Google Print upsets children's hospital

Google Print upsets children's hospital

Summary: Update: Peter Pan has been funding vital work at Great Ormond Street for decades, but Google Print could 'rob the hospital of a major core of its charity revenue' if its concerns are well-founded

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Great Ormond Street children's hospital is worried that that Google's online publishing scheme could cost it much-needed income.

The hospital, which receives all the royalties from sales and performances of Peter Pan in the UK, fears that it could suffer a drop in revenue if Google includes the children's classic in its plan to scan, digitise and make searchable the world's books.

Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity has received royalties from Peter Pan since 1929. An Act of Parliament, passed in 1988, extended the book's copyright indefinitely. If people stopped buying the book, and accessed it through Google's service, the hospital — which cares for seriously ill children — fears it could lose millions of pounds.

A spokesman for Great Ormond Street said he hadn't had a chance to view the site yet but hoped Google would think twice before publishing the book. "I wouldn't be surprised if Google do this, but it will rob the hospital of a major core of its charity revenue," he said.

Great Ormond Street's fears may be unfounded though. Peter Pan is already freely available online through Project Gutenberg, which catalogues books whose copyright has expired in the US — where the Hospital's copyright does not apply.

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Google has also said it will only show small portions of copyright-protected books, if the copyright-holder has opted-out of Google Print. But this hasn't stopped the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers filing lawsuits claiming Google is violating copyright by scanning entire books that are under copyright.

Google book scanning project has courted controversy since its inception in 2004. In August 2005 it said it was temporarily halting scanning books after facing stiff opposition from publishers and the prospect of a massive copyright suit.

The scheme is due to start again in November after Google made time for copyright holders to contact it and opt out.

 Google had not responded to requests for comment at the time of writing.

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7 comments
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  • Oh come on, they've GOT to be kidding. Or, more likely, this is a plant from the charming APA.

    Can you imagine parents telling their kids, "Hi Susie... I'm not going to buy the Peter Pan book to read to you at night, but let me read snippets to you from Google Print."

    Yeah, right.
    anonymous
  • The hospital in question was willed the copyright to Peter Pan, by the story's author, as an act of charity. An act of Parliament then extended that gift. This has hardly been an "arbitrary action". As it stands, the hospital is too poor to even attempt to defend the copyright in most circumstances, against such media giants as Disney (for their recent Peter Pan "prequel"). That isn't to say that the hospital hasn't been active in the use of the copyright. As a fundraiser they have commissioned an official sequel to the story in hopes of raising more money to allow them to continue their mission, healing sick children.

    Sad that people in the online community have chosen to attack a hospital over a charitable gift made by an author so long ago.
    anonymous
  • Attacking a hospital? Whoever is making the hospital a pawn in this silly game is where the shame belongs. Google print is just an index, for pete's sake, nobody will be able to READ Peter Pan this way. I run a website. When Google indexes my site, it attracts customers who buy my products. The same will happen to the books they index - Peter Pan included. Publishers are just annoyed they won't be making money off of all those out-of-print books.
    anonymous
  • This is preposterous. Google Print will only aid in people locating the work. They will not be 'publishing' it or making the text readable online*. Reports like this should not go into print without the authrs first checking that the complaint represented is even remotely valid. This is irresponsible reporting, and misleading.

    *It should also be noted that the entire text of JM Barrie's Peter Pan is ALREADY available, for free, online through Project Guttenberg. Entertainingly, this information obtained through a quick Google seach.
    anonymous
  • I fail to see the value of this article and the comments being made by the hospital. 'Peter Pan' is a book that is available in the public domain and can easily be found freely available elsewhere on the Net (e.g. Project Gutenburg')
    anonymous
  • I find it so frustrating that people comment (and by people, I mean the spokesperson from the hospital) withought seeing what the service is.

    If the book is under copyright, Google Print will only show a paragraph or so around the specific search term.

    If the book is out of copyright, Google Print will only show three pages around a search term.

    In both cases, Google Print will direct users to locations where they can buy the book.

    What's the downside for authors and copyright holders?
    anonymous
  • I just have to correct the facts in your article about peter pan, The aurther of peter pan J.M Barrie gave the copy right to Great Ormond street hospital, for free out of the godness of his hart to help raise much needed funds for the charity.

    Most of what you have writen is just american bigotorie for a system you do not under stand, from a country that would only give health care to the rich.

    Great Ormond street hospital has infact commisend a sequwal to peter pan, in effort to replace this vital loss of revenue to support the work it does with sick and die'ing children.


    "Thanks to the generosity of Peter Pan's author, J M Barrie, who gave the copyright of his children
    anonymous