Should Google be allowed to scan books
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Thread: Should Google be allowed to scan books

  1. #1
    AO Guinness Monster MURACU's Avatar
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    Should Google be allowed to scan books

    Here is another little topic that I think is worth discussing. Googles plans to create an online referance libary have been stalled by the americain authors guild. I think that is a shame and the only reason they sue is to benefit from the innovations of someone else. This piece on the BBC sums up the siitution nicely for me. story

    Defending Google's licence to print
    Google's plan to create an index of millions of books has got them into legal trouble, but technology analyst Bill Thompson thinks they should press on despite the lawsuits.
    Google's plan would make it a starting point for researchers and students
    Google wants to scan around 20 million books from four major libraries and create a searchable database of their contents.
    This is so that researchers at universities, schoolchildren in libraries and anyone at home can quickly find titles which might be relevant to their work.
    Called Google Print, it is a bit like Amazon's feature that lets you search inside a book. Unlike Amazon, where you can then read a few pages from each book you find, Google will only give you enough detail to let you know that you have found what you are looking for.
    It is a great idea, and the resulting catalogue will rapidly become the starting place for researchers around the world.
    But it might not happen, because the project is currently stalled after three US authors sued Google for scanning their copyright material.

    'Brazen violation'
    The authors, with support from the US Authors Guild, call the project "a plain and brazen violation of copyright law" and argue that "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."
    I am an author, so I have an interest in this, and even though I have many doubts about Google's operations and ideology, I have to support them in this one.
    A few years ago Mp3.com launched MyMp3.com. It was a great service which let you listen to your music collection anywhere.
    They ripped tens of thousands of CDs onto their servers. Once you had an account with them, you fed your CD collection into your computer and it flagged which ones you owned. Then you could listen to them from any computer you were using.
    They should let any library in the world have a copy of the electronic versions of all the books they hold that are in the catalogue. Not a link to the Google website but a real copy, to be held locally and used by the library under a very relaxed and permissive licence
    It was grey enough for the record industry to sue them out of existence.
    Google is big enough to stand up to the pressure, and it can afford even more expensive lawyers than the Authors Guild.
    edit : To add more of the original story in.
    \"America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.\"
    \"The reason we are so pleased to find other people\'s secrets is that it distracts public attention from our own.\"
    Oscar Wilde(1854-1900)

  2. #2
    Frustrated Mad Scientist
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    If it's not letting you read a whole book or even a significant part of a single chapter I really can't see what the issue is.

    A lot of authors make whole chapters available online as a taster to try to encourage buyers.

    I would guess the Guild is just trying to justify it's existance and in the process is shooting itself in the foot.

    I would wonder what the actual writers think rather than the mouthpiece of the publishers.

  3. #3
    AO Guinness Monster MURACU's Avatar
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    Even though it is not the guild sueing I would bet that they went throught their list of members to find three who would be willing to sue. I'd bet these are the types of people who would have been against the printing press when it was invented unless of course they could make money from it. I erckon you are right Aspman that the vast majority of authors would be more than willing to give their ok.
    \"America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.\"
    \"The reason we are so pleased to find other people\'s secrets is that it distracts public attention from our own.\"
    Oscar Wilde(1854-1900)

  4. #4
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    I read this awhile back...and to my understanding it was only recently discovered that Google has been doing this for awhile...

    the guild knew that Google was copying parts of books for the purpose of it's search engines...however they were not aware Google was copying whole books...which is a violation of copyright law...

    Google claims it means no harm...that the guild should ' Trust ' Google...that it has no intention of publishing or using whole books...

    the guild then asks the question if you have no intention of using whole books then why copy whole books...

    the guild sees this as an open door...if they let Google copy whole books then what's to prevent Random House from copying whole books from other publishers...it may set a precedent for future copyright infringment lawsuits...

    allowing Google to do this unchallenged leaves publishers and authors at a major disadvantage when it comes to people copying their work and breaking copyright law.

    Eg

    P.S. I don't agree that most authors would support Google...it is not to an authors advantage to give up this aspect of copyright law that protects them from unauthorized use...it could potentially open up a very nasty door that will make it harder for authors to protect their work.

    This was not an issue when excepts were being published...that has always been accepted as not a violation of copyright...this only became an issue when it was discovered Google was copying ' whole ' books.

  5. #5
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    I know what you mean but I don't think Google copying a book is the same as you or I copying a book on a photocopier.

    We would be doing it to gain a full copy of the book to use as a substitute for the original.
    Google is (lots of assumptions with that 'is') copying for the purpose of indexing with no intention of a whole or large portion of a book being reproduced or made available publically.

    This was not an issue when excepts were being published
    Only excepts are being published.

    Google might well be breaking copyright by copying the books but I think copyright law may need to be brought up-to-date to deal with the technology.

    I think in reality a compromise will be reached with Google continuing with it's plan but supplying free links to sites to purchase the books listed by a search.

  6. #6
    AO Guinness Monster MURACU's Avatar
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    edit : ASpmann got in before me.

    P.S. I don't agree that most authors would support Google...it is not to an authors advantage to give up this aspect of copyright law that protects them from unauthorized use...it could potentially open up a very nasty door that will make it harder for authors to protect their work.
    I'd have to disagree with you on this. For the minority of authors who write fistion books for the best sellers spot then they would probably have a problem with this. After all money is their main concern. But for the others I'll quote
    Now some authors and their trade association are standing in the way of progress, even though it is clear that the main beneficiaries of the project will be publishers and the authors themselves.
    They will sell more books or, if they are academics, see their research read and cited more often. There will be a general increase in the quality of university research simply because vital sources will be overlooked less often.
    Also I would not be surprise if the author guild knew before hand which book were being scaned and when. They just waited till the right time to sue.
    As far as I know Google never hid its intention to scan the whole book. Anything less for a researcher would be usless as you could never tell which line from the book will be looked up.
    \"America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.\"
    \"The reason we are so pleased to find other people\'s secrets is that it distracts public attention from our own.\"
    Oscar Wilde(1854-1900)

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    Senior Member hesperus's Avatar
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    I understand the reluctance of publishers to the great Google vacuum sucking up a copy of all their books, but if Google wasnt' already doing it, it would be a great move by the publishers to do it themselves.

    As long as whats available are only search-relavent snippets, it can only force consumers to seek out an actual copy of the book in question. And you can bet the margins will be filled with links to booksellers.

    It brings people to books by the strength of their content. What more could publishers ask for ?

    Besides royalties on the ad-sense profits .....................


    /edit : Combine this with a sophisticated print on demand service and out of print book sales could be a major source of income, not to mention a huge help to researchers and readers.
    .

  8. #8
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    I think you are all missing my point...it's not a question about whether or not the publishers and authors will benefit ( do you really expect Google to say anything different? Of course they're going to say that. )...

    it's a question of the can of worms this might open if it causes the present copyright laws to be compromised...this is not an improvement on already weak rights...it's a downgrade of rights...

    if Google is allowed to do this...why would a University or a library or anyone else buy a book if they have the right to download the whole book for free?

    the whole purpose of offering snippets is is publicize the books without giving away the farm in the process...they're teasers to get you to buy the book...like movies offer preveiws to get you to go to the movie.

    As far as Google goes...I very much doubt they are doing this for altruistic motives...should publishers and authors trust Google like blind mice...I wouldn't trust Google's motives any more than I trust Microsoft.

    Google is a business not a charity...I doubt they are doing this without an ulterior motive.

    They are saying we want to download and create a library of whole books...but we'll still offer only snippets like before...so...

    why download whole books? You don't see the problem?????


    OK...give me the keys to your car...I promise I won't drive it!...then why the frig do I need your keys????


    Google has every intention of using this as a way to gain more profit...they have a plan...it may not happen for ten years but trust me this is not an altruistic adventure...once they have a large enough library to suit their purposes they will use it...don't kid yourself into thinking they have no plans to use it......and as usual it's the artist that's going to get shafted.

    Now excuse me while I download every song ever written to create a library...but ' trust me ' I have no intention of ever using it

    Eg

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    Google is a busniess, it is useing someone elses work for its own profit...this is a clear violation of copyright laws....if they worked out some way to pay royalties to the authors there would eb no issue but google wants to profit off of others work for free.
    Who is more trustworthy then all of the gurus or Buddha’s?

  10. #10
    AO Curmudgeon rcgreen's Avatar
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    We may all be a little uncomfortable with this, but here
    is where technology is taking us. Copyright laws will eventually
    be repealed. Once you open your mouth, the words are out there
    and you no longer own them. Deal with it.

    Digital communication makes it possible to copy and distribute
    books, songs and movies at a cost approaching zero. The only cost
    involved is the cost of writing, producing etc.

    All previous media "business models" are based on the assumption
    that it is relatively easy to prevent "piracy" by simple law enforcement
    methods. This is no longer practical.

    Eventually, books will all be readable online, and the publishing "industry"
    as we know it will go the way of the proverbial "buggy whip" industry.
    Again, Deal with it.

    There is no such thing as "intellectual property". If you write something,
    people will take it for free and you cannot stop them. This is the primary
    fact of the information age. Technology has made information cheaper
    to obtain, and harder to prevent others from obtaining

    The publishing industry (including music and movie industries) have
    historically been like the robber baron who guards a narrow mountain
    pass, exacting a "tax" on everyone who wants to pass that way.
    But now, people have found another way around.


    If you write a book, sing a song or make a movie, consumers will read,
    listen or watch for free. If you are uncomfortable with this, get a real job.
    I came in to the world with nothing. I still have most of it.

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