PDA

View Full Version : Google Settles Suit Over Book-Scanning



ichMael
05-08-2009, 05:15 AM
I searched the AW site as thoroughly as I know how and couldn't find this topic mentioned. Concerns a lawsuit from 6-7 months ago. I'd be curious to know what people think of this. In particular, will it be good or bad for writers?

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/29/technology/internet/29google.html?_r=2&ref=technology&oref=slogin

From a New York Times article about the court case:

...Since 2004, Google has been working with university and research libraries to create digital scans of their collections. Of the approximately seven million books that Google has already scanned, four million to five million are out of print.

Google now makes the content of those books available in its book search service but shows only snippets of text, unless it has permission from the copyright holder to show more.

Under the agreement, Google will now show up to 20 percent of the text at no charge to users. It will also make the entire book available online for a fee. Universities, libraries and other organizations will be able to buy subscriptions that make entire collections of those books available to their visitors.

“This huge body of books that were effectively lost to the marketplace are being rescued,” said James Gleick, the author of five books and a member of the board of the Authors Guild, one of the plaintiffs in the suit.

Google plans to take 37 percent of the revenue, leaving 63 percent for publishers and authors. If Google sells ads on pages where previews of scanned books appear, it will split the revenue on the same basis....

ichMael
05-18-2009, 05:24 AM
The counter says this has been clicked on 86 times, but 0 comments.

Okay. What about copyright laws? Can YOU scan a work protected by copyright and sell it? You can circulate it, MAYBE, if the action falls under Fair Use guidelines, otherwise you're committing copyright infringement. And yet here's Google going to scan everything in the world and charge 37%. They're not even making an attempt to pretend they're following Fair Use guidelines.

Any thoughts on this? Should YOU go to jail for violating copyright while a corporation collects 1/3+ for the same thing?

CheshireCat
05-18-2009, 11:07 PM
If you'll go to www.googlebooksettlement.com (http://www.googlebooksettlement.com) you'll find the latest information on this case.

Most published authors are being encouraged to "opt in" with their books, whether still in print or OOP. The feeling is that while there probably won't be much, if any, money in the near future, it could spell more down the road. You can still refuse Google the right to scan and display your works after opting-in; doing so merely provides that you're part of the settlement and eligible to be paid for any of your work scanned without your permission prior to the court's decision.

Bottom line, when you go to the site and opt-in, you're letting Google know that they can only use your work with your permission, and how you wish it to be used, on a book-by-book basis. If you opt-out, you are telling them they are not under any circumstances to scan your work and make it available in any way, but you are also opting out of the settlement case and won't be entitled, under that settlement, to payment for works already scanned.

If you fail to opt-in or opt-out on an OOP book, Google is under no obligation to pay you for any use of that material prior to the deadline for claiming your works -- which has been extended, I believe, to August.

At least, that's how I understand it. The legalese is tricky as hell to understand, and the online procedures for opting in or out are incredibly tedious, especially for those of us with extensive backlists.

Is it good or bad for writers? It's the future, I suppose. I'm not wild about allowing Google to scan my work, even if they pay me something when those scans are used, at least in part because I distrust them. They tried to grab everything they could for free, and agreed to this only because the AG sued and won.

My feeling is that by opting-in, at least I have an eye on things.

Gillhoughly
05-18-2009, 11:36 PM
I decided to opt out.

But then I'm a control freak about my own works.

OTOH, it might make reprint sales easier for my agent, but don't take that as gospel.

I just like to keep things simple. My books, I own them, I prefer to sell them under my terms, not Google's.

If anyone wants to read samples they can come to my website, which they probably do in the first place.

ichMael
05-22-2009, 05:42 AM
Thanks for the replies. I can see the merits of both opting in and opting out. Google sure seems heavy-handed in this, though. Who gave them the right to begin the scanning in the first place? Makes me think of a "protection" racket. Thanks again.

Nivarion
05-22-2009, 08:45 AM
that does make me wonder. Why did they start scanning in the first place?

benbradley
05-22-2009, 09:03 AM
Thanks for the replies. I can see the merits of both opting in and opting out. Google sure seems heavy-handed in this, though. Who gave them the right to begin the scanning in the first place? Makes me think of a "protection" racket. Thanks again.

that does make me wonder. Why did they start scanning in the first place?
Short answer, because they can.

Slightly longer answer, because it's easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.

And (speaking IMHO, where H might mean haughty) because Google is so f'in BIG, and has lots of lawyers, and they surely talked with their lawyers about this before starting it. I'm sure it was all a calculated risk they decided to go ahead with, and some of the reasoning might have been like the Manhattan Project to make the nuclear bomb, "because if we don't fo it first they (whoever they are - Microsoft, IBM, some other big tech entity) will, and they'll have a jump on us."

If a much smaller company tried to do this, it would have either given up trying to do it or been run out of business just paying for all the lawyers defending the lawsuits. Just as "only Nixon could go to China," only Google could steal copy and share millions of books.

Saskatoonistan
05-22-2009, 02:28 PM
Google is skynet. The end starts with Google.

(Sounds like a premise for a book... huhrm...)

icerose
05-22-2009, 05:21 PM
How do you find out if they have your books or not? I really do NOT want my first two books out there, it took enough pain and suffering on my part to get them out of the public in the first place.

benbradley
05-22-2009, 07:02 PM
Here's a NYTimes story from Wednesday (maybe this is what the OP wanted to post):
Google Book-Scanning Pact to Give Libraries Input on Price
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/21/technology/companies/21google.htm

The headline of course only describes part of the article. Here's an interesting portion:

Google has faced an onslaught of opposition over the far-reaching settlement with authors and publishers. Complaints include the exclusive rights the agreement gives Google to publish online and to profit from millions of so-called orphan books, out-of-print books that are protected by copyright but whose rights holders cannot be found.

The Justice Department has also begun an inquiry into whether the settlement, which is subject to approval by a court, would violate antitrust laws.
How do you find out if they have your books or not? I really do NOT want my first two books out there, it took enough pain and suffering on my part to get them out of the public in the first place.
Not sure, but as a first approximation I'd look for them at:
http://books.google.com

icerose
05-22-2009, 07:09 PM
Not sure, but as a first approximation I'd look for them at:
http://books.google.com

Damn! They are both there. One wasn't even printed! *grumble* *grumble*

Guess I'd better sign up and get those stupid things off there. The last thing I want people doing is reading my PA mistakes.

icerose
05-28-2009, 06:39 PM
Well that's done, hopefully they'll disappear soon and only Amazon will have one of them up for my eternal shame.

Alpha Echo
05-28-2009, 06:48 PM
Slightly longer answer, because it's easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.

I have heard that so many times lately. Here at AW mostly, I think.

]/quote]
And (speaking IMHO, where H might mean haughty) because Google is so f'in BIG, and has lots of lawyers, and they surely talked with their lawyers about this before starting it. I'm sure it was all a calculated risk they decided to go ahead with, and some of the reasoning might have been like the Manhattan Project to make the nuclear bomb, "because if we don't fo it first they (whoever they are - Microsoft, IBM, some other big tech entity) will, and they'll have a jump on us."

If a much smaller company tried to do this, it would have either given up trying to do it or been run out of business just paying for all the lawyers defending the lawsuits. Just as "only Nixon could go to China," only Google could steal copy and share millions of books.[/quote]

I think you're right. Man...I've said it before and I'll say it again - Apple and Google are taking over the world.