Great Society

Children of the Sun => Newsday => Newsday Archives 2005 => Topic started by: nacho on September 26, 2005, 01:53:03 PM

Title: Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
Post by: nacho 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 )


Next post:  Points collected from online debates.
Title: Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
Post by: yotoc 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!
Title: Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
Post by: Tyson 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.)"?)
Title: Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
Post by: yotoc 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.
Title: Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
Post by: nacho 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:

Quote
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?
Title: Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
Post by: nacho 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
Title: Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
Post by: nacho 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.
Title: Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
Post by: Tyson 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?
Title: Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
Post by: jreale on September 27, 2005, 09:16:04 PM
Fucking FUN and JOY killers.
Title: Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
Post by: nacho on September 27, 2005, 09:52:03 PM
Where have you been, Judy Beale?
Title: Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
Post by: Matt 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.
Title: Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
Post by: Tyson 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.
Title: Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
Post by: jreale 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!
Title: Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
Post by: nacho 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.
Title: Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
Post by: RottingCorpse 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.
Title: Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
Post by: Nubbins on September 27, 2005, 11:38:35 PM
Hell yeah!  Fuck textbooks and fuck the people who think a hardback is worth more than $75.  The problem I had is that I always shelled out $300 for a massive Abnormal Psych book and when I went to sell it back either a.) They weren't buying the old copies because a new edition was coming out or b.) They'd give you $50 for it and re-sell it "used" the next semester for $150.  Either way they swept up loads of cash on that shit.  I had a friend who stole each and every one of his text books from the bookstore Sophomore-Junior year.  Pothead though I was, I was always too much of a goodie two shoes to go that far.

Ironically, I always sold my books back for anything they'd give me because when you're poor and in college, you need beer money.  Looking back on it, I wish I'd kept all those books, because Psych books make for some incredibly interesting reading sometimes.

Here's something else to chew on that may completely derail this thread, but I think I probably could have, with the exception of my English classes where we actually had to analyze the books we read, have earned a Psychology degree completely on my own using only my incredibly expensive text books.  It really makes you realize how worthless your degree is in the end... basically, it's a certificate from a bunch of old people saying, "Yep... he read his $300 books and passed our exams," when if you'd just read the books on your own outside of a classroom, you probably would have learned just as much if not more.
Title: Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
Post by: Tyson on September 27, 2005, 11:45:34 PM
I've got a fun scam. My scholarship pays for up to $480 worth of supplies per quarter. I buy all the required and optional textbooks and some extra supplies, but not enough to raise suspicion. Then, I sell back the books I'll never touch again, some of which I never took out of the plastic wrap. Presto! $5!

Jesus. *sigh*
Title: Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
Post by: nacho on September 27, 2005, 11:47:49 PM
Quote from: Nubbins


Here's something else to chew on that may completely derail this thread, but I think I probably could have, with the exception of my English classes where we actually had to analyze the books we read, have earned a Psychology degree completely on my own using only my incredibly expensive text books.  It really makes you realize how worthless your degree is in the end... basically, it's a certificate from a bunch of old people saying, "Yep... he read his $300 books and passed our exams," when if you'd just read the books on your own outside of a classroom, you probably would have learned just as much if not more.


I'd second this.  I learned more outside of the classroom... But, here's the thing, I was encouraged to do so.  That's what it should be about.  But you get these massive classes, these tired teachers, these mindless TA's, these publish or perish schools, and that old encouragement is gone.  I rather think the point of college is what I got in my little cowtown school, where the teacher said, dude, you like that shit?  Read these when you get a chance and tell me what you think.
Title: Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
Post by: jreale on September 28, 2005, 12:06:43 AM
After my freshman year, I never bought the text; I went to all the classes, paid attention, and did fine.
Title: Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
Post by: Matt on September 28, 2005, 03:01:36 AM
My logic class is unfortunately unable to skip the textbook, and I've dropped nearly $200 on my Arabic textbooks. But I plan on keeping those because speaking Arabic is a reasonably marketable skill, especially so for a journalist.

I need to work on writing up my first resume to so I can apply for a job working on Content Magazine, and I think I've got a really good shot at landing work on the layout design for Earthwords (undergrad literary magazine). I went to a reading tonight, it was okay. Some really good people, some less-interesting people, all better than me. Mostly depressing.
Title: Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
Post by: nacho on November 01, 2005, 03:12:47 PM
le update:

Quote
NEW YORK Oct 19, 2005 — Just weeks after a leading authors' organization sued Google for copyright infringement, the Association of American Publishers has also filed suit against the search engine giant's plans to scan and index books for the Internet...
in papers filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the publishers association sought a ruling that would support an injunction against illegal scanning and cited the "continuing, irreparable and imminent harm publishers are suffering … due to Google's willful (copyright) infringement to further its own commercial purposes."

The suit named five publishers as plaintiffs: McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education, Penguin Group USA, Simon & Schuster and John Wiley & Sons. The suit seeks recovery of legal costs, but no additional damages.


(Most of those names have a booming textbook business)

Quote
Breaking Apart at the Seams

Major publishers have joined the legal challenge to the Google Print service, arguing that it represents wanton copyright infringement. This as another battle in the ongoing conflict over intellectual property in the digital world, but I'm concerned it suggests something else: a challenge to the stability of the Internet as we know it.

The Net works because of a series of informal agreements. Root server operators voluntarily point to the right places to make the domain name system function. Backbone networks "peer" to carry each other's traffic without charge. And websites allow search engines to copy their content into indexes, even though at some level that action raises copyright concerns.

The Google Print lawsuit puts the last of these practices in question. On some level, copying a Web page to facilitate searching isn't all that different from copying a book to facilitate searching. And copying an RSS feed to put content onto another site isn't so different either. Unravel the notion that some content sharing benefits everyone, and therefore should be acceptable despite the nominal boundaries of intellectual property, and the Internet economy, especially the Web 2.0 economy, comes crashing down.

What's worrisome to me is that, just as the informal practices for sharing online content are being challenged, the informal practices for sharing Internet traffic and addressing are under stress as well. Backbone carriers Level 3 and Cogent are fighting about who gets to peer, as SBC and Verizon -- telcos with a very different culture than most Internet companies -- prepare to take control of two of the largest Internet backbones. And the whole system of domain name management is in play as well, thanks to the UN's efforts to establish a new governance structure.

Years from now, will we look back at this as the period when the Internet came apart at its seams?



http://werbach.com/blog/archives/2005/10/breaking_apart.html


And, today's news:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4395656.stm

Quote
Google restarts online books plan

Google is resuming its controversial project to digitise millions of books and make them searchable on the net.

The search giant is pressing ahead with its plans despite growing legal pressure from publishers and authors.

They object to what they say are violations of copyright.

But in an apparent attempt to reassure critics, the search giant said on its blog that it would focus on books that were out of print or in the public domain.

2015 archive

Google is pumping $200m (£110m) into creating a digital archive of millions of books from four top US libraries - the libraries of Stanford, Michigan and Harvard universities, and of the New York Public Library - by 2015.

It is also digitising out-of-copyright books from the UK's Oxford University.

But Google has been criticised for not getting explicit permission from the copyright holders before scanning the texts.

The controversy led Google to put its library project on hold in August. The pause is designed to allow publishers to tell Google which books should not be included in the scanning programme.

But the delay did little to assuage concerns. In mid-October, the Association of American Publishers, which includes firms such as Penguin, filed a suit in New York claiming Google is breaching copyright.

In a separate action, the Authors Guild has filed a class-action suit against Google for copyright infringement.

Despite the pending legal action, Google is pressing ahead with its plans. On its blog, the company said it was resuming the scanning of texts, but also offered some words of reassurance.

"As always, the focus of our library effort is on scanning books that are unique to libraries including many public domain books, orphaned works and out-of-print titles," said the blog.

"We're starting with library stacks that mostly contain older and out-of-circulation books, but also some newer books.

"These older books are the ones most inaccessible to users, and make up the vast majority of books - a conservative estimate would be 80%."

"Our digital card catalog will let people discover these books through Google search, see their bibliographic information, view short snippets related to their queries (never the full text), and offer them links to places where they can buy the book or find it in a local library."

However, Google still plans to scan newer books that are both in print and under copyright protection at a later date.

Competition

A rival body set up by a group of digital archivists, backed by technology giants Yahoo and Microsoft, as well as libraries and academia, is also pursuing its own digital library project.

The Open Content Alliance (OCA), set up by the Internet Archive, aims to put 150,000 works online.

But it is avoiding some of the problems facing Google by initially focusing on works that are in the public domain.

Against this background, Google has hired an experienced lawyer as its vice president of global communications and public affairs.

Elliot Schrage, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, is known as an international policy activist.

"Elliot Schrage's experience and demonstrated commitment to transparency and global corporate citizenship will be an asset to Google as we continue to grow and explore new opportunities around the world," said Google chief executive officer Eric Schmidt in a statement.
Title: Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
Post by: Matt on November 01, 2005, 05:20:32 PM
Penguin was recently in town as a sponsor for the New Yorker College Tour. I think they had maybe 25% (that's generous) of their catalog as new, recently written titles. The rest of their catalog? Reprinting Plato's Republic in yet another incarnation, maybe a different translator or different foreword, putting out the new cover art (artfully scanned from an old portrait) of The Count of Monte Cristo. Fuck them.
Title: Google vs. A Bored Author's Guild (long)
Post by: Tyson on November 01, 2005, 10:23:54 PM
Quote from: Matt
Penguin ....... The rest of their catalog? Reprinting Plato's Republic in yet another incarnation, maybe a different translator or different foreword, putting out the new cover art (artfully scanned from an old portrait) of The Count of Monte Cristo. Fuck them.


Hey! Companies like this are going to give me a job someday!

But yeah, I agree. Those who charge $15 for a pretty cover on fucking Republic and such are assholes. The problem is that people buy that shit instead of diving in to Gutenberg.