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India Objects To Google Book Settlement 169

Posted by timothy
from the hey-fellas-let's-talk-this-over-some-more dept.
angry tapir writes "About 15 Indian authors and publishers, and two Indian organizations, have submitted their objections to Google's plan to scan and sell books online. Google's proposed settlement of a US lawsuit turns copyright law on its head, according to Siddharth Arya, legal counsel for the Indian Reprographic Rights Organisation, which licenses reproduction rights to books and other publications."
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India Objects To Google Book Settlement

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  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <> on Monday February 01, 2010 @12:46AM (#30977420)

    I used to get called every evening several times by unscrupulous companies trying to part me from my money. They expanded from just calling my home to calling me at the office, then calling my family. What started as a polite brief conversation in which I rejected their offer and asked them to stop calling me became a vicious conversation with yelling on each end of the phone. Hanging up had no effect since they simply called me back. Somehow my phone number was marked as Active and I was harassed incessantly by these goons.

    But then I found out about opting out and did just that. Now when I get a call from these telemarketing agencies I make sure I get their name and then report them to the local BBB. It's nice to have recourse when I get called now.

    So when an author with a handful of books and articles needs to write a single note to Google to tell them to leave them alone, it's not a terribly huge burden. For a bunch of people who make their living *writing*, what's the big deal in saying, "Hey Goog, don't upload my books. Thanks, Chief Breaks Like The Wind"?

  • by LandDolphin (1202876) on Monday February 01, 2010 @01:28AM (#30977672)
    As long s the "a reasonable amount" is set by the Copyright Holder. They own the rights, and should be free to set the price.
  • Re:Communism! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Monday February 01, 2010 @02:36AM (#30977982) Homepage

    The solution of course, is registration and renewal.

    To get a copyright, an author must opt-in by registering with the various national copyright offices in the countries in which he seeks protection. If he fails to do this within a modest period of time (say, 1 year after the first publication of the work, anywhere in the world, where publication is taken very broadly, or 5 years after creation of the work if unpublished), the work falls into the public domain. For copyrighted works, the copyright term is very short (say, 1 year from registration), but can be extended for another term if the copyright holder renews the copyright before the current term expires; if he fails to do this, the work falls into the public domain. And the number of renewals is limited depending on the class of work (e.g. software might have a maximum copyright length of 5 years, while a movie might have a maximum length of 20 years), letting the work fall into the public domain when it can no longer be renewed and the last term expires.

    The forms for registration and renewal would always require the applicant to provide up-to-date contact information. This would be further strengthened by strengthening and enlarging the notice formality, using unique IDs for works, similar to how patents are handled and patented goods are marked. Not only would third parties have a good idea who held the copyright at any given time, but they'd also have a good idea of which copyrights were involved to aid in finding the right records to begin with.

    This is by no means difficult for authors. In the US, registration and renewal, by various means, were standard features of our copyright system for nearly two centuries, and we managed okay. The paperwork is roughly about as difficult as a change of address form filed with the Post Office, and in any case, authors encounter plenty of forms in their daily lives just like the rest of us, whether it's taxes, registering to vote, getting a driver's license, filling out an intake form at the doctor's office, etc. They're not children, and don't need to be coddled. There might be fees, but they should be kept to a minimum, merely to avoid having people abuse the system, rather than to raise revenue, or make the system self-supporting, or to tax authors. I'd be perfectly happy with a token $1 fee per registration or renewal.

  • by mec08 (1734462) on Monday February 01, 2010 @02:41AM (#30978008) Homepage Journal
    In fact, I support google . He just want to give more use-full information to people on the internet. But he has some trouble, not only in Indian ,Also in my own county,China. Good luck ! google !
  • Re:Deciding (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SpeedyDX (1014595) <[speedyphoenix] [at] []> on Monday February 01, 2010 @03:24AM (#30978184)

    That's kind of a non-sequitur. The GGP clearly implied that if he were to write a book, he would share it for free.

    As for the GGP: Some people write books for a living, and that's a perfectly acceptable career choice. Sure, if I come up with a very plausible epistemological account, I would want to share that information with as many people as I can. But I'd also like to be able to SURVIVE.

    Let's say that I somehow invalidated the scientific method as it currently stands and replace it with some other method that is fundamentally different and is better able to arrive at truth (For the sake of argument, please allow that this is in principle possible). I think that such an achievement would undoubtedly add value to the world. Do you think that I would be somehow morally inferior if I wanted to be compensated for my contribution to human knowledge? I may not study what I study or write what I write motivated only by greed for money, but that doesn't mean that it's a moral failure on my part to derive the money I need in order to survive or be able to live a good life from the fruits of my study or writing. Same goes with people who write fiction or how-to guides or what-have-you. They are providing something of value at significant cost to themselves.

    I don't know if you realize this, but it takes a LOT of time and effort to write a good book. Sure, a sizable portion of the author population want to share what they write to the world, but they need to live. They need to feed themselves, they need to feed their families, they need shelter. How is that a moral deficiency as you imply by your post?

    As much as people around these parts like to say that information wants to be free (as in beer and/or speech, depending on who you ask), the fact of the matter is that the process of coming up with that information and writing and organizing it in a way that is clear and comprehensible is not free (as in beer). Money goes in for research grants, people put in tremendous amounts of hours painstakingly researching and organizing their data or information. These people contribute (some significantly, some less so) to the common good of human knowledge. And you don't think that they should have the moral right to some recompense for their investment?

    I can't comment on the case proper as I don't know enough about the specifics, but your implication that it is a moral deficiency on the part of an author to expect some compensation when someone makes use of or otherwise consumes their work is ludicrous.

  • Re:Deciding (Score:3, Interesting)

    by digitalunity (19107) <digitalunity@yah ... om minus painter> on Monday February 01, 2010 @03:28AM (#30978200) Homepage

    This is, I think, the most significant argument against copyright extensions. I have no problem with someone living off their own creative works. But when a corporation lives off the work of an individual long since dead, thats a sign of something gone askew.

    If 95 years isn't too long, take it to its logical conclusion. Indefinite copyright extensions. Sound absurd? I bet I'll see it in my lifetime, bought and paid for with Disney's dollars.

    Copyright was a grant to artists for the benefit of society. We get to enjoy their art years after they produce it. They get temporary exclusivity to make money off it, supposedly to produce more art for us to enjoy. It was a great idea conceptually. Kind of like a patent. The pendulum has swung far, far in favor of artists or corporations. Society is no longer a benefactor of the copyrights they grant.

    The pendulum will swing back eventually, but not before populists takes over completely.

  • Re:Communism! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SpeedyDX (1014595) <[speedyphoenix] [at] []> on Monday February 01, 2010 @03:34AM (#30978216)

    This is exactly right, I think. If copyright were held to some reasonable time limit, most works would easily be preserved. Additional changes to copyright could also work to ensure that any reasonably available works are preserved. If, for example, third parties like Google were allowed to scan and store the books without distributing or otherwise making use of them (other than fair use, presumably) until the copyright term expires, then it would allow the archival and preservation of works. Of course, this probably opens a whole other can of worms in terms of other copyright issues.

    So really, the problem is not that people want to be compensated for their work (we all do - some of us code, some of us do constructions, some of us cook, some of us write, but we all want to be paid for doing whatever we do), but rather that systems of copyright as they stand are not striking a good balance (or ANY balance, really) between ensuring that people are paid for their work and ensuring the preservation and free use of works for the future.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 01, 2010 @06:39AM (#30979042)

    So how would opt in work? Would the author who is dead and has no relatives or recipients of the copyrights mail google and tell them the book is OK to scan?

    Maybe they would email the entire world and wait until everyone in the world has answered "no, I don't own the copyrights" before scanning?

  • Re:Deciding (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CanadianRealist (1258974) on Monday February 01, 2010 @09:26AM (#30979922)

    I've often thought that keeping something in print should be a requirement for copyright.

    The extreme case would be letting it go out of print ends your copyright and it becomes public domain. Less extreme would be allowing something to go out of print extends fair use to making complete copies. After all, if it's not possible to buy your work then you really can't claim a loss if someone makes a copy.

    This seems a bit like requiring people to defend trademarks in order to keep them.

  • Re:Deciding (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday February 01, 2010 @10:43AM (#30980932) Homepage Journal

    I personally would prefer to share information for the good of humanity

    Not just for humanity's good, but for your own. Go to Cory Doctorow's web site and read Little Brother. It's a good novel, but outside the novel but inside the book is a very good explanation of WHY he puts his books online and free. If I've never heard of you there's no way in hell I'll buy one of your books, but if I check one out from the library (or read it on the internet) and like your work, I'm likely to buy a different one.

    Nobody ever went broke from "piracy", but many have gone hungry from obscurity. Doctorow's a New York Times best selling author, and he gives some of the credit to the fact that he puts his books online.

    Sometimes your own greed and stinginess can prevent you from making a lot of money.

If I want your opinion, I'll ask you to fill out the necessary form.