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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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  • Lets just... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @02:32PM (#29478045)
    Lets just reform copyright law and eliminate this problem altogether.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by symbolset (646467)
      Lets just abolish copyright and eliminate this problem altogether.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Let me guess, not an artist, writer, or musician, are you?

      • by DAldredge (2353)
        Why should you have the right to use my programs for free?
        • by symbolset (646467)
          I don't want to use your programs. I know who you work for. You can keep 'em.
          • by DAldredge (2353)
            And who do you think I work for?
            • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

              by symbolset (646467)

              Let's just say that I don't run Windows for personal use even in a VM. It's just got nothing I need in it. And with very rare exceptions I don't buy software even for Linux. Sometime I do it just to encourage the vendor - RedHat, WordPerfect, X-Plane, Unreal Tournament 2003, World of Warcraft are I think the only ones (WOW under wine). In each case I tried the stuff for a few days and binned it.

              I don't steal the stuff - it's just been many years since there wasn't a free and open solution for something

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          Why should you have the right to use my programs for free?

          Normally you would have a point. But:
          Why do I have to pay TV contribution when I don't have a working TV?
          Why do I have to pay compensation for local copyright holders' when I buy a photocopier? I use it explicitly for my job (replication of technical studies done by me).
          My cousin has a traditional morning cafe. Why did he have to pay compensation for the local RIAA? He did not have a radio in his cafe until recently.
          There is a, state owned, special newspaper which publishes all the new laws that are ma

        • by bentcd (690786)

          Why should you have the right to use my programs for free?

          If you absolutely hate the idea of other people benefiting from your software then you just keep it to yourself. It's that simple.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BudAaron (1231468)
      This whole objection thing pi$$es me off! I have about 20 old books that I wrote years ago. This deal is worth anywhere from $ 1200 to $ 2000 that I could sure use but now everyone is weighing in to prevent that. I WANT my books included!
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 (641858)
        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

    • by Pieroxy (222434)

      You are actually right. Let's decide that only the copyright holders are allowed to read the books, and we're done. That's pretty much what they're aiming at for music, and books are sure to follow the same path.

      What will it mean for public domain books? Well... no copyright holders means that those books will be removed from the market altogether. That way, the situation is really clear cut.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @02:43PM (#29478115) Journal
    This is only a good thing if it leads to a better arrangement. The google book deal is not ideal, but at least it gets the books out there. If as a result of this deal being struck down we have copyright reform (not likely, since at the moment people dying of lack of health care is a significantly bigger issue), then it is good. If as a result of this deal being struck down, a better deal is negotiated with Google (which is possible), then it will still not be ideal. If as a result of this deal being struck down, nothing ends up happening, which is possible, it would be worse for the world.
    • by pembo13 (770295)

      What would a better deal look like in your opinion?

      • by Rogerborg (306625) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @02:57PM (#29478197) Homepage
        A mechanism for individual authors to register and get paid directly, not for the money to go to a bunch of lawyers who have declared themselves to be working on behalf of those authors.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by phantomfive (622387)
        In my opinion? The optimal solution would be to reduce copyright to a reasonable number of years, and increase fair use protections.

        However, that is probably not what you were asking. In my opinion, the worst part of the deal is that it's exclusive to Google, and that third parties cannot get into it. This makes Google kind of the digital gateway for a lot of content. And I like Google, but at one time I liked HP, too. Organizations change over time, and it can be dangerous to make one group the digi
  • by nweaver (113078) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @02:53PM (#29478185) Homepage

    If the settlement was "any other company may also have the same rights under the same terms", it would be a VERY good deal.

    But with the exclusivity, it is very bad. Without the exclusivity, someone else could take the time to do the scanning, and the sales. EG, Amazon, Microsoft, Yahoo, or even a new startup.

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If you are so woried about not making any money from your out-of-print books, maybe you should consider printing them again?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gilroy (155262)

        It's not just about making money. (I know -- the horror!) It's also about control and access. Why should any one company, even Google, get sole and exclusive rights to works in the public domain?

        • 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 HiThere (15173)

            Google is optionally making their scans available to at least one other companies. Some of them are reputed to be of very poor quality, but nobody else is allowed to make them. Sometimes because of this court decision, and other times because of the exclusive contracts that Google made with the various libraries that contained copies of the out-of-print works. (And sometimes, I guess, both.)

            I've not been well pleased by the way Google has been courting exclusive control.

            P.S.: The company that I'm aware

          • by shentino (1139071)

            Unfortunately you are not correct in this case because it was a class action suit.

    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by smoker2 (750216)
      Well spotted, and not only do you do that, you also make google the rights holder with the govt. being tied by contract. Let's let google handle the economy shall we ? Anything else we can put in the hands of profit driven private enterprise ? speaking as a UK resident, we gave gas, electricity and water over to private enterprise and they are all, without exception, owned by foreign powers and are much more expensive. Even though the public purse had paid dearly to develop the infrastructure. Go you liber
      • by Thing 1 (178996)

        [...] google are getting a long way on goodwill. Sure they promise not to be evil [...]

        I'm currently reading Confucious' works (thank you, Project Gutenberg), and in "The Sayings of Confucious" book 2 appears the quote, "Think no evil."

        I think Google is secretly a communist organization. :)

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          There's nothing inherently evil about communism; like all governments it will slip into evil if not regulated by the people, but since that hardly sets it apart from capitalism (there are real lessons to be learned in that department by what America is doing in the world right now — shit, we filled up mass graves with Panamanians for the purposes of securing profits and now people are suprised when they hear about the same thing in the middle east?)

          • by Thing 1 (178996)
            Yeah, the Communism part was a joke -- but I did like the similarity between way-old-school philosophy, and a modern corporation, and also find it easy to believe that the Google motto was influenced/written by someone familiar with Confucious' works.
    • by Kirijini (214824)

      Google doesn't get exclusive rights. Read section 2.4 [thepublicindex.org] of the settlement agreement:

      Non-Exclusivity of Authorizations. The authorizations granted to Google in this Settlement Agreement are non-exclusive only, and nothing in this Settlement Agreement shall be construed as limiting any Rightsholder's right to authorize, through the Registry or otherwise, any Person, including direct competitors of Google, to use his, her or its Books or Inserts in any way, including ways identical to those provided for under this Settlement Agreement.

      Competitors would have to make their own deal with the rightholders - so, they wouldn't necessarily get the same terms - but that's normal business practice. You gotta negotiate your own contract, not piggyback on a competitor's.

      • It is not standard business practice for a company that breaks the law to get preferential terms. Well, maybe it is, but if so that highlights a fairly serious flaw in the system.
    • 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, w

  • Screw the DoJ (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @02:56PM (#29478193) Homepage

    In its present form it would, it said, give Google sole authority for books whose copyright holder could not be found

    In other words, they're terrified of the prospect that Google is extending the doctrine of squatters' rights to intellectual property.

  • by hessian (467078) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @03:15PM (#29478337) Homepage Journal

    There must always be some large, slow-moving body (like a Mammoth, but preferably evil like a corporation or government) which We The People assault to prove our virtue if not virility.

    Yesterday, Microsoft and George W. Bush; today, Google and Nancy Pelosi. So it goes.

  • US DOJ recommending to a New York court

    Isn't the judiciary branch supposed to be independent of executive?

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

      That's why it's a recommendation.

  • DOJ?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by KwKSilver (857599) on Saturday September 19, 2009 @03:30PM (#29478463)
    Is this the same DOJ that has been packed with "ex" Microsoft lawyers? The same Microsoft that's run by some Mussolini-lookalike who's supposed to have said, "I'm gonna fucking kill Google!"
    • by HiThere (15173)

      That doesn't mean that *all* of their suggestions are bad. I distrust monopolies wherever they appear.

    • "Is this the same DOJ that has been packed with "ex" Microsoft lawyers?"

      Perhaps they just jumped ship to be on the winning team (i.e. the DOJ won, MS lost). DOJ lawyers moving to MS would be the suspicious scenario, not the other way around.

    • Is this the same DOJ that has been packed with "ex" Microsoft lawyers?

      You have to understand that lawyers are mercenary. They push the views of who ever is paying for their $3000 suits. That these guys once worked for Microsoft really doesn't say much, they work for the DoJ now so there's no telling who they are looking out for, but it isn't necessarily Microsoft.

    • by shentino (1139071)

      Not to mention all the RIAA cronies...

  • > The Google book deal has received considerable attention but
    > for the most part it has been negative.

    Surely most of the general public has viewed this Google project as a positive thing. Only large multinational corporations such as the large publishing houses, the RIAA [sic], Sony, and Microsoft (with their copyright and DRM interests) are the ones squeeling about Google making a fair-use amount of a book available for a reader to peruse.

    Lets face it, MP3s make it easy for listeners to decide in a

    • I think it's the exclusivity that bothers me. I don't particularly trust Google any more than Amazon and anyone else. Beyond that, I question the legitimacy of Google and a group that alleges to represent all authors cutting a deal. How is Google, at the end of the day, any more trustworthy a gatekeeper than Amazon, Microsoft or anyone else?

      And I know a number of academics and authors have already called the deal into question as well, so its hardly just big multinationals.

      • by mathfeel (937008)
        But what's stopping other companies from making the same deal? Someone like Google, who wants to and seems to have the muscle to guard (or at least classify?) all digital information, made the deal first is not completely surprising.
        • by belmolis (702863)

          What is stopping other companies is that the current deal gives Google exclusive rights. What the objectors want is a non-exclusive arrangment.

          • And this is precisely why the DoJ does not want the deal to go ahead. Worse, to my mind, than a natural monopoly, is a government (or in this case court) sanctioned monopoly. A considerable number of people, including, yes, other corporations, but also academics and librarians, are deeply concerned about this, and view Google's suddenly "opening up" to let other companies gain access as nothing more than a bandaid.

        • But what's stopping other companies from making the same deal?

          The fact that the settlement provides no mechanism for their doing so. The only reason Google got these terms is that they committed massive, commercial, copyright infringement and got sued. The group suing them managed to get their suit counted as a class-action, meaning that they got to represent anyone who didn't explicitly opt out. They then settled. Given that the minimum fine for wilful copyright infringement in the USA is $7,500 and the terms of the settlement amounted to a small fraction of this

    • "Surely most of the general public has viewed this Google project as a positive thing."

      I disagree (and stop calling me shirley)

  • There are probably only a handfull of corporations with the resources to accomplish this on the scale that it's being done, and Google is the only one that has expressed enthusiasm for doing it. Instead of breaking the deal up, in which case everyone loses and noone wins, they should broker a more favorable deal with Google.

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