coinciding pretty well for Red Hat...
    • Do you mean open as in free, or open as in venus fly trap?

      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by SilverJets (131916)

        It may be open as in free right now but with Micro$oft and Amazon involved pretty soon it will be "not-open-at-all, pay through the nose for DRM'd crap that you can only view on their proprietary device".

    • 1. Competitor is kicking your ass at X
      2. Form Open X Alliance
      3. Profit!

      Hopefully where:

        taking_a_crap X murder

    • Is that where X.org came from? ;-)

  • by symbolset (646467) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:27PM (#29153045) Journal
    It's about depriving us of access to out of print books. That is all.
    • by Brian Gordon (987471) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:37PM (#29153103)

      This. If Amazon had any intention of selling these books, they'd be selling these books! They just don't like that Google is getting a slice of their market.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        If Amazon had any intention of selling these books, they'd be selling these books!

        I thought that was the point of that Kindle thingy. However, I could be wrong; I'm not very familiar with the device

        No, wait, I see where I'm going wrong. For all that DRM, Amazon is selling licenses to view the texts, rather than selling the books themselves. Never mind.

        • by symbolset (646467)

          I happened to be on a plane recently with the unspeakable pundit of SCO fame. The one who's adored throughout slashdot and groklaw for his insightful commentary. Starts with the "End" and ends early, phonetically.

          The guy had a Kindle. You couldn't pay me to take the damned thing now. I don't care if it comes with the Library of Alexandria in html with illustrations in PNG and audio books of the great greek philosophers read by the authors themselves. If someone brings one in my house I'm smashing it.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Joe Tie. (567096)
            Was he wearing shoes, and have you decided you're anti-shoe as well because of this?
      • Uuum... if they're not selling them, it's not their market, is it?

        You can't have it both ways. Either they are getting a slice of their market. Or they are not selling these books.

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Google is opening up access to book A which discusses same topics as book B. Amazon makes profit by selling book B. People don't buy book B anymore.

      • Hello? McFly?
         
        Amazon has been operating a marketplace for used and out of print books for over a fucking decade.

        • by HiThere (15173)

          Yeah. But they don't (didn't?) make any guarantees that you'll get what you paid for. Or anything at all even.

          I used that "service" twice. Never again. It blighted my thoughts towards Amazon before the Kindle even showed up. Now I prefer to purchase elsewhere. If I must buy before I receive, then my local bookstore is quite willing to place orders. And they guarantee that when I order a used book, I'll either get a used book or not be charged. (They do want payment in advance, but unlike Amazon, the

    • by KliX (164895) on Friday August 21, 2009 @11:16PM (#29153271)

      We have no access to out of print books. That's kinda the point.

    • Q: Why is starting a comment in the Subject: line irritating?
  • But of course (Score:4, Informative)

    by Vinegar Joe (998110) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:28PM (#29153055)

    Microsoft won't have any complaints about Corbis and its buying up of images and their publication rights. Especially since Corbis was founded by Bill Gates.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corbis [wikipedia.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Knowledge is power. Letting Google control too much knowledge will give them a lot of power. Power corrupts.

    Seriously, I'd much prefer an open database of scanned works rather than letting one company negotiate a deal.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Those companies already have an open database of scanned works hosted by the Internet Archive. You are free to use it and ignore Google's larger, indexed library.

      • by Trepidity (597) <<gro.hsikcah> <ta> <todhsals-muiriled>> on Saturday August 22, 2009 @12:14AM (#29153505)

        The complaint, though, is that Google alone will have access to in-copyright but unknown-author books, as part of the terms of the settlement. It's a weird sort of legal loophole in that nobody normally would have access, but if Google successfully settles a class-action lawsuit, then the class representatives can give Google permission on behalf of the class members. The only way for anyone else to get similar permission would be to either contact these unknown authors individually, or find a way to get a class-action lawsuit filed against them that would enable them to negotiate a similar settlement.

        • by Kirijini (214824)

          The complaint, though, is that Google alone will have access to in-copyright but unknown-author books, as part of the terms of the settlement. It's a weird sort of legal loophole in that nobody normally would have access, but if Google successfully settles a class-action lawsuit, then the class representatives can give Google permission on behalf of the class members. The only way for anyone else to get similar permission would be to either contact these unknown authors individually, or find a way to get a class-action lawsuit filed against them that would enable them to negotiate a similar settlement.

          So the only way to compete in this "market" is to do the same thing that Google did to get into the "market"?

          Sounds to me like if a bunch of companies who make gadget X got together (ie, colluded) to stop some other company from building a factory that makes widget Y, because widget Y might cut into gadget X's market-space. If gadget X makers want to control the market, they gotta build factories to make widget Y.

          • by Trepidity (597) <<gro.hsikcah> <ta> <todhsals-muiriled>> on Saturday August 22, 2009 @02:39AM (#29153951)

            Well, there's no real official way into the market. If they just started violating copyright, it's possible someone might file a class-action lawsuit against them, and possible they might be able to negotiate some sort of settlement similar to the one Google got. But it's not at all clear that that would be the outcome. Google's basically found a very clever way of using the class-action mechanism's preclusion to violate the copyright of people who haven't agreed, because class-action lawsuits are opt-out rather than opt-in.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Stuntmonkey (557875)

      Seriously, I'd much prefer an open database of scanned works rather than letting one company negotiate a deal.

      It is a nontrivial exercise to obtain high-quality scans of 20+ million books. The scanning must be done non-destructively, since nearly all of these books are out of print. This means someone/something turning pages and taking pictures. It costs most archivists hundreds of dollars to scan each book this way. Which is fine if you're the Brewster Kahle trying to compile a very small collection.

  • by allcaps (1617499)
    They aren't monopolizing anything; they're cornering the market. Huge difference.
  • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:32PM (#29153081)
    So what exactly is "open" about the Open Book Alliance? Or was the name chosen for being a bad play on words.
    • You must be new here, when non-Open Source companies are involved, the "Open" usually precedes a few silent vowels and consonants (spaces too) and that if you were a native speaker of the marketing drone language, you would recognize that "Open " (the space is important), when used in the phrase, really expands out to "Open your wallet and pay for your Book" Alliance, (italics mine). Amazing how a little education goes a long way, eh?
  • Some has to do it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Skinkie (815924) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:40PM (#29153111) Homepage
    Personally I don't care if BigCorpG or BigCorpM does it. I mean, all we really want is books to be available to anyone that wants to read, study and enjoy books. Imagine a world of an endless alway-open library system, free and available to anything that can connect to the web if it wants to borrow something new. The scanning effort Google is doing will never come in time for some books, but on the other hand they did hype it. Form an alliance be against Google, but at least show you can do it better.
    • Re:Some has to do it (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Rog7 (182880) on Friday August 21, 2009 @10:48PM (#29153147)

      /Agreed.

      None of the companies in this coalition had the balls to step up and do this themselves. I'm guessing they didn't think there was any money in it. Now that Google is doing it, all they see is an opportunity to take a shot at their competitor in other markets.

      Note the wording of the writeup: "could make Google the main source". Not the only source.

      • None of the companies in this coalition had the balls to step up and do this themselves.

        Nobody wants to go up against the G alone, i mean they can fuck with your pagerank then how will people find your website!

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Runaway1956 (1322357)

          If Google diddles your page rank, you're probably just totally Bing-ed!

          Ya know, I don't recall ever seeing an advertisement on television for Google products. Google is just so good, people talk about them, and everyone starts using them. I've not even seen an advert for their out of print books - it's just viral on the net.

          Bing? Why do I need 127 commercials on my television to tell me how good Bing is? Hmmmmm.

          Anyway - back on subject. Let them form their little alliance. People won't notice anyway.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by maxume (22995)

            The ad program was to make sure you knew what Bing! was, not to make sure you use it. They obviously succeeded (though you are likely someone who would have encountered it anyway).

            • Fred: Hey you here about this new bing thing?
              Tom: Yeah, i saw an ad for it last night.
              Fred: So what is it?
              Tom: Meh, its just some new way to google stuff!

              • by maxume (22995)

                Sure, Google has a great brand when it comes to internet search. That doesn't mean Microsoft will be unable to make money providing a similar service (who knows if that will happen or not, but Kleenex and Bandaids both have competitors that must be making some money, even if they supply a generic, watered down alternative).

          • by logixoul (1046000)
            Google's Chrome ads [businessinsider.com]. Pretty damn good too.
        • by wfstanle (1188751)

          Why won't they mess with your page rank?

          Easy! If they did start with messing with the page ranking they would be perceived (correctly) as not being impartial. If they loose their aura of impartiality they loose everything. People will start to look for a better search engine.

      • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @01:31AM (#29153713) Journal

        None of the companies in this coalition had the balls to step up and do this themselves.

        Do what themselves? Get sued and settle?

        I don't think that anyone would object if terms of the settlement were universally applied to everyone - so that e.g. Amazon could also go pay some reasonable fee to provide out-of-print books, and compete with Google. But as it is, it's clearly not a level playing field anymore.

        • Thank you for being at least one person who has a clue in this discussion.
           
          I swear, if Google supported something and Microsoft protested it - it wouldn't matter what that something was, Slashdot would fall all over themselves to explain how it was a Good Thing and Microsoft was By Definition Wrong.

          • by HiThere (15173)

            If Google does something and MS protests it, I'll at least consider that Google was probably doing something good.

            In this case I've got a *bit* more information, so I'm willing to consider that MS might, just barely possibly, be on the correct side for a change, provided that it has nothing to do with the wording of ant settlement.

            Google definitely isn't all good, and I'm not at all pleased with their exclusive right to out of print books. This doesn't mean that I trust any group with MS as a component to

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MightyMartian (840721)

        And that's the constant non-strategy here. Google does something that no one else thought of, or at least no one else was capable or willing to dump resources into, becomes the early favorite, and all of a sudden, it's "hey they're monopolizing this, they're evil, let's gang up and stop 'em!"

        But that's the nature of competition, and being the first one out of the gate doesn't always mean you're the first one across the finish line. Still, my advice to anyone getting into bed with those bastards in Redmond

        • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @10:09AM (#29155175) Journal
          Have you read the settlement? As someone with a published book whose copyright is registered in the USA, I received a letter informing me that I am eligible to be considered a member of the class. The settlement outlined in this letter gives Google a large number of rights to in-copyright works that no one else has any way of getting. The only way for someone else to get the same terms is to infringe the copyright on a number of works, get sued, have the lawsuit made a class action and then persuade the other party to settle on the same terms they offered Google. There is no sensible way of any other company buying the rights outlined in the settlement. If, rather than a class-action settlement, this had been Google pushing for legislation requiring compulsory licensing of out-of-print books for a fixed fee in the same way that the US has compulsory licensing for recording rights to music, then no one would be complaining.

          Google's attitude to copyright is 'infringe and pay up if we're caught'. They are not pushing for copyright reform, they are just pushing for Google to get better terms than everyone else.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      You should care if BigCorpG or BigCorpM does it. In time, they will put DRM, file version incompatibilities, expiring licenses, margin adverts, "legal" censorship etc on those books.

      If these companies are the only ones with the ability to serve most of the world catalog of books, then we will all be the poorer for it.

      Freedom requires that out of copyright books and older books whose legal status is unclear (which is what we're talking about) be scannable/distributable by everyone, or else by no-one.

      • by mixmatch (957776)

        Freedom requires that out of copyright books and older books whose legal status is unclear (which is what we're talking about) be scannable/distributable by everyone, or else by no-one.

        Thats are really idiotic statement. I'd rather have restricted access to a resource than none at all. Your little idealistic thought would be great in a world where the books could digitize themselves at no cost or effort to anyone. That is not the case and the books in question are still protected by copyright, which by definition prevents them from being 'scannable/distributable by everyone'. Are you telling me you never access any copyrighted material because copyright restricts your "freedom requirement

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Thats are really idiotic statement. I'd rather have restricted access to a resource than none at all.

          I'd rather have competition. If there cannot be competition because of the law, then the law should be changed, or there should be no access until the pressure builds to change the laws.

          Your little idealistic thought would be great in a world where the books could digitize themselves at no cost or effort to anyone.

          Q: How does one produce a digital copy of a book?
          A: One person scans the book, an

  • The more information you have, the more powerful you are.

    Plain and simple... Google wanting to quantify everything from Planet Earth (Google Earth), to the Internet (this includes indexing all sites including wikipedia which is a massive store house of human Knowledge ).

    You can then govern this knowledge how you like... Google HAS worked with the US government in regards to Terrorists and definetely the horrible child porn... do you think Google did so without a 'Fee'? At least Administrative fees.

    Google if

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      Google may be 'good' (as we can tell) right now... but money corrupts absolutely at some point.

      A-fucking-men.

      When Google goes evil, not if, they are going to make Emperor Palpatine look like Barak Obama by comparision. It's going to be apocalyptic. Companies, industries and even nations are going to feel the weight of all their own secrets and knowledge crushing down upon them as it Google squashes all around it into an easily indexed pulp. We are going to see Google Private Eye franchises, Google protectio

    • by symbolset (646467) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @12:02AM (#29153447) Journal

      Their wealth abandoned and forgotten until the last copy is lost. Each was once a treasure, each contains something unique that once lost is gone forever. Who knows what nuggets of wisdom once enshrined in print might enlighten, inform, inspire or entertain a new generation? Nobody knows. We do know from dangling references in works of historical importance that a great deal has always been lost. Amazon knows that if people continue to have access to old books, they won't buy as many new ones. Microsoft knows that they must fight the Google on every front from the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli. Yahoo, well, we all know why they're following Microsoft in this. And so this vile crew set their goal not to do it better but to prevent this service to mankind.

      Google's effort fights the loss. It struggles to retain as much as possible against the inevitable creep of time. It's great, in my mind, that this goal even occurred to them. If some others want to compete in this worthy cause they should do so. But to fight against it is evil: not potential evil, but actual and active evil.

      Count me with the people who don't see the Internet Archive's angle in this. It's basically taking their "archive everything" web idea and applying it to dead tree based data. If preserving the drunken mumblings of every blogger is important, surely preventing the loss of the writings of Arnold J. Toynbee and the host of others like him must be more so. Not everything worth preserving has been published on the Internet. Yet.

    • by Artifakt (700173) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @12:34AM (#29153565)

      You're the second person to post some variation on the 'knowledge is power, and some people want to control that power' theme, and I just wanted to add that there's some real, specific reasons this applies at the present time to out of print books, for those who may think the meme is a little paranoid.
              A few weeks ago, I read a book on higher dimensional geometry (Geometry, Relativity, and the Fourth Dimension - by Rudolph v. B. Rucker). It was published in 1977 in a cheap Dover paperback edition. In the back, there's references to a large number of books and papers on Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, and abstract math, by some of the most famous names of 20th century physics (Einstein, Wheeler, Hawking, Everett, Minkowski, etc.) A tremendous number of these turn out to be out of print and unavailable through Amazon or other common sources. In one case, I was offered a copy of one work for over 300 dollars.
            There are also a lot of books on the 'occult' side of higher dimensions in the references. Rucker isn't pushing an esoteric knowledge angle - He quotes from several of these, but he's often very critical of the misinterpretations of science found in them, and while he sees some interesting features in the works of people like P. D. Ouspensky or J. W. Dunne, he comes down rather harder on Carlos Castaneda. A little checking on these found a surprising number of them were in print or available online at low costs, and most of the rest were being offered free online from various occult groups websites.
            What all this implies is left as an exercise for the astute reader. One example does not, by itself, make much of a trend, but it would be interesting if other such cases exist.

        .

  • Microsoft signed up for the Open Book Alliance, to fight a suspected monopoly?
    Of course, whenever there is a threat to the free market, we can always count on Microsoft to step up, the fearless defender of liberty and champion of the people.
    Oh, wait...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    MS obtain tech generally by stealing it, and lately by buying it.
    Yahoo has NEVER had any real decent tech that it developed. For example, yahoo made heavy use of Perl and BSD.
    Same for Amazon.

    All have ridden on the coattails of real giants.

    Mod away your fan bois.
    • Well, irrespective of how MS attained their 'giant' status, they are certainly a giant. When that elephant moves all the mice take notice.

      But I do agree with you about Yahoo! and Amazon, they were the hype companies of the '90s and they're still riding that inertia. Yeah, some of Amazon's business practices are certainly innovative (inventory management comes to mind), but a "giant"? No.
  • If I as a customer and citizen get to view whole books or book snippets for free while still having access to books as I used to have in the past, then why should I care if Google "monopolizes" the virtual library market or not?
    • by boarder8925 (714555) <thegreentrilby&gmail,com> on Saturday August 22, 2009 @12:19AM (#29153521) Homepage
      Because when you have access so much information controlled by one organization, you are wholly at the mercy of that organization. If Google decides that they don't want you reading some book for whatever reason, then you're shit out of luck unless you've got a hard copy of it. When you have an organization comprised of and accountable to several organizations, then you [ostensibly] have a lesser chance of shit like that happening.
      • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Saturday August 22, 2009 @01:35AM (#29153729) Homepage Journal

        If Google decides that they don't want you reading some book for whatever reason, then you're shit out of luck unless you've got a hard copy of it.

        So.. kinda like if Google did nothing?

        • by nycguy (892403)

          So.. kinda like if Google did nothing?

          No, not kinda like that. The comparison being made was having a single, commercial organization have sole control, versus a (presumably) non-commercial organization composed of or otherwise beholden to a group of commercial organizations. Google does deserve some "first mover" credit, but so does most any company that establishes a monopoly early on. The issue being raised is the potential for them to abuse their sole provider status for these works and the desire to ameliorate that by spreading the respon

        • It's not a matter of "as if Google did nothing" - it's a matter of, "because Google did something, neither I nor anyone can to it too." Google has become a gatekeeper. Where else have we seen this before? Ever heard of Lexis Nexis? It's a service that gives you access to the documents associated with legal proceedings all across the country. For a fee, that is. In other words, they've taken public property and cornered the market on a particular method of distribution. So if you want it, you have to do thin

          • by Zerth (26112)

            Google in no way prevents anyone else from doing this, Copyright and authors/publishers prevent anyone else from doing this.

            This is providing more access than before, not less.

  • I'm all for it. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by eldridgea (1249582)
    I'm all for an Open Alliance as opposed to a closed one, but I want what Google is offering.

    University all access passes for their libraries and students.

    Access to orphan books.

    Easy for authors to claim rights and be compensated.

    Easy reading on computers, mobile devices, and e-readers.

    If you guys can accomplish all this as quickly and completely as Google will, I'll support you.

    • Re:I'm all for it. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by shutdown -p now (807394) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @01:33AM (#29153721) Journal

      I'm all for an Open Alliance as opposed to a closed one, but I want what Google is offering.

      University all access passes for their libraries and students.

      Access to orphan books.

      Easy for authors to claim rights and be compensated.

      Easy reading on computers, mobile devices, and e-readers.

      If you guys can accomplish all this as quickly and completely as Google will, I'll support you.

      What I want here is for everyone to have the ability to pay fees and provide access to all those things the same way Google can do it now. It really is a very good thing they're doing, but I don't see why they should be the only ones legally able to do it.

      If after that happens, Google is still the only one actually doing it - or if they're the ones doing it best (which is quite likely - where Google starts first, it's usually hard to beat them) - I don't mind. The free market will settle it there. But let it be free first.

  • Fending off wild humans living with the Houyhnhnms allied with mythical female warriors, all while battling multiple sclerosis? Only you, misspelt ten raised to the hundredth power.
  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @01:45AM (#29153753) Homepage

    The Internet Archive has been fighting this, but not to prevent access to out of print books. They want get the same deal as Google - the right to redistribute out of print books unless the author/publisher opts out. What they object to is that the current deal is structured to give Google essentially exclusive rights to charge for access to out of print books. Libraries get one (1) terminal allowed to access the books for free; everything else goes behind a Google paywall.

    This is really a legal scheme to make copyright opt-in again, instead of opt-out. Before various revisions to US copyright law, you had to register copyrights and renew them to keep them in force. So out of print stuff slipped easily into the public domain. Under current law, most material is locked up by copyright, even if nobody cares.

  • by paleshadows (1127459) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @04:11AM (#29154221)
    Pamela Samuelson, a Professor at Berkeley (with a joint appointment in the School of Information and the School of Law) has written an interesting short article about the subject in the July 2009 issue of the Communication of the ACM, titled "Legally Speaking: The Dead Souls of the Google Booksearch Settlement [oreilly.com]". She argues that

    In the short run, the Google Book Search settlement will unquestionably bring about greater access to books collected by major research libraries over the years. But it is very worrisome that this agreement, which was negotiated in secret by Google and a few lawyers working for the Authors Guild and AAP (who will, by the way, get up to $45.5 million in fees for their work on the settlement--more than all of the authors combined!), will create two complementary monopolies with exclusive rights over a research corpus of this magnitude. Monopolies are prone to engage in many abuses.

    The Book Search agreement is not really a settlement of a dispute over whether scanning books to index them is fair use. It is a major restructuring of the book industry's future without meaningful government oversight. The market for digitized orphan books could be competitive, but will not be if this settlement is approved as is.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    What is the point of google books really?
    They dont make any free books freely available and only link to "buy this now" even for books and scans that are public domain globally.

    I can seriously not find any books on google books that are available freely that are published prior to ca 1830. Perhaps 1830 is the cutoff when their "I sell public domain books for profit" partners have agreed on with google?

    For example this book:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=9zuFXqw12hUC&q=strindberg&dq=strindberg&

    • Disclaimer: I will not attack your spelling, grammar, or punctuation in this post. It would waste even more of my readers' time, and be no challenge whatsoever. Besides, I'm surprised I'm bothering to respond to an AC at all, but I wanted desperately to clear up your misinformation.
      My rebuttal of your post follows.

      Firstly, a link is ridiculously simple to create, and greatly increases your chance of actually having the reader follow your browsing trail of breadcrumbs. Here, let me show you:

      http://books.goog [google.com]

      • by emj (15659)

        Here is some thing construtive from Google Books Strindbergs books in Swedish [google.com] and all books in any language [google.com]

        Thing is Strindberg died 1912 nothing significant can have been added since then. The problem is that we can't access a book that should be available, and it's unclear how to get access to it. As you say you don't care about what language it is, and that's one of the problems it's hard for Google to handle non english books.

  • The words pot, kettle and black come to mind.
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @07:59AM (#29154769) Homepage

    Much as I admire Kahle and archive.org, people have been talking about putting libraries online for decades, talking and talking and talking. archive.org has put a lot of good stuff online, but it's a grab-bag. Ditto the Library of Congress. Ditto university libraries. There are many places that offer interesting collections that make fascinating browsing.

    But as far as I know, if you have the title of a specific oldish book that you actually need or want to read, there are only two places you can go with any serious likelihood of finding them:

    a) Project Gutenberg

    b) Google Books

    I think Amazon, Microsoft, and Yahoo should shut up until they've done as much for readers as Project Gutenberg and Google have.

     

    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday August 22, 2009 @10:15AM (#29155211) Journal

      I think Amazon, Microsoft, and Yahoo should shut up until they've done as much for readers as Project Gutenberg and Google have.

      Commit wholesale copyright infringement and hope that they can get favourable terms from a settlement? Yes, I too wish Microsoft had done this. Given the recent awards for sharing a couple of dozen music tracks, I think, as a member of the class involved in the Google lawsuit, I would have been happy to simply not settle with Microsoft, charge them the minimum statutory damages rate for wilful infringement, bankrupt the company and never have to work again.

  • I'd care a lot more if after"Buying" a book, I was able to read it without having to be on-line at their website!! I had assumed that if I "Bought" the book I would own it and be able to download it and read it on my "not to be named" digital book reader! Since I can't, forget them!! Let someone else do it right!!
  • by IHateEverybody (75727) on Sunday August 23, 2009 @12:15AM (#29160707) Homepage Journal

    People used to form alliances to fight Microsoft. Now Microsoft is joining an alliance to fight Google. What is it he wrote in The Road Ahead about death coming swiftly to the market leader?

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