Google Books sued by a pig, cat and dog

Google Books sued by a pig, cat and dog

Summary: The aim here is not to help writers make money. Once a work is online it's as available as it's ever going to get. The idea is to get Google's rivals a cut of the deal.

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When it comes to digitizing books and offering readers and writers a business model, Google has planted the wheat, harvested it, threshed it, ground it, and baked it.

Now Microsoft, Amazon, and Yahoo think they each deserve a big slice of bread. They are taking the hen to court in order to get it.

The effort, led by attorney Gary Reback, to challenge Google's deals with writers and publishers for digitizing "orphaned works" that are copyrighted but no longer published is less lawsuit than business by another name.

The aim here is not to help writers make money. Once a work is online it's as available as it's ever going to get. The idea is to get Google's rivals a cut of the deal.

The three say they're standing behind the Internet Archive, which also wants Google's deal without paying for it. (The Archive in this case is played by a duck.) And in theory there is no reason an easy settlement can't be reached. With five companies involved each firm's piece of the costs is a lot less than it was with just Google fronting things.

Something tells me, however, that's not going to happen. The Archive's claim is based on the fact that Google has the money to pay for digitizing (about $1 per book), it does not, but it should have the same rights to the result. That's silly.

So is the Open Content Alliance's claim that Google is trying to create a "monopoly" and "rewrite the copyright law." We are talking here about solving a problem created by long-lived corporate copyright, the fact that books now become economically worthless long before they become legally available.

Google's solution is pretty elegant. It's free money to authors, or those to whom they have assigned copyright, and the greatest freedom possible for readers given the stupid requirements of that law.

Are authors going to get a better deal from the lawyers for Duck, Pig, Cat and Dog? Is such a deal being offered? If there is I'm all ears. But if not why should I, as an author, care except for the fact this stalls the deal and perhaps means there's no deal at all?

Topics: Enterprise Software, Browser, Google, Legal

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20 comments
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  • 4 legs good; 2 legs better

    Right, Amazon?
    dhakajack
    • I don't trust Google at all though

      The I.P. issues here are very interesting and my friends the attournies will get way more than a dollar to figure this out. But geez I just don't trust Google any better than Microsoft or Amazon et.al.
      Indeed, with Eric at the helm, I trust them less!
      Just based on having done business with him now in three different corporate settings, and seeing him burn two of them to the ground almost.
      david.cameron@...
  • RE: Google Books sued by a pig, cat and dog

    No. No. No.

    Microsoft has tons of books and articles in a OPEN (no ads) archive! archive.org

    gigoloogle is going to far in concentrating the access to information, this is wrong!

    Gigoloogle motto is: information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, wi$dom is to use the desire for information of other to make money if googlead$

    and is worth than that! they do not own that information.

    It is time for Church of Googlentology get some scrutiny
    Dude123Klaus
    • Archive.org

      Archive.org does not provide a business model by which those with copyrighted work can get compensation. It's a free place for free stuff.

      If Microsoft tried to put copyrighted books into Archive.org it would find itself in the same legal bind Google found itself in 4 years ago, which is resulting in the current settlement to which Microsoft is objecting.
      DanaBlankenhorn
    • RE: Google Books sued by a pig, cat and dog

      Its free money to authors, or those to whom they have assigned copyright, and the greatest freedom possible for readers given the stupid requirements of that law.<a href="http://ipadbagblog.com/"><font color="LightGrey"> k</font></a>
      zakkiromi
  • RE: Google Books sued by a pig, cat and dog

    Bill Gates was one of the early contributors to the Monopoly-Oriented proprietary concept. The solution for a greed-driven society is an open source society. If google is providing an Open Source solution - then would the duck, the cat, the pig and the dog please steal from someone else besides the 6+ billion of us that might benefit?
    theNegotiator!
    • Sounds right to me

      If Google [i]is[/i] in fact providing an Open Source solution.
      scottmbaker@...
  • Sign over rights?

    As an author I might be less likely to sign over my rights if I thought Google would keep my work somewhat economically viable.
    jonn@...
    • Very good point ...

      If the Google economic model is viable then authors don't have to sign away all rights when seeking financial gain. Authors are always getting short changed by the publishing houses if the particular work is not in demand so it "withers on the vine".

      In reality this is more about the control of the works rather than Google asserting some type of vicious monopoly in the process. If you know anything about Google they will comply with a DOJ inquire or even choose to go hat in hand preemptively to belay any objections.
      MisterMiester
    • Authors' rights

      As an author with several books out of print, this makes sense to me.
      scottmbaker@...
      • You've got that right.

        A copyright is a useless concept unless there is something of value coming in. Another good example of the conflict of the long tail and protectionism.
        Dr_Zinj
  • Don't worry, Rick_R, this show's too big for our European Commission

    to keep out of the act. From what I understand (see this [b][i]Register[/i][/b] article (http://preview.tinyurl.com/n79xzw ) The European Commission will soon convene - on 7 September - a hearing on [b]Google[/b]'s settlement with US authors. There's more than one ring in this circus....

    Henri
    mhenriday
  • RE: Google Books sued by a pig, cat and dog

    Is there anyone else out there that sees the irony in Microsoft suing someone else for monopolistic practices?
    Just Watching Now
    • Yeah

      I believe their lawyers are the best in breed when it comes to anti-monopoly legislation.
      AndyCee
    • Irony

      Let's not forget that Microsoft was also trying to
      scan and digitize out of print books in libraries,
      but gave up. As always, Microsoft prefers paying
      lawyers to paying to do the original work
      themselves.
      Old Publisher
  • GOOGLE owns the scans!

    There are a lot of out-of-copyright movies that are still being
    sold under copyright. Digitally remastering or even just
    digitizing a work counts as a new derivative work with its
    own copyright attached. You have to go back to the original
    film to be free and clear. This is what Google has done.

    If anyone else wants a copy. They can just scan the books
    themselves. Google has invested real money in this.
    cgarrett
    • Actually you are incorrect in two ways.

      Creating a derivative work means adding or modifying in a way that create intrinsic value, not the value of the medium itself. And there is no constraint on a party to "go back to the original" source to create their own copy. As long as they use A source that is equivalent to the original work, it doesn't matter.

      For example, if I digitized some printed copy of the Canterbury Tales and added illuminated caps and border scrolls, then I would be adding value to my derivation, and could copyright it. But someone could easily take my work, delete the graphics so that it was back to the original state, which is all that really counts: use of public domain content.

      The second point is actually the most important: Google is not doing this with public domain works, all of the material in question IS copyrighted, just not in distribution. So Google MUST have the agreement of the rights owners for ANY distribution (digital/free, digital/pay, or hardcopy print-on-demand).
      terry flores
      • OR Some Way to Compensate Rights Holders If None Can Be Found

        ::So Google MUST have the agreement of the rights owners for ANY distribution (digital/free, digital/pay, or hardcopy print-on-demand).::

        The thing about a lot of orphaned works is that the copyright holder is no longer easily findable. The publisher might have gone out of business, and the author might not be writing any more or have written under a pseudonym which is not readily known (like how in Europe, even his publishers weren't aware that detective writer "A.A. Fair" was the [i]nom de plume[/i] of Perry Mason creator Earl Stanley Gardner!). Having these works available might let their creators know there is still interest in their writing - how does Google plan to handle these kinds of orphans? Does anybody know?
        drprodny
  • RE: Google Books sued by a pig, cat and dog

    I love/hate Google. Their search algos are good once you learn the nuances but their business methods are a little strange and I don't know that I trust them. However, in this case, I'd have to support Google and the author, I think. Good writing style BTW.
    twaynesdomain-22354355019875063839220739305988
  • RE: Google Books sued by a pig, cat and dog

    "Having these works available might let their creators know there is still interest in their writing - how does Google plan to handle these kinds of orphans? Does anybody know?"

    First, the Settlement carefully avoids the word "orphan" and speaks only of "not commercially available" books, because for a not commercially available book to be an orphan, "due diligence" should have been exercised in trying to find the rights holders, and that's a complex concept.

    End of nitpicking on words. The Google Book Search Settlement's idea for going about dealing with right holders (including creators) of not commercially available books is through the Registry, where they can claim their works / the works they are right holders for / creators of. The present Registry has a search engine that works pretty well for "primary" authors and rights holders, but should be improved for excerpts in collective works.

    C. Almansi
    calmansi