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DoJ Recommends NY Court Reject Google Book Deal 124

Posted by timothy
from the march-of-unprogress dept.
eldavojohn writes "The BBC and others are reporting on the US Department of Justice's recommendation to a New York court that they reject the Google book deal. The deal has received considerable attention, but for the most part it has been negative."
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DoJ Recommends NY Court Reject Google Book Deal

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  • by burner (8666) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @03:44PM (#29478555) Homepage Journal

    That's why it's a recommendation.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @03:45PM (#29478563) Homepage

    Because it's simple:

    Copyright law is an agreement between "the people" (aka the government) and you. The first part of the agreement is that you enjoy protection and exclusive rights to copy and distribute. The second part of the agreement, that copyright holders often forget about, ignore or otherwise disregard, is that in exchange for said protection, the works would be released into the public domain upon expiry of the term of protection.

    Here's the problem. The agreement is now lasting longer than the media it is distributed upon. This makes the works for which the people offered you copyright protection, unavailable to the people by the time the agreement expires thereby depriving the people of their public domain works and in fact the cultural and historical value of the works.

    By having it available in digital archives, there is an increased chance that the works will still be available whenever the term of the copyright protection agreement has ended.

  • by Eighty7 (1130057) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @04:05PM (#29478719)
    It's only "exclusive" in the sense that google is the defendant. Any other company is quite free to go through the whole process again ie scan, get sued & make their own settlement. Anyway as I recall google is making these books available to other companies.
  • by MacWiz (665750) <gzieman54.gmail@com> on Sunday September 20, 2009 @01:27AM (#29481381) Journal

    But with the exclusivity, you give Google a monopoly over out-of-print books.

    We're talking about works that the publishers had decided to let die. The copyrights are still in force, but there are not enough sales to justify printing another copy. As a result, they are not currently available at any price.

    The damage to both the consumers and authors took place when the books were taken off the market. As long as they are both out of print and still protected by copyright, without an agreement such as this, we would be forced to wait 100 years or more before the works to fall into public domain and be available again.

    Google may get a monopoly on them, but the bottom line is that the authors will start getting paid again while they are still alive, something which no one else was apparently offering to do. And the copyright owners can let anyone collectively manage their individual monopolies (copyrights) in any way they see fit.

    Just because the agreement with Google didn't say that "any other company may also have the same rights under the same terms" does not constitute exclusivity. It would have to say that someone like Amazon (or your other examples) could not negotiate a similar deal. Exclusivity cannot be implied from what the agreement does not say.

    Since they got on it first, I wouldn't think it out of line if Google did receive exclusivity for a certain number of years before the publishers opened it up to competition. This would let some sort of standard be worked out before people like Microsoft get in and start trying to bastardize it.

    Overall, this is a good deal for consumers (who get access to "lost" works) and authors (the intended beneficiaries of copyright law). The DOJ is against it because it's filled with RIAA lawyers and the concept of paying the authors is foreign to them.

  • Re:Lets just... (Score:3, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday September 20, 2009 @06:40AM (#29482207) Journal
    Nothing is stopping you from offering to license your books to Google (or anyone else) outside of this deal, or even releasing them under a license that permits redistribution by anyone for a fixed fee. The problem with the deal is that it gives Google the right to distribute a large number of works but doesn't provide any means for other people to acquire the same rights short of committing wholesale copyright infringement, being sued, and hoping for the same settlement.

    Oh, and $2000 is a bit low. If Google has already distributed your book then you might be better off opting out of the class-action suit; the statutory fines for wilful infringement start at $7500 and go all the way up to $150K per work.

God may be subtle, but he isn't plain mean. -- Albert Einstein

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