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$125 Million Settlement In Authors Guild v. Google 238

James Gleick writes "Authors, publishers, and Google are announcing a huge settlement deal today in their lawsuits over the scanning of millions of copyrighted books in library collections. Google has agreed to a huge payout for books that were scanned without permission, but now they'll be allowed to scan the books legitimately. Most important, they'll be able to put millions of books online, including those still in copyright — not just for searching and not just in snippets. There is a groundbreaking new licensing system meant to make the books as widely available as possible while protecting the authors' copyrights and enabling them to share in the revenue. Some will differ, but personally I think this is a wonderful outcome, for readers and for authors alike."
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$125 Million Settlement In Authors Guild v. Google

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @10:15AM (#25540823)

    Good now it will be easier to find source material for all the obscure topics on my Wikipedia to-do list.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Which will only encourage your "obscure sources" to keep trying to suck money using an obsolete business model, all the better if somebody with deep pockets(Google) is willing to pay.

      Hell, they should be paying Google for the free and wide-reaching exhibition of their writings.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by theaveng ( 1243528 )

        I'm sorry- How is an author's desire to get paid for his sweat, labor, and time "obsolete"? On the contrary, I consider that progressive.

        Certainly more progressive than the 10,000-year-old practice of "shackling a man" and forcing him to work for free (slavery). The Romans built a whole culture around "educated slaves" who produced written documents and other useful arts. Caesar himself had several enslaved writers. That doesn't mean the American and European Unions should follow down the same path.

        Whe

        • by ShadowRangerRIT ( 1301549 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @11:09AM (#25541467)

          When you steal a book, and keep it permanently without compensation, that makes you no better than the Plantation Masters. IMHO.

          Wow. Hyperbole anyone? Last I checked we are not:

          1. Whipping the authors
          2. Raping the authors
          3. Taking their children away
          4. Denying them any personal rights

          In case you weren't aware, you can dislike a particular viewpoint without making strained comparisons to slave holders (or any of the other favorites, e.g. Nazis).

          • Wow. Hyperbole anyone? Last I checked we are not:

                  1. Whipping the authors
                  2. Raping the authors
            ...but if that does sound appealing to you, visit my new paysite: whippedbookers.com (NSFW!)

            • Damn you Rule 34 [urbandictionary.com]!
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by theaveng ( 1243528 )

                Ye would feel differently if, after you finish writing a beautiful program, your employer said "thanks" and took it without paying you. What you are doing when you take an electronic copy of a book without payment is no different.

          • >>> 1. Whipping the authors. 2. Raping the authors. 3. Taking their children away. 4. Denying them any personal rights

            Nope. You're just making them work without pay for their creations. How would you like to spend time creating a beautiful piece of programming & your employer just says "thanks" and takes it w/o paying you?

        • by Chyeld ( 713439 )

          And when you wax overly dramatic and descend into hyperbole, you become no better than a bombastic neocon like Rush Limbaugh, IMHO.

          The project we are discussing did not present even a single page to the user unless rights to do so were specifically obtained.

          Otherwise, all that was shown was a brief snippet of text surrounding the search term. This not only is fair use, but given the point was to highlight books that discussed a topic you were interested in, would have resulted in more money for the authors

        • by Rick Bentley ( 988595 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @11:17AM (#25541575) Homepage

          When you steal a book, and keep it permanently without compensation, that makes you no better than the Plantation Masters.

          Really? Stealing a $5 item is akin to kidnapping entire families, beating them into submission and keeping them as slaves? Are you smoking crack or just a lawyer for the RIAA or the MPAA?

          How about if I just make an unauthorized copy of an item, in violation of a term to which I never agreed? Am I now just a person who kidnaps people, beats them for a few weeks and then lets them go?

          • Am I now just a person who kidnaps people, beats them for a few weeks and then lets them go?

            Yes, massuh.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by lymond01 ( 314120 )

            Well, not all slaves were "beaten into submission". He was referring to the Roman slaves which, varying, could simply be people who did what they were told to do -- fed, boarded, but not allowed personal freedom to earn money, etc.

            Even the American slave wasn't always toiling endlessly in the fields until the slavemasters came out to whip them in for their gruel. Some of them had great report with their masters and were included on the decisions of the day -- were they free? Certainly not. But neither were

          • "Are you smoking crack or just a lawyer for the RIAA or the MPAA?"

            He's an unpublished writer, it's obvious.

        • by Matheus ( 586080 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @11:36AM (#25541917) Homepage

          OK.. slow down a bit:

          We are not telling the authors to give all of their books for free (nor work in dark dank dungeons with burly leather clad masters whipping them into submission)

          The issue is part of the complicated world we are moving into. In the past a work had severe cost to bring to the people and so the business model made as much money as possible from distribution over a short period of time and then those resources were moved to a newer piece of material.
          Those books in their remaining form dropped in price significantly leading to an excellent used book market for extremely cheap (or free at your library) spreading the knowledge to the masses.

          Now those costs are high in the short term but the work can now be distributed extremely cheaply AND indefinitely.. The issue we've run into with just about everything is publishers trying to now keep their old entry level pricing going forever with a perpetual hold on the material. Think all the fun battles with MPAA/RIAA this is the same thing ONLY with the help of a massive "donation" by Google (services and settlement $$$) plus a very solid outlook on the part of the literary big business (at least the educational institutions involved) we get a MUCH better solution that benefits all involved.

          I know someday (maybe/probably even now in the dark) Google's power will corrupt as power always does but for the time being it is enjoyable to watch what they may accomplish trying to follow a "Do no evil" philosophy.

        • his sweat, labor, and time

          What? Is the writer wearing weights on his fingers or something?

          It is a privilege to be a writer, artist, musician. One should expect a living, but never, ever, riches.

          The reason we're having this big to-do about "copyright" is because the advent of mass media made it possible for creative people to become super-wealthy. The only group of people who benefited from that were TV and movie execs, record label owners and publishing giants.

          They dangle a small handful of uber-wealthy a

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by plague3106 ( 71849 )

            It is a privilege to be a writer, artist, musician.

            Oh, is it? I didn't realize we could tell people not to be writers artists or musicians.

            One should expect a living, but never, ever, riches.

            How arrogant of you to decide that someone in a given profession should never make more money than you deem necessary.

            The reason we're having this big to-do about "copyright" is because the advent of mass media made it possible for creative people to become super-wealthy. The only group of people who benefited from tha

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Rennt ( 582550 )

          I'm sorry- How is an author's desire to get paid for his sweat, labor, and time "obsolete"? On the contrary, I consider that progressive.

          The desire to get paid for your work is not obsolete. Distributing data on physical media is. Especially obsolete is the idea that you need some kind of agent to distribute it for you (while he collects most of your potential profit).

          Thats not to say that there is yet a perfect system for compensation, but that is the price you pay for living in exciting times.

          When you steal a book, and keep it permanently without compensation, that makes you no better than the Plantation Masters. IMHO.

          Firstly - it is not stealing, as it has been pointed out in many /. discussions, it is copyright infringement.
          Secondly - Nice trolling. That has to

          • Firstly - it is not stealing, as it has been pointed out in many /. discussions, it is copyright infringement.
            Secondly - Nice trolling. That has to be the dumbest thing I have read on the internet this month.

            First, it IS stealing. /. can scream until it's blue in the face that it's "infringement" and not stealing, but it is still stealing. Poop is poop, it doesn't matter if you give it a fancy-sounding name.

            Second, although the GP doesn't mention the reasoning, his conclusion is reasonably sound (if needlessly dramatically stated). When you steal IP, you are taking without paying. If the artist required payment for his work, that means you are forcing him to work for you on your terms, not his. That's remarkabl

        • How is an author's desire to get paid for his sweat, labor, and time "obsolete"?

          The GP never said that it was. The exact phrase was "obsolete business model", which refers not to a general desire to get paid, but rather the specific way in which that payment is sought.

          Certainly more progressive than the 10,000-year-old practice of "shackling a man" and forcing him to work for free (slavery).

          Voluntarily spending labor on something no one is willing to pay you for, regardless of the reason, is not slavery. Nothing compels authors to write; if they do so anyway, at their own expense and in the absence of any contractual guarantee of payment, then they do so of their own free will.

          When you steal a book,....

          Likewise, this discussion is no

          • This is exactly what copyright is: an act of government which forces others to play by your rules, artificially subsidizing authorship, artistry, and invention by transferring money from their wallets to yours.

            Yes, in the same sense that any property law is "an act of government which forces others to play by your rules". An artist has the right to attempt to pursue the "sell copies for small amounts of money" business model. Copyright is merely the government prohibiting others from interfering with this business model by stealing their product for free. Copyright forces no one to buy anything, it merely says, "If you want to benefit from this person's work, you must do so under the terms they made their work av

        • It's not specifically the book business that's obsolete, it's the concept of money that's long removed from its fundamental purpose.

          Money was created as a currency to represent work/effort. Millenia ago, humans used to hunt their own food, their survival depended on it. Well you and I no longer have to hunt to stay alive, so we do other things like programming and writing and pumping gas. We get paid for the effort.

          Authors, "artists", movie stars... they get paid for their popularity and performance, and

        • "I'm sorry- How is an author's desire to get paid for his sweat, labor, and time "obsolete"?"

          The same way technology displaced the desire of the horse and buggy peoples desire to get paid for doing horse and buggy stuff, and hence put those guys out of work. The same way technology replaced a plethora of menial jobs. Instead of paying people who have desire for more pay - you have a machine do it. If technology was advanced enough there would be mass unemployment or no one would have to work and some oth

        • An author has a very legitimate desire to be paid for his work. The legitimate way to do it by selling its release.

          When you steal a book, and keep it permanently without compensation, that makes you no better than the Plantation Masters. IMHO.

          You're not preventing the author do to anything. When you steal a physical book you owe a physical book. The content isn't property.

      • by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) * <Satanicpuppy@gmI ... inus threevowels> on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @10:54AM (#25541285) Journal

        If they wanted their writings available for free, then why would they bother to publish in the first place?

        Content creators deserve some rights to their works.

        • Ever hear of fair use?

          Copyright is a state-enabled artificial monopoly, without which authors would have NO protection from copying. In exchange for getting this artificial monopoly, authors are supposed to give up something in return, such as fair use.

          If the public wanted to grant a full monopoly, they would have.

          If authors actually needed any kind of copyright, music and writing would not have existed until copyright was created, but no one would have known copyright was needed without music and literatu

        • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @11:49AM (#25542113) Homepage Journal

          If they wanted their writings available for free, then why would they bother to publish in the first place?

          Cory Doctorow answered you question in the forward to Little Brother [craphound.com] far better than I can.

          I recently saw Neil Gaiman give a talk at which someone asked him how he felt about piracy of his books. He said, "Hands up in the audience if you discovered your favorite writer for free -- because someone loaned you a copy, or because someone gave it to you? Now, hands up if you found your favorite writer by walking into a store and plunking down cash." Overwhelmingly, the audience said that they'd discovered their favorite writers for free, on a loan or as a gift. When it comes to my favorite writers, there's no boundaries: I'll buy every book they publish, just to own it (sometimes I buy two or three, to give away to friends who must read those books). I pay to see them live. I buy t-shirts with their book-covers on them. I'm a customer for life.

          Neil went on to say that he was part of the tribe of readers, the tiny minority of people in the world who read for pleasure, buying books because they love them. One thing he knows about everyone who downloads his books on the Internet without permission is that they're readers, they're people who love books.

          People who study the habits of music-buyers have discovered something curious: the biggest pirates are also the biggest spenders. If you pirate music all night long, chances are you're one of the few people left who also goes to the record store (remember those?) during the day. You probably go to concerts on the weekend, and you probably check music out of the library too. If you're a member of the red-hot music-fan tribe, you do lots of everything that has to do with music, from singing in the shower to paying for black-market vinyl bootlegs of rare Eastern European covers of your favorite death-metal band.

          Same with books. I've worked in new bookstores, used bookstores and libraries. I've hung out in pirate ebook ("bookwarez") places online. I'm a stone used bookstore junkie, and I go to book fairs for fun. And you know what? It's the same people at all those places: book fans who do lots of everything that has to do with books. I buy weird, fugly pirate editions of my favorite books in China because they're weird and fugly and look great next to the eight or nine other editions that I paid full-freight for of the same books. I check books out of the library, google them when I need a quote, carry dozens around on my phone and hundreds on my laptop, and have (at this writing) more than 10,000 of them in storage lockers in London, Los Angeles and Toronto.

          If I could loan out my physical books without giving up possession of them, I would. The fact that I can do so with digital files is not a bug, it's a feature, and a damned fine one. It's embarrassing to see all these writers and musicians and artists bemoaning the fact that art just got this wicked new feature: the ability to be shared without losing access to it in the first place. It's like watching restaurant owners crying down their shirts about the new free lunch machine that's feeding the world's starving people because it'll force them to reconsider their business-models. Yes, that's gonna be tricky, but let's not lose sight of the main attraction: free lunches!

          Universal access to human knowledge is in our grasp, for the first time in the history of the world. This is not a bad thing.

          In case that's not enough for you, here's my pitch on why giving away ebooks makes sense at this time and place:

          Giving away ebooks gives me artistic, moral and commercial satisfaction. The commercial question is the one that comes up most often: how can you give away free ebooks and still make money?

          For me -- for pretty much every writer -- the big problem isn't piracy, it's obscurity (thanks to Tim O'Reilly for this great aphorism). Of all the people who faile

    • Completely changing the direction of these comments..

      Thank you Google. As divided masses we could never have negotiated something with this scale.

      I just unblocked your unobtrusive text based ads in Adblock plus.

      -ellie

  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @10:18AM (#25540833) Homepage Journal
    books written 50 years ago and already made millions for their writer's grandsons should not be still being used as cow cashes, instead should join the public domain to the common heritage of human civilization.
    • Like Lord of the Rings?

      • by east coast ( 590680 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @10:32AM (#25541029)
        In all fairness to Christopher Tolkien, at least he had an active role in his father's estate and actually worked to produce some of the wealth. It's not like he sat on his hands and just let the checks roll in and any Tolkien fan should have a bit of admiration and offer up a little thanks for Christopher and his desire to see his father's work get to the masses. Without Christopher these works would either have been lost or found their way into a private collectors collection for a high price. He certainly didn't need to be as responsible as he is.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by sgt scrub ( 869860 )

          He was editor, artist, and consultant to the majority of his fathers work. I would argue he did more than his father.

          • ... but you would be wrong. Christopher Tolkien did not have the original inspiration...mashing up Norse, Celtic and some unknown number of other mythos to create the foundation for D&D and about 50% of modern nerd culture as we know it today. Public Domain is important and it's been stultified, largely through the efforts of the Disney Corporation. They don't want Mickey entering public domain and they bribe the makers of laws to alter the copyright laws for their own greed.
      • by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @10:37AM (#25541073) Homepage Journal

        I'm not the grandparent poster, but if it were up to me, copyrights would last less than the average human lifetime.

        To paraphrase the early United States Congresses, "nobody will ever need more than 28 years of exclusive rights." On average we live longer now so 28 years is a bit short in today's terms.

        If it were up to me, the maximum term of copyright protection would be somewhere between 50 years and the the average expected lifespan of a 4 year old at the time the work was created. Where in between? We should have a national discussion on this not controlled by special interests to determine it.

        Why age 4? 1) works created by kids under that age generally more "play" than "creative," and generally have very little market value, and 2) it removes infant mortality from the equation.

        I would require that after the first 10-20 years or so, the public gets a non-controlling financial interest in the copyright: You can renew copyrights in 10- to 20-year increments, but with each increment you have to promise to forward an increasingly-higher percentage of any royalties to the national treasury. Royalties previously paid that extend into the renewal period would require a pro-rated payment to the treasury as well. You would of course have the option to not renew and let your work fall into the public domain.

        Going forward, works re-published 10-20 years after creation which are legally published but without a (c) mark are presumed to be in the public domain unless the publisher can show it was done in error. Today's automatic copyright-on-creation would still be in play, but they would expire after 10-20 years if not renewed. To protect existing works and contracts based on those works, the "new regime" would only apply to works created after a certain date. I don't like the current regime's long terms but messing with it with a blunt instrument like imposing a new regime on all existing works introduces a whole host of problems. It's far better to solve the orphan works and other problems with a more finely-tuned solution.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TheSunborn ( 68004 )

          One big problem with this is that copyright is not only about the money, but also about controlling what the work is used for.

          Example: Imagine that I wrote some nice music 20(Or whatever the limit is) year ago. Anybody who would want to buy it have already done so, so I would lose money by registration for a new longer copyright. But if I let the work fall into public domain $EVIL_CORPORATION* could use it to advertise their new product. And I would have that.

          And if I wrote a book, I would hate to have to h

          • by theaveng ( 1243528 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @10:59AM (#25541343)

            You're dead. What do you care where/how your music is used? Besides, it's a sad fact that if "evil corporations" did not use 200-300-400 year old music, a lot of that stuff would be forgotten by all by a few college professors and music historians.

            Those 30 or 60 second ads have the benefit of keeping those ancient works "alive" in the minds of millions, rather than falling into disuse.

          • yep something like:

            - 15yrs automatic copyright as normal

            - 15yrs renewable copyright greater % taxed

            - 15yrs renewable free for public use but you can charge profitable business

            - ever after public domain

            Disclaimer: I don't think patent laws should follow this setup, music/books/art aren't normally too hard to produce. Bits of science might cost many millions to work out which needs greater incentive.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          I definitely agree that we need a national discussion on this. Unfortunately, the idea of Public Domain seems to be dead in many people's minds. They just don't see why someone's "property" (a book they wrote) should be "taken away from them by the government" after X years. They just don't understand the importance of the Public Domain. So I think we need discussion, but also education as to why a strong Public Domain is good for everyone. (Also, education on why copyright terms are limited and the go

        • by Anpheus ( 908711 )

          I really liked the idea of some other poster a long time ago, in a topic far away.

          Copyright is free for the first year, a penny for the next, and doubles after that.

          If your copyright is worth $2.56, you can get 10 years pretty well. If your copyright is worth $2,621.44, then you can likely afford to get a 20 year copyright. If for whatever reason your work needs 30 years and is that ridiculously profitable, then you can probably afford $2,684,354.56 for 30 years.

          • The problem is that you're assuming everyone registers their material.

            Right now I doubt much people except large corporations actually go to the bother of registering their copyright, a band on a small record label releases a song, sticks a copyright logo on it and it belongs to them, assuming they have a small amount of proof when it was created, that will hold up in court.

            But if everyone was required to register their stuff after just 1 year, most people would lose their copyright because they just don't

      • by afabbro ( 33948 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @10:54AM (#25541291) Homepage

        Like Lord of the Rings?

        Yes. Consider that there are some Sherlock Holmes stories that are still under copyright in the USA.

    • Cow cashes?

      You mean, like these [geocaching.com]?

    • books written 50 years ago and already made millions for their writer's grandsons should not be still being used as cow cashes, instead should join the public domain to the common heritage of human civilization.

      Well, in a couple of weeks you can either go tell McCain or Obama your thoughts on this and see if they'll start to put it together. Heck, tell them both since they'll both still have an office. But take my advice, don't hold your breath...
    • "16. Why was this agreement limited to Google Book Search users within the U.S.?
      Because this agreement is the result of a U.S. lawsuit, it directly affects the Google Book Search experience for those accessing the site in the U.S." From the Press FAQ(PDF) [authorsguild.org]
    • You know, i would be tempted to agree with you if only for the practical political point that ending copyrights would gut the finances of liberalism and I happen to be a Republican.

      But...

      Um, just having a quick look at the finances of the USA, and I have to ask, what exactly is someone allowed to make any money in this new world. Oil companies are not allowed to earn half the profits of apple, coal companies are not allowed to operate, car companies can't make money... seems to me we have plenty of companies not making money doing something and perhaps that, we might be better off if someone did make money.

      Perhaps the best way to accomodate IP longevity is to have a copyright property tax. So... if you hold the copyright to a work, you either pay the tax or put the work into the PD. That way, if something is genuinely valuable, like Lord of the Rings, then, it can still produce income and benefit the economy and be accessible through normal markets, but, the rest of the stuff won't be locked up, away from people's view, like old movies or books out of print.

      • Just out of curiosity, why should the oil industry be allowed to engage in anti-competitive activity, sabotage efforts to bring in new fuel technologies while being subsidized by the US government?

        If they're going to take the freebies that the US provides they should also have to put up with the measures required to put them back on a level playing field with other options.

        The issue isn't the industries themselves but the fact that they haven't had to pay for the consequences of their products. Meaning that

    • The number of books that have netted the author and his heirs more than a million dollars is very small. Even current, productive authors are often cash-strapped: I have Jerry Pournelle in mind here.

      A reasonable time limit is important, and 50 years surely qualifies.

  • by SupplyMission ( 1005737 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @10:20AM (#25540859)

    This may have been Google's strategy all along.

    Step 1: start scanning and distributing copyrighted books without permission.

    Step 2: writers and publishers get pissed off and sue.

    Step 3: settle and obtain permission to go even further.

    It worked. Now Google will have control over electronic access to a massive amount of printed material.

    This may be just a silly conspiracy theory. But on the other hand would a company like Google, with massive financial and legal resources, naively embark on a blatant copyright infringement project? Not likely; it's obvious they had a strategy in mind from the beginning.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chyeld ( 713439 )

      Except that it wasn't infringment. This was just another mosquito attempting to suck blood from what it saw as a rich target.

    • I feel the same, and honestly I laud google for it. Information is meant to be free, and they're taking the hit so the rest of us don't have to. They pay out and provide it to the rest of us, we give them ad revenue which goes to them and the authors. Everyone is happy.
    • Your step 1 is wrong. They weren't distributing any books, just making it easier for people to buy them from the author.

  • show me the money (Score:4, Interesting)

    by chromakey ( 300498 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @10:21AM (#25540873)

    And where is the money for this settlement going? Is it actually going to go to some authors who had their books scanned or is the majority going to the lawyers and the guild itself?

    • What you would want some poor lawyer to not get thier 30-40% skim off the top?

      In one of the FAQs there is information on how you can a portion of the money if you were an author who was scanned before the aggrement.
  • I remember in College I had a philosophy class, it was great the teacher wrote a book that covered everything we went over in class. Using G-Books I was able to conform all of my ideas to his.
    • by Kandenshi ( 832555 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @10:36AM (#25541071)

      Truly, an inspiring tale of intellectual growth and of skeptical inquiry into the nature of reality.

      As a longtime student, it always brings some warm fuzzies to my heart to hear of how others have done their bit to advance the knowledge of humanity by challenging the status quo.

    • A psychiatry student would've read the professor's book, shared it with a few classmates, had some of the classmates turn in papers that appeared to be the opposite of the teacher's teaching and some write papers that conformed to the teacher's teachings, while at the same time writing "real" papers with their own ideas. At the end of the term, after grades were announced, all students would turn in their real papers and the psychiatry student would write a paper about the experiment and submit it for publ

  • by 192939495969798999 ( 58312 ) <(info) (at) (devinmoore.com)> on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @10:26AM (#25540941) Homepage Journal

    Doesn't this sorta set the precedent that Google should be paying some kinda royalty to youtube usrs that generate a lot of traffic, if it's no longer considered legitimate to just "take" content and post it on the internet?

    • by whisper_jeff ( 680366 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @11:20AM (#25541625)
      Google doesn't take video content for Youtube - users submit video content. Enormous difference.
    • 1. YouTube doesn't scan content and aggregate it. The users voluntarily upload the content to YouTube. This shows implicit consent for YouTube to redistribute. The terms of service make this consent explicit.

      2. YouTube does actually share revenue with channels that get lots of views. It's called the YouTube Partner Program [youtube.com].
    • Pretty sure there's a difference between me uploading my video to youtube to use and google taking a copy of my video and scanning/posting it without my consent.

      I'm still more mad about universities, which do not have any kind of employment contract with students, forcing students to give up their copyrights [slashdot.org] to their work.

      At what point does someone's actions online permit distribution of their work? I think it's pretty unclear right now.

  • The Mummy (Score:5, Funny)

    by chill ( 34294 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @10:28AM (#25540963) Journal

    When reading this the scene from The Mummy where Alex is trying to buy a couple camels from the Bedouin herdsman.

    Jonathan: Four! Four! I only want four, not the whole bloody herd!
    Rick: Jonathan, just give the man his money.

    Google Lawyers: Snippets! Snippets! I only want to expose searchable snippets, not the whole bloody book!
    Google Founder: Just give the men their money.

  • I really like the idea of being able to access any book I want over the Internet. I could easily see something like that spark a new are of learning but I fear that it will cause publishing to adopt a model more like music publications. A small number of companies end up with a complete strangle hold over the market and churn out the same rubbish over and over again.

  • Unfortunately the submitter's had a bit too much KoolAid.

    Go read the FAQ on the linked site. Anyone except those using "designated computers" in public libraries is still only going to be able to perform limited searching and previewing of in-print works. The change is that Google will now give them the "opportunity" to buy the book too.

    There is a licensing deal available for educational institutions, lets hope its affordable.

    • Go read the FAQ on the linked site. Anyone except those using "designated computers" in public libraries is still only going to be able to perform limited searching and previewing of in-print works.

      So one compromised machine in one public library and it's all out of the bag...

  • by eagle52997 ( 691489 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @10:40AM (#25541115) Journal
    I'm a graduate student and I love that Google has many books available online. I have searched and found many books of interest to my research because I was able to actually skim pertinent sections, rather than having to guess based on the title and who the author was. Then, once I found these books, I checked out the print copies to read. I still find the print easier to read than the electronic, but may be the last of a dying breed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PieSquared ( 867490 )

      You are certainly not the last of a dying breed in this respect - the vast majority of people prefer paper to an LCD screen. I know personally I read way too much stuff online, but I haven't yet been able to bring myself to get through more then a chapter of a book.

      On the other hand, by all (most) accounts, e-paper is just as good as regular paper. If you find yourself going to a library rather then reading something off e-paper in 5-10 years, *then* you'll be the last of a dying breed. Personally I'm gu

  • OK I didn't rtfa but did rtfs and there it seems that all books, even those in copyright, can be put online by Google for searching in full, and it is suggested maybe even for download.

    The latter would be really cool: an unlimited worldwide library where the book you want to borrow is never out.

    Add a decent and cheap ebook reader and I also see the market for real books disappear almost overnight.

    Is this still "do no evil"? Authors should still get their dues!

  • It is nice to see that they have come to an agreement on this. I think it is a win for authors, Google, and readers/consumers. I can say from my own personal experience that Google's Literature search has come in useful in finding books. Furthermore, since the application gave me just enough information to know if the book would be useful for the topic I was researching. This then caused me to either purchase the book or, in the case of very expensive technical literature, caused me to borrow it from a libr
  • Though Youtube stuff is safe, any of Google's future endeavors that may/will infringe on copyrights/patents/etc will be met the same way: an open hand saying "gimme".

    The difference will be that these future "open hands" will want a king's ransom regardless of the worth of the "content"

  • So if I don't agree with the deal, as an Author can I opt out? If I don't join the Authors Guild does this mean I'm automatically NOT part of the deal?

  • This sounds awfully like the compulsory music licensing for radio broadcast, if I'm understanding it correctly. Am I understanding it correctly?

  • by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @11:38AM (#25541951) Homepage Journal

    Sometimes it's better to apologize than ask permission.

    My bet is that if Google nicely asked the authors guild for permission for just what the settlement resulted in, before taking any steps, they would be outright denied. Only by first -doing- and only then settling the permission matters, not only they got the desired result, they got it months ahead of time.

  • Copyright monopoly privileges on books should pass into the public domain after 14 years, as the original US copyright rules specified. Anything built something more exclusive intolerably compromises our free speech/press rights, and un-Constitutionally interferes with "progress in science and the useful arts".

  • Some comments (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Adrian Lopez ( 2615 ) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @01:18PM (#25543679) Homepage

    1. It bugs me that Google had to settle in the first place. Google shouldn't need permission to scan books for archival purposes, provided those copies aren't distributed to the public. Furthermore, allowing the public to search these archives should be treated as fair use.

    2. Insofar as the plaintiffs raise legitimate points concerning the use of scanned material, this settlement should not grant Google an imploed license to the works of those who don't explicitly opt-in, but the class action settlement is such that you have to opt out. This is bad. No third party should ever have the power to license my works to another party without my explicit say so. That's an exclusive right granted to me as an author.

  • Good for you in the US. Lovely, in fact. Wonderful, great, fantastic, brilliant.

    The rest of the world can obviously just rot.

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