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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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  • My people will not stand for this, there are over 1000 crore of us!

    Seriously though, despite not RTFAing, I believe that googles bookscanning should be an opt in and not opt out process.

    Thank you come again

    • by oldhack (1037484)
      "Crore" is 100k in "Indian". ;-)
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Well, yes. It seems atrocious when there are local prints of any and all books (including new ones) on which no royalties are paid to the publishers. Heck, we just crank up our local presses, and print off any books we want or need... If you doubt me, walk on the indian roads where they sell books on streets, and you'll find most new books, not the publisher print, but local for a fraction of the price. Thank you come again.
  • by Sanat (702) on Monday February 01, 2010 @12:44AM (#30977408)

    I wonder what it would be like to have to decide whether to sell your book or information for a slight profit or have your information available for many individuals who could use it for their own purposes.

    I personally would prefer to share information for the good of humanity and yet I know that their are those that are in it for the money alone.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by furbyhater (969847)
      Thanks for letting us know that you are A Good Person (TM).
      Some people might object of a megacorp using their creations for profit without even giving them notice.
      • Some people might object of a megacorp using their creations for profit without even giving them notice.

        It sucks when a doctor learns about new medical techniques and then uses them in his practice at an HMO.
        It sucks when an Avis or Hertz leases cars built with the sweat and labor of plant workers.
        It sucks when a scientist at Dow Chemical uses another scientist's research results as a foundation for his own research.

      • I too would prefer to share information for the good of humanity, but then I don't live of what I write*...

        But Google should have gone for opt-in for living authors, or if the author can't be found, a statement saying they would like to get in touch with him/her so they can ask him/her to opt-in.

        *)If you look around the internet you'll find most of what I written since school, available for the cost of having to endure it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

          But Google should have gone for opt-in for living authors, or if the author can't be found, a statement saying they would like to get in touch with him/her so they can ask him/her to opt-in.

          Which would have the effect of making no significant change to the current situation, and the current situation must change for their to be any significant progress.
          Make no mistake about it - the problem of orphaned works is huge and intractable under anything like, "opt in." For example, posting a statement saying they would like to get in touch with the copyright holder of an out-of-print work (the author doesn't mean squat under current law, only the copyright holder) will result in nearly zero response

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            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:4, Insightful)

            by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday February 01, 2010 @10:52AM (#30981048) Homepage Journal

            Make no mistake about it - the problem of orphaned works is huge and intractable

            It's huge, but not intractable. The cause is the insanely long terms of copyrights. If copyrights lasted a maximum of twenty or thirty years (originally it was only 14 years), you would have no orphaned works. Change copyright law so that lengths are reasonable instead of insane and the problem is solved.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Dare nMc (468959)

        using their creations for profit without even giving them notice.

        you'll get notice, google will send you the greater of 63% of Revenues Earned in Google Book Search [googlebooksettlement.com] or $60. At that point you can just take your money, and either let it keep coming, or opt out and send your book back into obscurity.

    • by DMiax (915735)

      I personally would prefer to share information for the good of humanity and yet I know that their are those that are in it for the money alone.

      Like Google, you mean?

    • by Rakishi (759894)

      Interesting, so I assume you work your day job for free then? After all why aren't you profiting your services to the good of humanity but actually selling them to someone? What about all the people who could use them but can't afford them?

      • by selven (1556643)

        What about all the people who could use them but can't afford them?

        Most day jobs are of the type where you're sold out - if you make 800 products, 800 people will buy at $50 and 800 people will buy at $0. It's just that their $40000 is going to you, so there's no net harm done.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      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.

      Nobod

  • 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 incessant

    • Chief Breaks Like The Wind

      I think they're the other kind of Indian. You know, from India.

    • by DMiax (915735)
      It's not about *leaving them alone*, it's about *not using their work*. To go for a Good Analogy: how would you like if the telemarketing agencies directly signed you up for the product without telling you? After all you just have to opt out...
  • Communism! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by schmidt349 (690948) on Monday February 01, 2010 @12:47AM (#30977430)

    God forbid Google should try to catalog, preserve, and make available out-of-print specialty books that are never going to get another run on the presses. I'm a specialist in a discipline (classical philology = ancient Greek/Roman literary studies) that depends heavily on this type of book, and I can't tell you the number of times I've discovered an old (like ca. 1960 or earlier) but important volume in a bibliography that my library doesn't have. I would kill to just be able to dial those books up on Google, but of course I can't because of bloodsuckers like these guys.

    Eventually rare but important books are just going to start disappearing, and by the time the problem gets big enough that the right people are aware of it we won't be able to do anything. Thanks a lot, publishers, for destroying untold amounts of information. I hope it was worth it.

    • Mod parent up. Bloodsuckers is the perfect term. Google is already giving them more then they'd have had otherwise.

      The issue must be even more prescient in your field. The pain of watching a book about the library of Alexandria fall into disrepair would be palpable.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by atheistmonk (1268392)
        The pain would be pulpable, even.
      • by Rogerborg (306625)
        Oh, well, if it's just about money, I guess it'd be fine for Microsoft to take the Linux kernel, close the source off, and throw a bunch of crumpled bills in Linus' general direction, right?
        • That is closing something not opening it. So the example you are looking for would be to open source windows 98 and pay windows for the opportunity. But the analogy still isn't even that good :/
          • by Rogerborg (306625)
            It's taking someone else's copyrighted work, tearing up their rights, and selling access to it. Which is also what Google is doing.
    • Re:Communism! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LordLucless (582312) on Monday February 01, 2010 @01:50AM (#30977798)
      Your problem isn't with people like this guy. It's with politicians who have pushed copyright into the realms of insanity. If works expired in 14 years, they would probably survive to enter the public domain.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SpeedyDX (1014595)

        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, thi

    • by HiThere (15173)

      The problem, as I see it, is that Google has a monopoly on this. They had to break the law to get this monopoly, and it took both slick lawyers and a pliant "adversary", but they got a court to give them a global right to copy "orphaned" works that are still within copyright.

      Now it's true, someone else could try the same game. Break the law and see if their lawyers are slick enough and their "adversary" is pliant enough and the judge is .... I can't figure out HOW to categorize that judge. If it all work

  • by peipas (809350) on Monday February 01, 2010 @12:49AM (#30977438)

    Google's proposed settlement of a US lawsuit turns copyright law on its head

    Good. Copyright law has been quite ridiculous for some time now.

    • That's exactly my thoughts on reading TFA. Especially this:

      "It means that the world has fundamentally accepted the concept that anybody, anywhere can copy what they want en masse without permission, and then ask people to opt out", he added.

      I was thinking how great it would be if that was how it worked. If copyright owners basically had to contact the users and distributers of works and say "Oi, that's mine, either throw us some money (a reasonable amount) or cease, desist and delete."

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by LandDolphin (1202876)
        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.
        • Of course they set the price. They might be willing to haggle with someone who says, "I love your stuff and I can show at least ten people I introduced to your work who hadn't heard of you before, hows about 90% a discount" but they set the final price. I so wish google had got this through the courts without anyone really noticing...
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

          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.

          No, they do not own the rights - at best they are leasing them from the Public.
          Since it is the Public who Grants the copyright in the first place, then the Public should have a say in the pricing too.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by DMiax (915735)
      Do not worry, the settlement will only apply to Google. You are still subject to death penalty if you whistle a copyrighted song.
    • by centuren (106470)

      Google's proposed settlement of a US lawsuit turns copyright law on its head

      Good. Copyright law has been quite ridiculous for some time now.

      I see this potentially being about more than specific copyright law. There has been such a big fuss about the direction Google has taken with Google Books, and I've read a lot of opinions on Slashdot that point to this and rebuke Google for it. If I'm to interpret this by "Do no evil" then I am hard pressed to sympathise with authors and publishers at all. With ebooks moving more into the mainstream, thanks largely to ebook readers like the Kindle and the ebook stores that pair with such devices, I see more

      • Still, I bring it up because if Google manages to find a ebook business model that better reflect how I see the consumer value of books, that's fantastic, and I hope they manage to overcome opposition from everyone who will be forced to face a change in their industry.

        You fundamentally misunderstand Google's proposed settlement. This isn't about a change in the industry, it's about Google (and Google alone) cornering the market.

        Google's proposed settlement gives Google alone the right to universal

        • by centuren (106470)

          You fundamentally misunderstand Google's proposed settlement.

          This is essentially true, although technically, it's that I don't find the specifics of the settlement particularly interesting until Google's plan comes together and we see what they actually do with it.

          This isn't about a change in the industry, it's about Google (and Google alone) cornering the market.

          Sounds like a change in the industry to me, but I get what you mean. More to the point, just what market is Google cornering? Out-of-print books? Or is it more about ebook versions of books that weren't digital until Google scanned them? It seems like what the specifics, it's a market that no one was paying

    • Sorry, but this is a particle with a spin of 1/2. You have to turn it around 360 degrees, until it’s on its real opposite side (head).
      180 degrees is still bad. Just in another direction. ;)

  • I've seen dozens of stories about this, and never got the impression that Google was going to sell the books it's scanning. I thought it was purely free searching and browsing, with google profiting maybe from contextual advertising.

    Are they planning selling print-on-demand copies? For cost, or to turn a profit?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by biryokumaru (822262) *
      Yes, they plan on selling/presently do sell the print-on-demand versions, very cheaply. I haven't had to pay to view any text on Google Books over the internet, though, so I imagine that should remain free indefinitely.
      • The settlement in question which these Indian authors are so upset about was just about the right to publish excerpts though right?

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Google has a deal with some books-on-demand kiosk company to sell these out-of-print books via that means. I hear the binding is super-shitty, but if you could optionally get it printed on good paper and with some kind of durable toner (or whatever) you could have books rebound if you wanted to keep them. It might even lead to a cottage industry in bookbinding :)

  • by Onetus (23797) on Monday February 01, 2010 @01:02AM (#30977526) Homepage

    Having read the article, it seems like a rather large whinge.

    If you're receiving a royalty cheque for your books, then have whomever is paying you your royalty cheque opt-opt of google if you so desire.
    Is it such a technical hurdle for a publishing company to indicate to Google that Books X, Y & Z are opt-out, or even that ALL books that they publish are to be opt-out?
    Because if you're not receiving money for your books - why would you have any objections to it being available to all ?

    Whom deserves the greater inconvenience? Those who actively publish books or those who can't find the authors (dead, recluse, one name among millions) to get permission. Which one of those two is doing it for a living and has the ability to do so? Imho we can't trust publishers to provide information/contacts for authors and books so permission can be sought, when it's a task that won't earn them money. It seems that slating it as an opt-out forces those who want to maintain their control must actively do so, and no amount of spin is going to make the complaint about having to do more as part of publishing seem anything more than a whinge.

    • by Todd Knarr (15451)

      IIRC, if the author is receiving royalty payments then Google isn't going to scan their works and sell them. The opt-out provision only applies to works where the copyright holder is either unknown or not responding to contact attempts (the class of works referred to as "orphan works"). If as an author you've got works out there that Google won't be able to associate with you, it's your responsibility to tell Google about it. To me, that seems reasonable. The alternative is seeing a large body of work disap

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rockoon (1252108)

        The opt-out provision only applies to works where the copyright holder is either unknown or not responding to contact attempts (the class of works referred to as "orphan works").

        Bullshit. What you are suggesting is that for each of the MILLIONS of published works that Google is going to make an effort to contact the rights holders?

        Are you serious? Its laughable to even entertain the thought. This is how its going to work: Google will submit a list to BIG PUBLISHERS and if THEY own the rights to or have a contract with the rights holder of any of the material then they will submit an opt-out list right back. Thats it. Thats the extent of the "attempt to contact" that will happen.

        • by Todd Knarr (15451)

          Nope, not according to the settlement terms. If the author sues, the burden will be on Google to show they took reasonable steps (at the very least contacting the publisher to get contact info and/or running a Google search for the author's name). If Google can't, they're liable for standard copyright-infringement damages. And even if Google shows they took reasonable steps and the author wasn't contactable, Google's still on the hook for royalties for every copy they make. At absolute worst the author walk

          • by Rockoon (1252108)
            Did you even think about that before typing it?

            You suggest that an author file suit against Google.. and then.. "the burden will be on google to show.."

            I got news for you buddy. Thats not how it works in America. The burden will be on the plaintiff (the author) to show that defendant (Google) did not take "reasonable steps." ..

            Your conclusion that "at absolute worst" the author gets royalties is wrong. At absolute worst the author goes bankrupt fighting against a behemoth corporation and ends up with
    • Also 14 authors/publishers does not make a lot of people for a country like India. Can't someone in India start a counter-petition? Acquiring more than 14 signatures shouldn't be too difficult these days. With a site like Facebook or its Indian equivalent, it shouldn't take more than five seconds.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by houghi (78078)

      Opt out is NEVER a good thing. But appernetly Google can do so.

      I got some copyright. That copyright tells that there is no opt-out. It is all opt-in. So if you, as a company, start to make deals I am not involved in that overstep those rights, you can be sure that I will complain.

      What needs to change and can be done by governement is to firstly change the copyright laws. e.g. 14 years and after that it is in public domain. At that moment my rights are not violated and the company (or individual or whoever)

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Because if you're not receiving money for your books - why would you have any objections to it being available to all ?

      Because some people are selfish, stingy assholes. The same kind of people who lock others out of their wifi connection because "I paid for it, why should my neighbor get it for free? I don't care if it doesn't cost me anything to share it, I'm a selfish bastard."

      • "I paid for it, why should my neighbor get it for free? I don't care if it doesn't cost me anything to share it, I'm a selfish bastard."

        Please tell me where your ISP provides you with infinite bandwidth and no usage caps, and I will bring a truck full of hard drives.

        I think it does cost you something: a slice of your bandwidth pie. Your ISP may also hold you accountable for the kiddie porn your neighbour downloads.

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          I think it does cost you something: a slice of your bandwidth pie.

          If I'm trying to DL the new distro and it seems slow I can shut the wifi off. As far as the "kiddie porn" that's a red herring. There just aren't that many pederasts.

    • Is it such a technical hurdle for a publishing company to indicate to Google that Books X, Y & Z are opt-out, or even that ALL books that they publish are to be opt-out?

      Yes. Economics 101: competition requires a market with several players. A market with a single player is a monopoly.

      The (class action) settlement gives Google alone the super-right of ignoring copyright. Fix the settlement, so that every company and every person gets the super-right to ignore copyright, and maybe we can talk ab

  • by bcrowell (177657) on Monday February 01, 2010 @01:22AM (#30977636) Homepage

    The reason it's opt-out is that there's a huge number of orphaned works out there whose copyrights are still valid but that can't be bought legally because they're out of print. The authors are probably dead, and the publishers aren't interested in communicating with anyone about the works, because the amount of money they could get out of it wouldn't be worth their time. Therefore it can't be opt-in. The copyright regime is having the effect of making these books permanently unavailable, which isn't doing the authors (or their heirs or their readers) any good. If copyright terms were more reasonable, it wouldn't be such a big problem, but congress has basically decided to keep extending copyrights so that they never expire. That's what's created this huge class of orphaned works. The only way to deal with the problem is to make it opt-out.

    Some authors are complaining, after the class-action suit is all over, that it's unfair and they weren't consulted. Well, sorry, but that's how a class-action suit works. They have to make a certain legal effort to notify you as a member of the class, but if you don't see a notification, you're out of luck, and the settlement applies to you just like everyone else. Boo hoo. Go ahead and opt out.

    • Go ahead and opt out.

      I really don't see the problem. If a Copyright holder doesn't want to be involved, they can opt out.

    • by sapphire wyvern (1153271) on Monday February 01, 2010 @03:17AM (#30978152)

      The real problem is that this is a huge change to how copyright law has previously worked, and it's being implemented by private enterprise and a trade association and their associated lawyers without any actual involvement of an elected legislature or executive.

      I'm all for the creation of a right to scan, archive, and make available orphaned works. I'm happy for Google to do the work and take whatever profit they can obtain from the market for orphaned works. (In fact, I think that if a copyright holder fails to make their copyrighted works available on Reasonable And Non Discriminatory terms, their copyright protection on those works should automatically cease. It should *never* be possible to use copyright to keep culture and knowledge away from public access). However, I think that right should be created by proper modification to copyright law, not by using class-action law to make an end run around the legislative system to create a monopoly on Google's behalf.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        > The real problem is that this is a huge change to how copyright law has previously worked,

        No not really. All it's really doing is setting the clock back about 30 years to before when Disney got ahold of American copyright law and bent it all out of shape. This "Google Tragedy" is actually setting things right to a considerable degree.

        "Opt out" is also very much comparable to the real property equivalent. So all of you people whining about how "intellectual property" should be treated like the real thin

        • No not really. All it's really doing is setting the clock back about 30 years to before when Disney got ahold of American copyright law and bent it all out of shape. This "Google Tragedy" is actually setting things right to a considerable degree.

          No it's not. *I* don't have the right to scan old (orphaned) books and make them available on *my* website. *You* don't have that right. Nobody does, except for Google. That's not setting the clock back, that's giving Google an unfair monopoly, and we all

    • by Rockoon (1252108)

      The reason it's opt-out is that there's a huge number of orphaned works out there whose copyrights are still valid but that can't be bought legally because they're out of print.

      This is not a good enough reason.

      Here is the deal. Right now its just Google trying to get this deal set up, so right now you would have to contact only one entity (Google) and that doesnt seem so bad...

      ...but you can bet your ass that Google will not hold an exclusive here for very long, because that would be terribly wrong on so many levels (can you say Monopoly?) Microsoft will get in the game, then others. Before you know it, the author will have to opt out on a dozen different services.. then two

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        >> The reason it's opt-out is that there's a huge number of orphaned works
        >> out there whose copyrights are still valid but that can't be bought legally
        >> because they're out of print.
        >
        > This is not a good enough reason.

        Wrong. That's just about the most valid reason possible.

        Someone needs to preserve this stuff and it's obvious that the "owners" have no interest.

        Nevermind "opt out". They should simply lose their rights altogether.

        It should be "use it or lose it", "publish or die".

        • by Rockoon (1252108)
          Your argument not only dies for being just a generalization, but because its also bullshit.

          The definition of an orphaned work is not "the owners have no interest in preservation of the work" like you claim. The definition of an orphaned work in this case is "google couldn't contact them" .. you dont get to change the definition.
    • by russotto (537200)

      Well, sorry, but that's how a class-action suit works. They have to make a certain legal effort to notify you as a member of the class, but if you don't see a notification, you're out of luck, and the settlement applies to you just like everyone else. Boo hoo. Go ahead and opt out.

      And that's pretty messed up. A sues B, and they come to a settlement which extinguishes C's rights without his input.

    • The reason it's opt-out is that there's a huge number of orphaned works out there whose copyrights are still valid but that can't be bought legally because they're out of print.

      It's a very good argument for significant copyright term reduction. It's not a good argument for a settlement which puts a for-profit corporation in a privileged position of being able to effectively violate copyright, and not being held responsible for it, in a way no-one else can.

      I mean, why can't I have authors "opt out" of, say, me downloading their books? After all, I can just assume that all books are orphaned unless I get told otherwise, so surely it's better that way?

  • by mec08 (1734462)
    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 !
  • Objects in India are going to Google a book settlement? What kind of objects? And why can't they use Bing?
  • since when do... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jDeepbeep (913892) on Monday February 01, 2010 @09:45AM (#30980186)
    Since when do 15 authors constitute "India"?

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