Author Topic: Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)  (Read 8266 times)

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Offline nacho

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Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
« on: September 26, 2005, 01:53:03 PM »
First of all, the percentage of published authors who belong to the guild is so small it's laughable.  I like to watch them do weird luddite things like this.

So...the lawsuit!  here we go.


Quote
Authors Guild sues Google over library project

update The Authors Guild on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against search engine Google, alleging that its scanning and digitizing of library books constitutes a "massive" copyright infringement.

As part of its Google Print Library Project, the company is working to scan all or parts of the book collections of the University of Michigan, Harvard University, Stanford University, the New York Public Library and Oxford University. It intends to make those texts searchable on Google and to sell advertisements on the Web pages.

"This is a plain and brazen violation of copyright law," Nick Taylor, president of the New York-based Authors Guild, said in a statement about the lawsuit, which is seeking class action status. "It's not up to Google or anyone other than the authors, the rightful owners of these copyrights, to decide whether and how their works will be copied."

In response, Google defended the program in a company blog posting.

"We regret that this group chose to sue us over a program that will make millions of books more discoverable to the world--especially since any copyright holder can exclude their books from the program," wrote Susan Wojcicki, vice president of product management. "Google respects copyright. The use we make of all the books we scan through the Library Project is fully consistent with both the fair use doctrine under U.S. copyright law and the principles underlying copyright law itself, which allow everything from parodies to excerpts in book reviews."

This Authors Guild lawsuit doesn't mark the first objection to the Google program. Other groups, including the Association of American University Presses, have also criticized it.

Last month, Google said it would temporarily halt its book scanning in the project in response to the criticisms. It said at the time that it also was making changes to its Google Print Publisher Program, in which books are scanned at the request of the publisher so people can view excerpts.

The individual plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which seeks damages and an injunction to stop the digitizing, are former New York Times editorial writer Herbert Mitgang, children's author Betty Miles and Daniel Hoffman, the 1973-1974 Poet Laureate of the United States.

The Authors Guild represents more than 8,000 authors and is the largest society of published writers in the United States.

Google did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the lawsuit. (Google representatives have instituted a policy of not talking with CNET News.com reporters until July 2006 in response to privacy issues raised by a previous story.)



Quote
Google Print and the Authors Guild

9/20/2005 09:04:00 PM
Posted by Susan Wojcicki, Vice President, Product Management

Today we learned that the Authors Guild filed a lawsuit to try to stop Google Print. We regret that this group chose to sue us over a program that will make millions of books more discoverable to the world -- especially since any copyright holder can exclude their books from the program. What’s more, many of Google Print’s chief beneficiaries will be authors whose backlist, out of print and lightly marketed new titles will be suggested to countless readers who wouldn’t have found them otherwise.

Let's be clear: Google doesn’t show even a single page to users who find copyrighted books through this program (unless the copyright holder gives us permission to show more). At most we show only a brief snippet of text where their search term appears, along with basic bibliographic information and several links to online booksellers and libraries.

Google respects copyright. The use we make of all the books we scan through the Library Project is fully consistent with both the fair use doctrine under U.S. copyright law and the principles underlying copyright law itself, which allow everything from parodies to excerpts in book reviews. (Here's an article by one of the many legal scholars who have weighed in on Google Print.)

Just as Google helps you find sites you might not have found any other way by indexing the full text of web pages, Google Print, like an electronic card catalog, indexes book content to help users find, and perhaps buy, books. This ability to introduce millions of users to millions of titles can only expand the market for authors’ books, which is precisely what copyright law is intended to foster.



(background:  http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/internet/09/19/google.copyright.ap/index.html )


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yotoc

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Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2005, 02:00:34 PM »
I'm going to sue the guild for trying to prevent me from searching for books on google.  This plan is flawless!

Tyson

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Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2005, 02:06:28 PM »
I love the fact that their completely missing Google's implementation of this. When you search, you get tons of relevant books (usually). Then you can see a few pages around your term to check for relevancy. If you like what you see, they give you, like, fifty links to buy the book.

It's a great tool for helping your target audience find your book. It's more restrictive than a library, but infinitely more useful. I mean, full-text search would make my life in the library infinitely more useful. It's the next step in the evolution of book searching. Card catalogs to keyword search and now full-text search. Many times, the information you want isn't in the book's title or summary. If you were looking for information on race riots, you might find useful information in a sociology book that you would have never found with a keyword search.

Their VP-PM is actually right on spot. It's a very very useful tool and to stop it would be just plain stupid.

I hope no one here belongs to that "Guild".

So hey, go Google! I sure as hell hope they win this one.

(Also, Nacho, do you have the link that the VP-PM mentions in "(Here's an article by one of the many legal scholars who have weighed in on Google Print.)"?)

yotoc

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Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2005, 02:09:35 PM »
Doesn't Amazon do this to an extent?  Just like the first few pages?  It's basically the same thing.  It's not like you're going to be able to sit down and google up the entire Harry Potter collection and read it.  Or am I missing something?  Fucking stupid writers.  I hate them all.

Offline nacho

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Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2005, 02:27:43 PM »
Lots of talk about hacking the system, which is always a concern.  Ran across the quote below on SA.  And, really, the "pirate community" is so small.  The average joe out there, even those somewhat plugged in, don't get into the whole theft deal.

Really, at the worst, this will hurt textbook publishers more than anyone else and, hey, can you think of anyone more deserving to end up against the wall?


Quote
I really don't understand what the publishers are so annoyed about. We already have a system where a user can download to their home the entire contents of almost any book ever published, completely free. All they need is a library card. Google has merely invented the ultimate card cataloguing system, that can scan for content and context.

Yes, I'm sure some people may come up with a system that can avoid the security limitations of the system, but what's the point? Why go to that much trouble hacking the system when you can go check the book out for free at a library?

This is just an example of an old-media bloc being terrified of the times instead of embracing the opportunities offered by new technology.



To me, it sounds like a money-making activity.  Instead of drag-assing to the library, the massive, silent, unread majority has the potential to get hooked at home with a screen that has a flashing OMG BUY IT NOW!!!!!!!!! at the bottom and, since we're all compulsive internet shoppers, a sale is just a click away.  I see an increase in sales, and something a savvy publisher (and author) should plug into.  Hey, you can read a bunch of the shit right here...and buy it.  And you don't even have to leave your parent's basement!

Here's another thing I like:

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What are Buy this Book links?


Each excerpt page contains links to your title at major online booksellers, as well as a link to your own commerce site if you desire it. These links are placed alongside your book excerpts, allowing users to click through to buy your title quickly and easily.


This appears above the other online sites.  So the first link can lead back to a publisher's shopping cart.  Direct sales look very good when you put them on the books (about 40% more income than retail sales).  It's also a great way to develop and control ebooks.  Google not only has the potential to generate sales from the lazy non-bookstore visiting people, it can bring a boom to what I feel is an all-important direct sale market.  Purchasing direct from the publisher opens the door to bouncebacks, promotions and a dozen other marketing hooks...

The author's guild -- they argue about individual rights.

So why aren't they trying to shut down public libraries?

Offline nacho

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Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2005, 02:30:19 PM »
Quote from: Tyson


(Also, Nacho, do you have the link that the VP-PM mentions in "(Here's an article by one of the many legal scholars who have weighed in on Google Print.)"?)


http://www.policybandwidth.com/doc/googleprint.pdf

Offline nacho

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Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2005, 02:32:18 PM »
Quote from: yotoc
Doesn't Amazon do this to an extent?  Just like the first few pages?  It's basically the same thing.  It's not like you're going to be able to sit down and google up the entire Harry Potter collection and read it.  Or am I missing something?  Fucking stupid writers.  I hate them all.


Yes, they do.  But, see, Amazon sells.  Google is doing an online library.  Library = free and, well, enter the mass of Luddites.  Those who fear the internet so much that they'll eventually wipe out their sales and burn up in fear.

It's a moneymaker, in my book.  Especially with the option to put your own online store in the top spot.  It'll do nothign but drive sales to a publisher that, otherwise, they wouldn't have gotten.

Tyson

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Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2005, 08:58:41 PM »
I love the shit they rant about regarding people who'll circumvent the whole system. I mean seriously.

Say you're a nefarious evil-doer who wants to read books for free. Are you going to spend months of your life cracking the system? Or are you going to go to a motherfucking library?

Offline jreale

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Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2005, 09:16:04 PM »
Fucking FUN and JOY killers.
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Offline nacho

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Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2005, 09:52:03 PM »
Where have you been, Judy Beale?

Offline Matt

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Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2005, 10:28:20 PM »
Textbook authors totally deserve to get fucked in the ass by this. I had to drop a little over $100 for a logic textbook, brand fucking new, because they (the textbook companies) like to make brand new editions and revisions  in the most minute ways.

edit: and as for "why don't they attack libraries?" it's like the comparison Bill Hicks drew between marijuana and alcohol. Alcohol has centuries of being a culturally acceptable vice, while marijuana doesn't have that benefit, it's not as popular as alcohol. Libraries have centuries of being culturally acceptable, online libraries, not so much.

edit again: hell, libraries are the most technologically backward of most places in the world. Libraries were one of the first places to offer computers but as far back as I could remember library computers were always fucking worthless and no one in the library knew how to work them because they were old bookslaves who never bothered to understand technology when they had their precious paper to sustain them.

Tyson

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Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2005, 11:00:07 PM »
Quote from: Matt
Textbook authors totally deserve to get fucked in the ass by this.


Woah woah woah. Not the authors. The publishers. There's a difference.

It's not the author's who are raising textbook prices at twice the rate of inflation.

I also like how calculus hasn't changed in, like, a hundred years, but the publishers force a new motherfucking edition on students every other year in which they just switch the problems around so you can't use previous editions in class.

It makes my blood boil, it really does.

Offline jreale

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Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2005, 11:00:46 PM »
Quote from: nacho
Where have you been, Judy Beale?


We took Soaf to see Grandma in New York. While there, the Mr. and I took advantage of the geography and spent a night in VT, so that I could get the whole New England B&B-in-the-fall experience. I decided several things, two of which are:
1. Colorado's scenery crushes Vermont's
2. B&Bs aren't anonymous enough to be enjoyable. I spent the whole time all self-conscious about who could overhear us having sex, and worrying about breaking something in our nice, home-style room.

Also, during the drive, we listened to the call from our vet informing us that our dog, Lou, has cancer. Happy leaf-watching!
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Offline nacho

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Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2005, 11:06:01 PM »
I've long hated textbook publishers.  It's a huge scam.  People try and defend it, saying it's a niche industry, but let's look at your Logic book, Matt.  No returns, average 20 copies per class, twice a year, times however many hundred colleges and universities have a logic class.  Easy.  They clean up.  Is that the millionth edition?  Yep?  Good, then there's no cost to produce it outside of printing. They buy the content outright at a cost that's made up by the second edition.

Also point fingers at your bookstore.  They usually give the textbooks a huge markup.

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Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2005, 11:37:03 PM »
Quote from: jreale
2. B&Bs aren't anonymous enough to be enjoyable. I spent the whole time all self-conscious about who could overhear us having sex, and worrying about breaking something in our nice, home-style room.


The fun is knowing your neighbors are listening. Actually, they're more than likely surfing the old birth canal themselves. But who cares? You're in that fancy room with teh big, old , squeaky bed. Let it all hang out! You'll still get free breakfast in the morning, even though it's some gourmet quiche that you reall can't stomach at 8:30 in the morning.