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Court Finds In Favor of Libraries In Google Books Affair 39

First time accepted submitter cpt kangarooski writes "While it's not a final victory in the long-running Google Books matter, the related case by the Authors' Guild against the universities working with Google in the digitization project has produced a ruling that their book scanning is a fair use. You can read the opinion here. This bodes well for Google's case, although note that this wasn't directly about them."
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Court Finds In Favor of Libraries In Google Books Affair

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  • Wired story... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11, 2012 @11:38AM (#41619841)

    here [] (but if you want to decipher a 23 page court opinion instead, feel free...)

    • Thanks a bunch! I wish the submitter or editor had gone to the trouble to include the analysis link.
    • Re:Wired story... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cpt kangarooski ( 3773 ) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @12:02PM (#41620061) Homepage

      Aw, that's like watching the movie instead of reading the book. It's a fairly straightforward opinion, and the article doesn't cover everything.

      I particularly enjoyed the section on standing; it was basically a double-loss to the Authors' Guild. (If they win, they win only on behalf of themselves, and not the class of copyright holders they represent; if they lose, they lose on behalf of everyone)

    • The story was submitted by a lawyer, and I happen to like a guy that cuts straight to the chase, instead of link spamming. Not that a nice concise summary isn't nice, but maybe it wasn't complete enough to be worth linking, and could lead people to draw an incorrect conclusion. So, the actual complete opinion is the way to go to avoid as many ambiguities as possible.

  • No worries (Score:2, Insightful)

    by crazyjj ( 2598719 ) *

    Some Appeals Court or the Supreme Court will overturn this soon enough, and also rule that the libraries must turn over all their patron records to the Department of Homeland Security.

    • Some Appeals Court or the Supreme Court will overturn this soon enough, and also rule that the libraries must turn over all their patron records to the Department of Homeland Surveillance.

      FTFY. Let's call a duck a duck, shall we?

      • Let's call a duck a duck, shall we?

        You are mixing your metaphors. The sayings are "If it walks like a duck. . ." and "call a spade a spade".

        • by 1_brown_mouse ( 160511 ) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @12:25PM (#41620263)

          For all intensive porpoises the metaphor was the pick of the kitten kaboodle, a grade A choice cut of chicken.

        • by Anonymous Coward
          Welcome to Slashdot, where people correct others for inane crap.
          • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

            Welcome to Slashdot, where people correct others for inane crap.

            The person correcting most likely figured, as I would, that the guy he was correcting probably spoke English as a second language, and that he was doing him a favor (What was the movie where the foreigner was saying "Piece of pie" and "easy as cake"?). Personally, if I make an ignorant goof, I expect to be corrected, and welcome the correction.

            Welcome to slashdot, where people who like to learn come to discuss stuff.

            • What was the movie where the foreigner was saying "Piece of pie" and "easy as cake"?

              That was 2010. One of the Russian cosmonauts tended to screw up his English idioms, but an American astronaut would give him friendly corrections.

        • Let's call a duck a duck, shall we?

          You are mixing your metaphors. The sayings are "If it walks like a duck. . ." and "call a spade a spade".

          Where I come from, "calling a spade a spade" has obvious racist overtones, and is thus often avoided in polite conversation.

          • Re:No worries (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @02:24PM (#41621459) Journal

            Well, "Spade" can mean a couple three things, and if we are going to label the term "Racist", then every deck of cards, fixed female dogs/cats and a bunch of shovels are going to have to have alternate word choices.

            I'm sick of people claiming "racist overtones" where there are none. It really diminishes us all. And it is clear that people are not just looking for racism under every rock, they are finding it, even if it isn't there.

            What next, we stop calling space anomalies "black holes" because ... it MIGHT be racist? Be Proud and stop letting idiots define you.

            • by Anonymous Coward

              It only has racist overtones if the person saying it intends that it have racist overtones - unfortunately, I know people who say "call a spade a spade," because they explicitly intend two meanings:
              1. Call things by their proper names
              2. Black people are inferior, and should be labeled as such.

              I do not use that phrase because although I agree with the first meaning, I do not intend anyone to think I sound like a duck.
              Where duck is a common euphemism for "fucking moronic racist asshole."

              • Unfortunately, you're only half right. You have to take the listener into account.
                I spend quite a bit of time in the queer community and hearing someone refer to something as being "totally gay" is positive. Both speaker and listener feel it's a good thing for something to be gay.
                I could take that term off to my tech job and say that our new environment is totally gay and...well...I'd have to go and have a talk with HR about what's appropriate because, though I intended the statement to be as positive
            • by Radres ( 776901 )

              Pets get spayed, not spade.

          • Not to mention that everything is funnier when there's a duck involved.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ericartman ( 955413 )

      Well having worked in a couple of libraries, after fines clear no records are kept. I can tell you a total of books you've checked out but there is no way to see what books they were. Yeah they an change this but as of today, nothing is there.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why do you think most libraries stopped keeping patron records past what you have out and what you owe money on? Years ago when the Patriot act first came out the response to "we want records of what your patrons are borrowing" was to go "what records?"

  • I could find no mention of libraries in TFA.

    • by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @12:06PM (#41620089)

      Simply because the word "library" doesn't appear doesn't mean it isn't about them. Hathicourt (i.e. the defendant) is an online digital library which is the result of a collaborative of dozens of research libraries, such as the Universities of Michigan, California, Washington, et. alia., universities often having the biggest and best libraries in existence (and the most interested in preserving and accessing them).

    • by chill ( 34294 ) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @12:28PM (#41620295) Journal

      Page 2, under the section titled Background (emphasis added, smart quotes dumbed down):

      Defendants have entered into agreements with Google, Inc. ("Google"), that allow Google to create digital copies of works in the Universities' libraries in exchange for which Google provides digital copies to Defendants...

    • Universities' book repositories=libraries.

      Or did you think they kept them in cabinets in each lecture hall?

      • Chained to the lecterns.

        (And if anyone is interested in the history of book storage technology, The Book on the Bookshelf is an excellent read on the subject)

        • I must admit, I've seen that precisely once. Ish.

          The teacher (it was in a secondary school) had a book which he kept in a locked drawer. When the book came out, it was cover-laminated with a chain attached and connected to the back of the drawer. It could not be moved more than six feet from the desk. Must've been some money's worth, or it was his script (he was a bit of a twit and kept referring to the thing).

          BTW, if you feel like it, mod parent funny, 'cos it made me remember and chuckle a bit.

          • Well, the most common example in modern times was probably phone books attached to pay phones by steel cables or other devices so that people didn't walk off with them. They still got vandalized though, pages got ripped out, etc. And it's moot now; cellphones have mostly killed them off.

            • I still see catalogue shops with spined print copies, every page laminated and mounted on steel rings. Like a carpet swatch (and just about as thick).

          • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

            Actually, before Gutenberg's press, a library was any building with a book in it, and books were always chained down because of the cost of transcribing them.

  • by Tastecicles ( 1153671 ) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @12:28PM (#41620289)

    "Plaintiffs, consisting of individuals and associational organizations, assert claims for copyright infringement for the alleged unauthorized reproduction and distribution of books owned by the Universities"

    If they're going to phrase their assertion like that, surely the Doctrine of First Sale applies?

    "Plaintiffs’ motion for judgment on thepleadings insofar as it seeks a ruling that fair use and other defenses are unavailable to theDefendants as a matter of law is DENIED."

    DOES NOT say "Judgment for the Respondents insofar as their use of the material of which hard copy they own (as freely admitted in the VERY FIRST PARAGRAPH) constitutes "Fair Use".

    I will buy the argument that the Plaintiffs made no *specific claims*, in that they do not seem to have specified titles or specific copyright ownership. Any *sane* Judge would dismiss on those grounds alone.

    I will also accept: The Copyright Act’s standing clause explicitly limits who may enforce copyright claims: “the legal or beneficial owner of an exclusive right under a copyright is entitled . . . to institute an action for anyinfringement of that particular right committed while he or she is the owner of it.” 17 U.S.C. 501(b). By that same argument I will not negotiate with MPAA/RIAA/BPI or any associative umbrella. I will deal only with the *actual copyright holder*. Anyone else claiming to be representing a copyright holder can go fuck himself.

    ABKO Music Inc. v. Harrisongs Music, Ltd., 944 F.2d 971, 980 (2d Cir. 1991) (“[T]he Copyright Act does not permit copyright holders to choose third parties to bring suits on their behalf.” is a precedent decision which prevents such idiocy as you see here.

    As the Collection is made as a digital Library (by the very title of the project), as far as I can see it is protected under Section 108 as a Library, with the protections afforded a dead tree repository. A Section 108 defense is NOT an exclusion of Section 107 (Fair Use) as it specifically states that it is an *additional protection of rights for libraries*.

    I can see a Chaffee Amendment in there as well. Oh, look, there it is. Foot of Page 15. Google it.

    At the bottom of the Judgment, the very last page, the decision is basically: the Plaintiffs have no legal standing to make the claim they did since they are not copyright holders. The seven dockets were closed and the case dismissed. This does NOT prevent the actual copyright holders filing on their own, even to repeat verbatim, the entire bundle. There *may* be some legal standing under hte Berne Convention, but that is an argument for another day, another courtroom.

    This battle is far from over.

    • Yeah, the court was ruling on several motions at once. The defendants' motion for summary judgment (which argued the use was fair) was granted, and the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment was denied. That means the entire case is over at the trial court level. The standing part of the case was limited to a small subset of the issues.
  • So, a court actually found that there was such a thing as fair use?

    I fully expect the IP lobbyists to start going pretty postal over that ... in their world view, there's no such thing.

    • Re:Wait ... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Tastecicles ( 1153671 ) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @01:21PM (#41620761)

      Nope, no such finding there. The dockets were dismissed on the grounds that the Associative were not themselves holders of the copyrights (which they did not specify), which is correct under the Copyright Act.

      • The very last paragraph of TFA says "their participation in the MDP and the present application of the HDL are protected under fair use".

        I read it as "plaintiff has no legal standing, and even if they did, the actions of the defendant are well within their rights".

        But, in all honesty, my eyes glaze over when reading legal documents, and I certainly aint no lawyer. :-P

  • It's clear that the judge came down on the libraries side. He spells out that the libraries have major statutory rights beyond mere fair use and that fair use itself has important implications in transformative uses. On top of that, he makes it clear that Congress implements the Constitution, and that determines only owners may sue. Not quite FOAD ("F- off and die") to the extortion associations, they have been restrained and chastised somewhat.
    • It *is* a FOAD to the associatives, he's - rightly - told them that they have NO RIGHT to bring suit over copyright claims. If that gets through appeal and is upheld, then it will set precedent (yet again? See ABKO Music Inc. v. Harrisongs Music, Ltd., 944 F.2d 971, 980 (2d Cir. 1991) for previous mention, also several other citations contained in the decision FTA) which could (maybe?) spell the end of **AA "Jon Doe" suits. We live in hope.

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