If Google Books deal is anticompetitive then DOJ is anti-knowledge

If Google Books deal is anticompetitive then DOJ is anti-knowledge

Summary: Anyone care to tell me when the Department of Justice will butt out of the Google Books deal? Their latest claim that a revised settlement is anticompetitive further distances us from a rich, open knowledge store and the preservation of works that would otherwise sit, molding and collecting dust in library stacks somewhere.

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Anyone care to tell me when the Department of Justice will butt out of the Google Books deal? Their latest claim that a revised settlement is anticompetitive further distances us from a rich, open knowledge store and the preservation of works that would otherwise sit, molding and collecting dust in library stacks somewhere. It also cuts off a potential revenue stream for authors and their estates who certainly aren't collecting any more royalties on out-of-print books or who might have limited distribution options.

According to the New York Times,

[The ruling] said the changes were not enough to placate concerns that the deal would grant Google a monopoly over millions of orphan works, meaning books whose right holders are unknown or cannot be found.

Right. So it's better to make sure that no one can read the books. It's better to wait for someone other than Google who has the technology, capital, and wherewithal to make this happen and compete with Google. How long will we be waiting to find someone with as much money as Google who wants to invest millions in scanning technology and who is sitting on petabytes of storage and massive datacenters? The answer? A long bloody time.

Authors are waiting on this deal to potentially find new revenue streams. Academics and bibliophiles are waiting to have rich stores of literature opened up online. Grandmothers are waiting to search for an obscure knitting book. Or something like that. Regardless, the time has come, the e-reader technology is here, and Google's doing a bang-up job on the scanning. Enough already, DOJ. Show me one competitor who just might be able to do what Google is doing (and who actually wants to do it) and maybe this conversation should continue. Until then, bring on the scanners!

Topics: Enterprise Software, Banking, Data Centers, Google, Hardware, Storage

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

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47 comments
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  • If Google Books deal is anticompetitive then DOJ is anti-knowledge

    Oh no! Someone is harming your beloved Google! The DOJ should in fact step in and stop Google from stealing other's work. Not only should they be charged with anticompetitive behavior but throw theft in there as well. Despite what you might think Google cannot just around pretending they are the almighty and do whatever they want. They are in for a big surprise when they learn the world does not revolve around them.
    Loverock Davidson
    • @LD

      Are you saying that Google is troll bait?
      Isocrates
      • good article

        Thank you for making such a nice website.
        <a href="http://www.telefonkatalogen.biz">Persons??k</a>
        manjuka5
    • Sounds like Chris is out for himself

      and who cares about those that actually created the works that allows Google to make money from this.
      John Zern
      • Who is out for himself?

        Are you educating future generations and teaching them how to succeed in life?

        Chris is.

        Do you care about education, children, and society?

        It is obvious that Chris does.

        If you knew anything about academia and education, you would understand Chris's motives. Since you do not, it is obvious that you do not.
        Isocrates
        • The the ends justify the means?

          That's a scary postition to take. I shudder to think how easilly that could apply to other aspects of our dailey lives.

          It's not what Google's doing that is at issue, instead how they're doing it.

          Since when is it acceptable to publish someone else's work with the pretense that "if they don't like it, they can come tell us after the fact"?

          Wrapping something that would get us in trouble, up in a cloak that "it's for the children" doesn't wash.

          Let Google get permission first, then procede from there, and the issue goes away.
          AllKnowingAllSeeing
          • Pliny the Elder - What does any of this have to do...

            ...with my response to John Zern and my defense of Chris?

            Have you actually read about what is going on or simply read or listened to the fear-mongers?

            Please check out Juan Carlos Perez's (February 4, 2010) article, Update: DOJ again turns down Google book search settlement, at Computerworld Inc.'s site (http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9152498/Update_DOJ_again_turns_down_Google_book_search_settlement?taxonomyId=146).
            Isocrates
        • You are exactly right...

          ...off the cliff. Only a off-their-rocker educator could take that ridiculous approach. "It?s ok as long as it?s for the children."

          Sad thing is, this is what is being taught today; truth isn't being taught.

          Here's your hug!
          TGGR
  • Since when was it illegal to enter a market that nobody else wanted to

    invest in????? This deal stops nobody else from investing.
    DonnieBoy
    • @DonnieBoy

      I agree.
      Isocrates
  • Chris, it's Opt-Out versus Opt-In

    Google is, in effect, offering to become the publisher
    for every piece of printed IP that they can scan.
    There is a gap of IP that is still covered by
    copyright laws, but doesn't have an ISBN number.

    If it has an ISBN number, finding the rights holder is
    generally easy. They can then contact the rights
    holder and work out a standard publishing contract.

    If it's in the public domain, they should be able to
    scan freely.

    If it isn't in the public domain and doesn't have an
    ISBN number, Google can do one of two things:
    Publicly post that they're willing to pay someone for
    their IP of title XYZ, but need that person to get in
    contact with them, or wait for it to go into public
    domain.

    What they are doing now is "We'll scan everything, put
    it online, and the authors can come find us if we're
    infringing. We're structuring a Class Action suit to
    avoid paying authors for this." Oh, and by the way,
    they're generating ad revenue off of their scanned
    works.

    Sorry, this is bull$#!t. Google, the industry leader
    in search, cannot come up with a way to contact rights
    holders for orphaned works? Uh huh. Right. Not
    buying it.

    If Opt-Out is good enough for Google to do to me, then
    it's good enough to do to Google.

    My next publication will specify that if it appears in
    Google Books without a signed contract in my hands,
    that I will consider one share of GOOG stock per file
    download to be adequate recompense.
    Ad Astra
  • I agree, It's FUD spread by M$ agents

    M$ is green with envy that google has such a large readership.
    Linux Geek
    • @Linux Geek

      It certainly looks that way.
      Isocrates
      • Someone else just landed on LG's planet

        They can hang out in their underwear and tinfoil hats together.
        crazydanr
        • @crazydanr

          Troll.
          Isocrates
          • Who? You, or Linux Geek? (nt)

            (nt)
            John Zern
          • @John Zern

            You are a troll, as anyone knows who looks up the definition. You add no value to the conversation.
            Isocrates
          • Look in the mirror

            You agreed with LG that MS behind this in some sort of massive conspiracy.

            Microsoft has nothing to do with this, except that LG seems to wanna drag them into every conversation going on here.
            The one and only, Cylon Centurion
          • @NStalnecker - "Just because you're not paranoid...

            ...doesn't mean they're not out to get you" (Colin Sautar, cited at and retrieved, 2010, Feb 6, from http://www.quotegarden.com/humorous.html)!

            Please check out Juan Carlos Perez's (February 4, 2010) article, Update: DOJ again turns down Google book search settlement, at Computerworld Inc.'s site (http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9152498/Update_DOJ_again_turns_down_Google_book_search_settlement?taxonomyId=146). Pay close attention to Perez's statement: "Opposition to the proposed settlement has come from a wide variety of quarters: Google competitors like Amazon.com and [b][i]Microsoft[/i][/b]; legal experts; legislators; international and U.S. authors and publishers; and academic scholars" (p 2, &para; 11) (bold italics added).
            Isocrates
  • The problem is...

    if the books are all in digital form, burning them isn't any fun at all...
    jasonp9