Google a law to itself?

Google have just won a court case, in fact the case was not even heard, brought against them by a consortium of writers, that allows Google to scan entire books regardless of blanket copyright laws.

Basically that ruling makes a mockery of writers' copyrights and even Fair Usage.

 

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/supreme-court-rejects-cha/2707750.html

Comments

  • A key phrase in the article is this:

     

    "Users cannot read 'any substantial portion of any book,' Google said."

     

    Fair Use allows citations of a work for various purposes, including, for example, academic study, criticism, and as an example of content for sale.

     

    If you look on Amazon and examine the "Look Inside" feature, you'll see similar parts of books that do not permit you to read the entire book. You do, however, see enough to have a glimpse of the writer's style and subject, and thus you may buy the book (or not buy the book) as an informed decision, as opposed to the Caveat Emptor method.

     

    So it's not quite the same as giving your books away for free.

  • If it makes it more likely that people will buy my book then I'm all for it.


  • Skoob_Ym wrote:

    A key phrase in the article is this:

     

    "Users cannot read 'any substantial portion of any book,' Google said."

     

    Fair Use allows citations of a work for various purposes, including, for example, academic study, criticism, and as an example of content for sale.

     

    If you look on Amazon and examine the "Look Inside" feature, you'll see similar parts of books that do not permit you to read the entire book. You do, however, see enough to have a glimpse of the writer's style and subject, and thus you may buy the book (or not buy the book) as an informed decision, as opposed to the Caveat Emptor method.

     

    So it's not quite the same as giving your books away for free.


    The problem is that Google is not copying excerpts for review or academic use, but rather because someone might want to use the excerpts for that purpose.

     

    And I might add that, according to the USCO, fair usage does not include "an example of content for sale."

     

    Added later---

    The US Copyright Office says that "Under the fair use doctrine of the U.S. copyright statute, it is permissible to use limited portions of a work including quotes, for purposes such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, and scholarly reports."

     

    There is not a word about fair use covering excerpts in catalogs or sales materials. Extensive quotes for any purpose other than those listed by the USCO would, I think, not constitute "fair use" and would require permission from the copyright owner.

    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • potetjppotetjp Bibliophile

    I have bought several books whose long excerpts I could casually examine thanks to Google. I don't think I'd have bought them otherwise. There are several books carried by Amazon that I didn't buy because I could get no view of the inside.


  • potetjp wrote:

    I have bought several books whose long excerpts I could casually examine thanks to Google. I don't think I'd have bought them otherwise. There are several books carried by Amazon that I didn't buy because I could get no view of the inside.


    A view of a few select pages---such as are provided in Lulu previews---are one thing. Which pages are available and how many are the decision of the publisher. Google has usurped that decision.

    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Em_PressEm_Press Professor

    Anyone can write to Google and ask them to remove the preview.

     A citizen of the world.

  • For that matter you can even tell google how many pages of your book (from 0 to 100%) you want people to be able to preview.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    The point is that most copyrights say that the contents should not be copied etc etc. The Fair Usage rule does not include the copying of an entire book for any purpose.

     

    Here's a random example >>

     

    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” at the address below.

     

    If that is ignored then why bother with a copyright?

     

    Google do not even need to do it to create a Preview. No one else does it.

  • potetjppotetjp Bibliophile

    kevinlomas a écrit :

    The point is that most copyrights say that the contents should not be copied etc etc. The Fair Usage rule does not include the copying of an entire book for any purpose.

     ________________________

    Google is the major organisation dedicated to the preservation of written works, and should be praised for it. Copying an entire book that is not yet in the public domain does not mean that Google will make it available to the public. Actually, when such a book is in the Google collection, potential readers are warned that no electronic version of the book is available, but it supplies them with a short list of bookstores and libraries where they can find the printed edition. It is pretty obvious the court ruling is based on these facts rather than on mere quibbles.

     

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    Google is the major organisation dedicated to the preservation of written works, and should be praised for it.

     

    Out of copyright ones, perhaps, but many other places already do that, some are called libraries. No one should be praised for ignoring a copyright. That court has totally ignored a worldwide law. It even refuses an appeal, which surely cannot be right.

     

    Copying an entire book that is not yet in the public domain does not mean that Google will make it available to the public.

     

    It does not matter what they do with it. It's illegal.

     

    Actually, when such a book is in the Google collection, potential readers are warned that no electronic version of the book is available, but it supplies them with a short list of bookstores and libraries where they can find the printed edition. It is pretty obvious the court ruling is based on these facts rather than on mere quibbles.

     

    A mere quibble that some huge company is ignoring the law? Google should ask permission before they do it. It's no real different than an individual copying a book.

     

    It's a worry that you think this is right.

     

    I recall an ex CEO of Google buying a disused cathedral somewhere and had started to stock it with actual printed books, which is fair enough, that is doing it to preserve them and that was/is his intention. That's not a copyright infringement, but digitising them without permission is. There's also no reason for them to do it with books already digitized by the publisher as e-books because they already exist all over the internet. It's not as if every copy of that file is going to vanish.

     

    Google is becoming despotic. They are even now in German courts accused of having a monopoly.

     

    I bet if MS did it there would be an outcry ...

  • Em_PressEm_Press Professor

    They are selflessly preserving millions of works. They are paying for everything, including the hiring of all those people to scan.

     

    It's like storing seeds in a vault should anything happen and we ever need them.

     

    I personally admire them for doing it although in the past I have been wary of Google.

     A citizen of the world.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    What? You mean Google digitising them?  Or the chap collecting printed books? (Which I assume he's having to buy.)

     

    Sorry but that's nonsense because most if not all books are already kept in 100s if not 1000s or even 10,000s of places. Libraries, for example. Shops. Even peoples' homes. Are Google expecting the Earth to be hit by a meteor and us all destroyed then? I hope their servers are well underground then ...

     

    It really does seem as if Google can do no wrong, at least in the USA.

  • As a corporation, I doubt Google has or will ever do anything 'selflessly'.

     

    That said, what exactly is the objection to them digitising books? It preserves the books, it potentially introduces them to a wider audience who might not otherwise have found them and it increases sales. As long as they're not digitising the books in order to give them away for free - which they're not - I don't see the harm.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

     I don't see the harm.

     

    It's against copyright laws. Simple. But they really have no need to scan books because due to people activating Google Book Search they are getting many of them pre-digitised, anyway.


  • kevinlomas wrote:

     

    It's against copyright laws. Simple. 


    Yes, I understand that. But my question remains: disregarding the legality for a moment, what actual harm is it doing?

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    In the same way shoplifting does no harm?

  • Well, that's hardly the same, is it?

     

    Shoplifting directly takes money away from the shopkeeper. Who are Google taking money away from? On the contrary, making the books searchable will arguably increase authors' earnings. Which is why I asked the question.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    Both are theft. Copyrights basically say do not copy this under any circumstances without asking. So there's no point having copyrights you are saying? It's the principle of the matter.

  • I'm not arguing about the legality of it one way or the other. I'm just asking who the victims are in this crime. Who doesn't benefit? Google benefits by driving business to its website. Readers benefit because they get more access to books. Writers benefit because their books are easier to find and thereby sell more copies. What's the downside?

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    It's nothing to do with with Google Book Search. With that, writers are giving their permission, what the case was about was Google digitising every book they can get their hands on without asking if they could, infringing copyright laws. That's why a consortium of writers objected.

     

    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews. For permission requests, contact the publisher.

     

     

  • DysonLogosDysonLogos Publisher
    If the courts ruled against Google in this, they would have been ruling against the existence of all internet search engine tools.

    Search engines retain a copy of all sites they index. That's how they work. Google's book digitization system is the exact same process - they retain a copy of all the books they've put into the system thus allowing people to search through the contents of those books.

    If that is made illegal, then we would have to get rid of Google, Bing, Yahoo search, etc as they would all be violating the same law and there would no longer be a way to search the internet.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    If the courts ruled against Google in this, they would have been ruling against the existence of all internet search engine tools.

     

    No they would not. They search for words and/or keywords hidden as metatags.

     

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/ztbjq6f

    Search engines retain a copy of all sites they index.

     

    Sites, not books, perhaps, and even that can be stopped because sites are also copyrighted.

     

    That's how they work. Google's book digitization system is the exact same process

     

    Not at all. It's not the same thing.

     

     

    - they retain a copy of all the books they've put into the system thus allowing people to search through the contents of those books.

     

    The point is >>> they should ask first. How is that hard to understand? That's what Copyrights say and mean.

    If that is made illegal, then we would have to get rid of Google, Bing, Yahoo search, etc as they would all be violating the same law and there would no longer be a way to search the internet.

     

    Search engines search sites, not the private servers that digitised books are stored on, such as our PR PDFs stored at Amazon for example for when someone buys one.

     

    I give up. How you cannot see that it's theft is amazing.


  • kevinlomas wrote:

    It's nothing to do with with Google Book Search. With that, writers are giving their permission, what the case was about was Google digitising every book they can get their hands on without asking if they could, infringing copyright laws. That's why a consortium of writers objected.

     

    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews. For permission requests, contact the publisher.

     

     


    From the original link:

     

    Google argued that the effort would actually boost book sales by making it easier for readers to find works, while introducing them to books they might not otherwise have seen.

     

     

    Google Books allows users to search the content of the books and displays excerpts that show the relevant search results. Google says in court papers the service "gives readers a dramatically new way to find books of interest" and lets people know where they can buy them. Users cannot read "any substantial portion of any book," Google said.

     

    I think this is great news for writers like us. Anything that makes our books easier to stumble across has got to help.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    The fact remains that if writers and/or publishes did not ask to be included, then Google are breaking copyright laws. If an individual did it they would get in to serious trouble. The main question is >> who do Google think they are? Which is a question asked in many EU courts, cases in which Google usually loose.

     

    It astonishes me that the people replying to this thread think that this copyright infringement is OK. it's illegal. There's no excuse. (Apart from Ron.)

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