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Publishers Thank Google for Book Sales 257

eldavojohn writes "A few book publishers are actually thanking Google for an apparent rise in sales due to Google's scan plan. Google is busy defending itself against authors and publishers that have brought lawsuits for ignoring copyrights. The director of the Oxford University Press said, 'Google Book Search has helped us turn searchers into consumers.' It seems to work in favor of the smaller publishers: 'Walter de Gruyter/Mouton-De Gruyter, a German publisher, said its encyclopedia of fairy tales has been viewed 471 times since appearing in the program, with 44 percent of them clicking on the 'buy this book' Google link.' Do you think that Google's 'sneak peak' search access increases sales or violates copyrights on intellectual property?"
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Publishers Thank Google for Book Sales

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  • Yes. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cperciva (102828) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @06:40PM (#16351187) Homepage
    Do you think that Google's 'sneak peak' search access increases sales or violates copyrights on intellectual property?

    Yes -- both.

    The fact that Google's book search increases book sales in no way diminishes the fact that Google is violating the authors/publishers copyright. If those publishers are intelligent, they will give permission for Google to do this; but they have a right to not give that permission.
    • Re:Yes. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Saturday October 07, 2006 @06:44PM (#16351209) Journal
      ...but they have a right to not give that permission.

      Incorrect. They were granted the privilege.
      • Re:Yes. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by X-rated Ouroboros (526150) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @06:52PM (#16351261) Homepage
        If they are using this privilege we have granted them to line their own pocketses at the expense of the advance of science and/or art... seems it's our duty to revoke the copyright we have granted them.
        • Re:Yes. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Saturday October 07, 2006 @07:15PM (#16351361) Journal
          Precisely. It IS our duty. But like many duties we have to protect our freedoms, we have forsaken them. We have abdicated our authority to incompetent morons. And now we will pay the price.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by GeffDE (712146)
            Oooh, good point, sir. I really want to form the "Incumbents are Incompetent" Party to boot everybody out of Congress. But I fear that only slashdot members would join. So much for the next great idea in American politics. Or world politics...
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Fordiman (689627)
              Actually, many people have formed these parties. They fail primarily because free-thinking people can't agree on most things.

              Unfortunately, even if they could agree on something en masse, free-thinkers are highly outnumbered by sheep who'd rather just get on with their lives, and vote for whoever hasn't pissed them off this year.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by MikeFM (12491)
          There needs to be some copyright protection but it should never interfere with the good of society. Being able to search and access information freely is critical for an educated society and an educated society is critical for an advanced democratic civilization. I think providing free links to purchase copies of the material should be more than enough compensation to producers of science and art - if their work is worth buying then they'll sell more than they otherwise would have.

          Opting out should not be a
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Bing Tsher E (943915)
            There needs to be some copyright protection but it should never interfere with the good of society.

            As defined by whom? Most people who think like you have abstraction notions of what is 'good for society' based on an 'individual versus society' mindset.

            There is a notion called 'freedom of association' that comes to play. I am free to associate with whom I wish to and free not to associate with whom I do not wish to. If that means I exclude you from the right to read my poetry, that's just how it goes.
            • by MikeFM (12491)
              A society that doesn't collapse under it's own weight is what's good for society. You can argue with what exactly is required for that to happen. I'd say that science and culture are critical for a healthy society and therefore the availability of books, music, movies, technical information, etc are critical to a healthy society.

              I don't think I've ever heard a real educated argument that science and culture aren't important to the health and growth of a society. The usual arguments are either that the produ
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by O'Laochdha (962474)
        Privilege, privilege, it's all privilege. The privilege of free speech, the privilege of property ownership, etc...there are those against both. The government protects your right to the proceeds of your creations - that makes it as much a right as anything.
        • Re:Yes. (Score:5, Informative)

          by rkcallaghan (858110) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @07:45PM (#16351493)
          O'Laochdha wrote:
          Privilege, privilege, it's all privilege. The privilege of free speech, the privilege of property ownership, etc...there are those against both. The government protects your right to the proceeds of your creations - that makes it as much a right as anything.

          Another incorrect assertion. Rights are things that we accept exist regardless of anything the government or anyone else wants to say about it. Copyright is not one of these things. Free speech is a constitutional right, and as such falls between the two areas. It took the constitution to grant this creation, but as we hold it higher than the government or anyone else, its still a right. Property ownership is as a natural right -- almost all creatures, not just humans, have this sense of what is 'theirs' and what isn't. Locke would say that the forest belongs to no one, but once he has felled a tree, the log is his.

          Privileges are things that exist only when the government or another higher power says you can have it. Copyright falls under this category, despite the presence of 'right' in the compound. You'll note that before copyright existed, many forms of art and publication still existed -- but Plato never enjoyed the privilege of copyright.

          In short, rights define the rules around which a government may exist. The government defines the rules around which privileges may exist. There is a definite chain of command here, and rights are most certainly at the top of the list.

          ~Rebecca
          • by chazwurth (664949)
            You seem to be forgetting Article I, Section VIII:

            To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries...

            You may not accept that this is a right that exists 'regardless of anything the government or anyone else wants to say about it', but it is a constitutional right. Like all other rights -- protected or not -- you may apply the fiction that it exists outside of law if you wish.
            • chazwurth wrote:

              You seem to be forgetting Article I, Section VIII: [snip]

              I didn't forget it, in fact by bringing it up you make my point. The GP was claiming that all rights are actually privileges; I defeated that argument. Again, although the word 'right' is used in the description of Copyright -- it remains a privilege; as it is only granted exclusively to the author or inventor. All of the true rights, constitutional or otherwise, apply to everyone.

              ~Rebecca

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by chazwurth (664949)
                I didn't forget it, in fact by bringing it up you make my point. The GP was claiming that all rights are actually privileges; I defeated that argument.

                I see your point, but I disagree. Your definitions of rights and privileges imply that rights are super-legal (or extra-legal?). I'm arguing that copyright is a right in exactly the same way that freedom of speech is a right: by legal protection. The GP seems to be claiming that all 'rights' are actually privileges that are legally protected (and I tend to ag
                • chazwurth wrote:

                  I'm sure you'd agree that 'something that applies to everyone' isn't an adequate definition of a right.

                  Oh, I certainly agree; and cogruent with that agreement I neve claimed that it was. 'Applies to everyone' is one of many qualities necessary to escalate from privilege to right; and not having it is enough to make something not a right. A similar statement would be, having chocolate chips does not make something a chocolate-chip cookie (it could be a cake); but something without the ch

                • by shaitand (626655)
                  Whether you agree that the right to free speech is an innate right or not is another matter. Those who framed our constitution did. Or at least they said they did in public. The constitution acknowledged rights that were believed to have been granted by god. This is consistent with the branches of philosophy that formed the foundation of politics in America.

                  Rights are supposed to be things that you are innately entitled to and the law exists to protect the rights that are yours by nature. When you bake a lo
                • by arminw (717974)
                  ..... I'd argue that many of the rights we deem to be 'natural rights' have no basis in nature........

                  Rights can only be given out by a sovereign power, not by some impersonal nebulous thing such as "nature". The founding fathers rightly attributed this to our Creator who endowed us "with inalienable rights" upon which our constitution and all our laws are based. God, as the ultimate and only sovereign in the Universe has given us humans certain rights and responsibilities to be exercised under His ultimate
          • Free speech is not one of those things either. You and I agree that there should be free speech, but there are many countries where it is illegal to express certain opinions, including our dear neighbor Canada. There are many, many people who defend these policies, so it's not something "we accept exists regardless of what the government wants to do about it." In certain tribal societies, there was no concept of possession, only the immediate right to use. In modern-day Cuba, there is no right to proper
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by rkcallaghan (858110)
              O'Laochdha wrote:

              Free speech is not one of those things either. You and I agree that there should be free speech, but there are many countries where it is illegal to express certain opinions, including our dear neighbor Canada. There are many, many people who defend these policies, so it's not something "we accept exists regardless of what the government wants to do about it."

              This really adds no value to your arguement as I already said
              rkcallaghan wrote:

              Free speech is a constitutional right, and as s

            • by arminw (717974)
              .....As for the fact that a right is a restriction on government, rather than something the government grants,......

              No Government anywhere on this planet can grant *any* rights, only take them away. Only the Creator God can grant life, and therefore any right that goes along with that. Our founding fathers knew this, but today many have forgotten this very fundamental fact. Our forefathers codified some of the rights from God, that come with His gift of life to us and wrote them down as limitations on the G
        • by Qzukk (229616)
          If the government wasn't there, I could say whatever I pleased.

          If the government wasn't there, I could not stop you from copying what I wrote.

          Which then, is a right, and which then is a privilege granted by the government?
          • So a privilege is something granted by the government, that would not exist if it did not exist. Well, then, I hope you enjoy your privilege to life, liberty, and property. Of course, that's unless someone claims the right for life to be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
          • Re:Yes. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Jason Earl (1894) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @11:12PM (#16352413) Homepage Journal

            If the government wasn't there, I could say whatever I pleased.

            Yes, and I could put a bullet in your brainpan with impunity.

            If the government wasn't there, I could not stop you from copying what I wrote.

            But I could stop you from copying what I wrote, by force if necessary.

            Which then, is a right, and which then is a privilege granted by the government?

            Without government you would only have the "rights" that you could defend for yourself. If someone bigger, stronger, and meaner came along your "right" to life, liberty, and property would disappear completely. The difference between what you believe to be a natural right and what you would label mere privilege exists only in your mind. Society determines what "rights" its members have, as is evidenced by the fact that different societies have different sets of "rights."

    • Re:Yes. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by fossa (212602) <pat7&gmx,net> on Saturday October 07, 2006 @07:10PM (#16351345) Journal

      Bah. Read this comment from the last Google Book Search Slashdot discussion. [slashdot.org] It boils down to the fact that not all copying is infringement. "For example, the courts have ruled that it is perfectly legal to copy every image you can find on the internet, and store those images, for the purpose of providing a thumbnail image of those images for profit. That is because what is being sold is meta-data about where you can find an image, not the images themselves. The courts have also ruled that making low quality copies of porn images and making them available is illegal, because the intent was for people to just look at the images and the effect upon the market was to deprive the copyright holders of business."

      At least some publishers believe it increases sales, and it's certainly not a clear cut case of copyright infringement.

      • by rolfwind (528248)
        Thank you for stating my view.

        I'll add that Google should nevertheless add an opt-out program, like websites have with robots.txt, and let the authors/publishers who want to "protect" their copyright watch as their competition get the profits.
    • Re:Yes. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RomulusNR (29439) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @07:20PM (#16351385) Homepage
      Does flipping through a book in the bookstore violate copyright? No. Any publisher that doesn't want people reading books they haven't bought had better not sell them in stores or sell them to libraries. Holy crap, I'm surprised the library system hasn't been either sued or legislated out of existence, due to the impact their socialist practices have had on book sales.

      Take copyright out of the question. Not wanting people to preview your material is stupid business practice, and bad for consumers and the public.

      Google Book Search provides online what book stores already can in RL.
      • Re:Yes. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by daeg (828071) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @08:08PM (#16351657)
        Publishing companies aren't known to be the smartest bunch on the block when it comes to technology. Does anyone else remember the general outcry in the late 90's when publishers thought e-books were going to take over within a few years? A lot of the profit gained in book publishing is from the actual printing process -- e-books threatened to reduce their markup potential. Publishers are worried that the gain in sale from people previewing their book won't outweigh the people previewing it and declining to buy such crap. Walking into a bookstore has an emotional tie -- you want a book, so you browse until you find something, even if it wasn't what you intended to buy. Online, however, there isn't emotional attachment (if there is, it is more likely to be attached to the webiste moreso than anything else). If you don't find something you like, you won't buy. Or so the publishers think.

        On the contrary, I'd assume the higher number of people previewing it would, for good books, increase sales. Impulse buying is far more rampant in online shopping.

        One thing that would probably solve the issue is allowing publishers a hand in the process. Give them certain leeway as to what pages are available as a preview. That way, they can pick the good parts of the book and not reveal any plot. I don't think they should have pure control over it, though, so maybe 50% chosen pages vs. 50% random/Google pages would be a good mix. Google, to appease publishers, could provide data back to them. They could even show different previews to each user and give them stats back of how each preview affected the buyers as well as demographics related to the sales. That's something a conventional book store cannot provide!
        • There are a few publishers that get the potential of online books. See, for example Baen Publishing. [baen.com] They have quite a few of their books available at the Baen Free Library [baen.com]. Amazingly, the publisher has found, that by making the books freely available to anyone who wants them in formats convienient to the reader, that sales of those books and authors have increased substantially. Jim Baen, God rest his soul, was a visionary. When I go to a bookstore, I always look for new Baen titles, because I really like
      • Re:Yes. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by kbielefe (606566) <karl.bielefeldt+ ... m ['gma' in gap]> on Saturday October 07, 2006 @08:47PM (#16351805)
        Google Book Search provides online what book stores already can in RL.

        I'm sure copyright holders agree with you. That's why they want google to pay for their copy, just as bookstores and libraries are required to pay for each copy in their inventories.

        • by Dare nMc (468959)
          > that's why they want google to pay for their copy,
          the copys that google scanned, were purchased. I guess since they are being loaned out by the library at the same time that google shows their scanned copy, that their is a difference.
      • Re:Yes. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by kthejoker (931838) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @09:06PM (#16351893)
        It is prudent to remember in the case of bookstores that they buy the copies wholesale from the publisher. At that point they are the bookstore's property to do with as they wish - obviously, most of them choose to let you browse the product.

        But the publishers aren't selling them "in stores" a la consignment. They are selling them *to* the stores. They've already made their money, and are no longer part of the equation.

        Libraries are a bit trickier, but for the most part they buy their books, too, and so again, what is their complaint? One particular copy can cycle itself through the system as much as possible.

        The issue here is that Google has not bought these books, and even if they had, are they allowed to make a digital copy available (such that infinite copies can be made.) The first issue is easy - Google ought to pay these publishers either a licensing fee or some one-time fee to display their product freely. And Google ought to do that as goodwill, because they are essentially acting as a bookstore, but on consignment instead - which is where the legal ambiguity steps in. If Google acted more as your typical brick and mortar bookstore, this wouldn't be an issue at all.
        • by Roblimo (357) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @10:11PM (#16352151) Homepage Journal
          FYI, bookstores "buy" books from publishers with the right to return them for full credit if they don't sell. So in real life, in the end, publishers supply them on consignment.

          Not only that, authors share the risk. They only get royalties on books that customers actually buy, not on copies *shipped to* bookstores.

          Even more fun, the bookstore gets as much of the total retail price of the book -- about 50% -- as the publisher and author combined.

          It's a sick system, especially for the authors, which is why so many of us (I've written three books) are starting to look into alternative publishing and distribution channels.

          - Robin

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward
            It gets even worse than that for most mass-market paperbacks -- the bookstore gets full credit for unsold books even without returning them. They simply ship back the covers as proof that the books have been destroyed rather than sold. So not only does the publisher not get any money, it no longer has the book to try selling it another time.
    • by mordors9 (665662)
      Imagine. More freedom and information turned out to be a good thing for everyone. Who would have thought it. I know in my own case, several violations of copyright turned out pretty good for the media owners. I downloaded a copy of Neverwinter Nights to try out, ended up buying it and all of the subsequent addons. I downloaded a couple episodes of the Sopranos to see what the buzz was about. I liked it so I have bought the first 5 seasons on DVD to watch. There is an entire genre of music that I discovered
    • by babbling (952366)
      Rubbish. What Google is doing should be protected by fair use rights.

      Imagine if a friend asked you to search through a book for him and let him know what you found. Would this also be a violation? Chances are, you'd only quote a paragraph or so back to him - Google quotes even less of the book.
      • Re:Yes. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @08:02PM (#16351625)
        Imagine if a friend asked you to search through a book for him and let him know what you found. Would this also be a violation? Chances are, you'd only quote a paragraph or so back to him - Google quotes even less of the book.

        The difference is, your friend does not increase his market share every time he lets someone search through a book. Neither is your friend selling advertising on the walls of the room into which he escorts you to take his book. Nor is he capturing your search request in a database for cross-reference with other search requests from people in your zipcode later on.

        Google profits from your search. Your friend allows your search out of charity.

        If Google wants to include my copyrighted content as part of their profit-making venture, they can pay me. I'm a poor starving writer (or maybe I'm Stephen King, it doesn't matter), and Google is a super-mega-global-corporation (or maybe their a mom-and-pop store, it doesn't matter), and if they want to use my stuff to make some scratch, I'll take my percentage, thanks very much. If my price is too high, we can negotiate. If it's still too high, we can walk away and talk about doing business another day. That's Business. And Google is in Business.

        Google plays up the peace-love-understanding-happy-hippie-new-age-new- media dance, and it was really cute, back in the day. But the Piper's arrived, and just in time, too, cuz a whole generation of kids was just starting to believe that "do no evil" thing somehow exempted Google from obeying laws they thought were old-fashioned (i.e., prevented them from making money).

        • Librarians make money, and yet they are allowed to do just such a search, and even return to you a photocopied page.
          • Librarians make money, and yet they are allowed to do just such a search, and even return to you a photocopied page.

            [rolls eyes and sighs, deeply] Some days I wonder why I ever bother...

            D00D!! It's a friggin' PUBLIC Library! Your tax dollars at work! Laws, rules, regulations passed by your representatives in Congress!

            Or did I miss the part where The Library, Inc., is now traded on NASDAQ?

            Just tell me you're under eighteen and I'll feel a little better, cuz I really don't want to believe that our public
            • by Dare nMc (468959)
              > It's a friggin' PUBLIC Library!

              hmmm, the company I work for has a library, every private school has a library, what requirement is their that libraries be non-profit, and not associated with a corporation?

              > who don't know the difference between public libraries and publicly-traded corporations.
              ok educate us, seams most non-profit's maximize return to further their cause (which is often to maximize the salerys of upper management.)
              where as the traded corporation is to maximize the return to the sha
      • You're friends with Google? Cool!
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Sassinak (150422)
      Let me say, No. I don't think they are infringing on the publishers rights. (and before the tomatos fly, let me explain)

      In the case of public domain works, google provides the complete text (no different than the guttenberg (sp) project. I for one fully support this effort as far too many people DON'T read more than what is required. This may encourage more people to read the complete work (not part of the argument, but it is a peeve of mine)

      In the case of copy writed works, they provide an exerpt of the w
      • "This may encourage more people to read the complete work (not part of the argument, but it is a peeve of mine)"

        "(umm.. ironically no complaints about Amazon, B&N, Alibris, etc. who provide this exact same functionality on a smaller scale)."

        Apparently your pet peeve only applies to other people. Amazon et. al. get permission for the books they scan.
    • by dominator (61418)
      I'm confused by those who think that Google isn't unambiguously in the clear here. Not because they're doing it for a scholarly purpose. Or because they're only reproducing a terse portion of the work. Or not even because what Google is doing can't possibly affect these author's past decisions to create their works, and thus retroactively disincentivize their respective work's creation (ahem, Sonny Bono CTEA, I'm looking at you here...).

      I think that if you're arguing those points, perhaps you're looking at
    • by shaitand (626655)
      I am not sure I agree. I took a look for myself, searching for a Terry Goodkind book and google only shows a couple of pages from the middle of the book. And they give full accredation.

      That definately qualifies as an excerpt last I checked and falls squarely within the realm of fair use.

      They did show the cover art though, and that might violate copyright.
  • Or? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by taustin (171655) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @06:40PM (#16351189) Homepage Journal
    Do you think that Google's 'sneak peak' search access increases sales or violates copyrights on intellectual property?"

    Why does everyone think this is an "or" question? Copyright isn't about generating profits, for the copyright holder or anyone else. It's about control of making copies. Money is a common motive for wanting such control, but is almost irrelevant to the law.
    • Of course, there is fair use, which is all that google is doing. They have not exposed 100% of the writing.
      • Re:Or? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by RevMike (632002) <revMike.gmail@com> on Saturday October 07, 2006 @08:19PM (#16351691) Journal
        Of course, there is fair use, which is all that google is doing. They have not exposed 100% of the writing.

        And here is the rub.

        While google is only displaying excerpts, they are making digital copies of the entire book to drive their searches. And those copies are likely dupicated multiple times within their infrastructure.

        If they only took excerpts and made them searchable, then they would likely be well within fair use and the authors and publishers couldn't touch them. But they are doing much more than that.

        This is the same legal hole that MP3.com found themselves in several years ago. They were providing streaming music to people who could prove that they already owned the CDs. This way you could listen to your CD collection while at work, etc. (This was pre-iPod). In order to drive this system, however, they made digital copies of tens of thousands of cds. They only made the digital versions available to people who alredy owned the CD, but they were still found to be infringing because they made the copies in their own database in the first place.

        Now, if you want my opinion, this is bs, and copyright law and the fair use doctrine needs to be adjusted to allow this kind of use.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mvdwege (243851)

          While google is only displaying excerpts, they are making digital copies of the entire book to drive their searches. And those copies are likely dupicated multiple times within their infrastructure.

          No problems there. In order to scan the book, they have to buy it. In my understanding, after buying a copyrighted work, I can do with it whatever I please, under what is called the First Sale Doctrine in the US.

          Of course, copyright disallows me to redistribute my personal copy, but that is not what Google is

  • Uh,,,, Both (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cataBob (529363)
    "Do you think that Google's 'sneak peak' search access increases sales or violates copyrights on intellectual property?"
    Can't the answer be "both"?
  • by Skreems (598317) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @06:41PM (#16351195) Homepage
    Do you think that Google's 'sneak peak' search access increases sales or violates copyrights on intellectual property?
    Why is this an "or" question? It can be both, in fact I'm pretty sure it is. This just goes to show that the extremely strict copyright laws we've legislated ourselves into aren't benefiting anyone, including the authors / owners.
    • This just goes to show that the extremely strict copyright laws we've legislated ourselves into aren't benefiting anyone...

      I think you're forgetting the lawyers.

      The lawyers who, on what is surely a completely unrelated note, make up most of the "we" actually creating the legislation.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by n8k99 (888757)

      This form of questioning is most suited for the maximum possible variance in answers. A question that queried if A and B are something, requires that Both condition be met in order for the response to be in the affirmative. The OR operator allows for one OR both conditions to be met for a response to be in the affirmative; yet within this response it is generally considered that a human will supply more information that a return value of TRUE, ie an explanation of Why or How the answer was generated.

      Ultim

    • by strider44 (650833)
      Of course it can be both. If it couldn't be the submitter would have used XOR.
  • by Speare (84249)
    Do you think that Google's 'sneak peak' search access increases sales or violates copyrights on intellectual property?

    It's probably both. But the way US copyright law works, you don't really get a definitive answer anywhere but the courts, and they can pull that "definitive" answer out of their robes.

  • Why should Google be any different from any other sales "person"? When they actually sell your stuff, they're heroes. When they just give it away for free, or annoy you without selling anything, they're villains.

    Google shouldn't be able to transmit copies of content without the copyright holder allowing that, but when they do so and make money for those holders (without reducing money those holders make elsewhere), they won't get many complaints.

    Of course, while copyrights stop copying well past the length
  • Yes, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aaron Denney (123626) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @06:57PM (#16351287) Homepage
    Basically, yes, Google is violating the copyrights, when they scan the books in. This is a copyright violation.

    This is not, however, what is upsetting the the authors and book publishers. What upsets them is that google is allowing other people to search, which is fairly clearly fair use, given how much is displayed. They want a cut of the money stream, of any possible monetization of their works, even though that is not what copyright entitles them to.

    (Counting this as a copyright violation is going to be horrendous once we have AI...)
  • by jc42 (318812) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @06:58PM (#16351295) Homepage Journal
    Heh. Here I was all prepared to to point out that the obvious answer is "both", but I noticed that every single reply so far has said the same thing. So rather than be rated redundant, I'll just point out that there is a standard name for this particular bit of illogic.

    If authors had any sense, they'd be jumping onto the anti-copyright bandwagon. Such laws were, we're told repeatedly, created to give authors and artists control over their creations, and to guarantee them income from sales. More and more, the actual effect is to take away the creators' control, giving control and profits primarily to their corporate masters.

    This story just illustrates that some authors have figured out that it helps to let their readers know what's available. And the copyright question basically asks whether a publisher has the right to block communication between an author and the audience.

    Maybe we do need some sort of copyright laws. But authors don't need the current copyright laws. That's what's keeping most of them poor.

    • If authors had any sense, they'd be jumping onto the anti-copyright bandwagon.

      Well, publishers are beginning to do just that. During the book fair in Frankfurt, Germany (biggest in the world), industry representatives called for unrestricted access to ISP customer data to fight (audio) book piracy, stating that there's no need to involve the courts. This would violate lots of constitutional principles we have here, but noone seemed to care. If they've learned anything from the **AAs, they'll probably get

  • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @07:00PM (#16351301)
    Do you think that Google's 'sneak peak' search access increases sales or violates copyrights on intellectual property?
    Yes.
  • by bigrigdriver (322895) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @07:03PM (#16351313)
    Do you think that Google's 'sneak peak' search access increases sales or violates copyrights on intellectual property?

    When I walk into a bookstore, I can peruse books before buying.

    Now, I can peruse books via Google before buying.

    In the first, I can physically handle books. In the second, I can electronically handle books.

    The only difference I see between the two, is that, via Google, I don't have to leave home to peruse, and buy, books.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by telemart73 (677670)
      No, the difference is that the bookstore purchased the book for you to peruse (although bookstore purchasing is really weird with their return to publisher policies) and that Google paid no one a cent for their copy. This is more akin to you taking the book from the bookstore, letting someone else peruse it and then taking the money back into the bookstore to pay for what you took.
    • I used to go up into Books-A-Million, with a scratch pad in a pocket, and sit down, and copy stuff from all sorts of computer books. They didn't care. Once in a while I would find a book that really hit the spot, so I would forgo the copying, and just head to the checkout stand, and buy it.
      One book I got at Borders was Knoppix Hacks by Kyle Rankin. [oreilly.com]

      First thing I did when I got home, was remaster the CD to get rid of that pocket knife background for KDE in the Knoppix 3.4 CD that came with the book.

      -- Rapidw

  • by zcat_NZ (267672) <zcat@wired.net.nz> on Saturday October 07, 2006 @07:22PM (#16351395) Homepage
    They should announce that for one month, publishers can choose to give google permission to index their books.

    At the end of the month, every publisher that didn't gets dropepd from the index. If they want back in (because, for example, they discover their competition is getting hundreds of click-throughs with 40% or more sales) they have to pay Google either a BIG up-front payment or a percentage of all future sales.

    It's funny, but most places make you pay heaps for advertising. Especially for well-targeted and effective advertising that leads to a high percentage of sales. I never understood why google feels they have to give it away free.

  • by goofyheadedpunk (807517) <goofyheadedpunk@ g m ail.com> on Saturday October 07, 2006 @07:25PM (#16351413)
    >'Walter de Gruyter/Mouton-De Gruyter, a German publisher, said its
    > encyclopedia of fairy tales has been viewed 471 times since appearing
    > in the program, with 44 percent of them clicking on the 'buy this
    > book' Google link.'

    Can someone provide a link to this book? I would, oddly enough, like to buy it.
  • Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jbf (30261) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @07:26PM (#16351415)
    Who cares if it increases their sales? If it does it in a way that's contrary to the author's intent, then copyright law prohibits it. Consider someone who writes a book on the evils of the Internet and prohibits its contents from being shown on the Internet. Why should that hypothetical author accept Google posting their book? What if Google had fewer controls so that the entire book could be copied? Publishers that want Google to index can provide Google a license. Those who don't should be protected by law (and Google's use has serious problems under fair use doctrine, since the copied amount is the entire use, it impacts the marketability of reference works where only a few pages are needed at any time, it can be used to form a collection of works, and it is being commercially exploited.

    The slashdottitude of "unauthorized copying of books/music/videos/software is just free marketing" is in direct contradiction to the letter and intent of modern copyright law, and even if it does help sales, that's a decision for the copyright holder to make.
    • by fossa (212602)

      "If it does it in a way that's contrary to the author's intent, then copyright law prohibits it." In fact, that isn't at all how copyright works. The letter and intent of copyright law only grant the author partial control over a work. In the US at least, copyright grants the author exclusive license to certain forms of copying until the work enters the public domain where the author's intent is then irrelevant. For the duration of the copyright, not all copying is infringement. Not all copying is infrin

  • Google is the new 900lb elephant that's going to get away with a lot of things because of the exposure or money they can bring to people. I guess their do no evil mantra has some post scripts... :-(
  • So some publishers like Google's "scan" plan while some others don't. Seems to me it's up to Google to get permission from the publishers. Those that like it, (e.g. those cited in the article) will give them the OK; those that don't, won't. Google forcing themselves on publishers that don't like the plan is heavy-handed; typical Google M.O. of late.
  • by cleetus (123553) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @07:45PM (#16351495) Homepage
    Law has always moved slowly. At least in the US, either a court has to fashion a new interpretation of existing law, one that, according to some august commentators, ought to confine itself to the interstitial space between existing laws, or the federal legislature has to pass, and the president sign, a new law.

    The slowness and expense of both of these methods, and more specifically, the lack of technological anticipation in the current copyright (and patent) regimes, make for some interesting times, given the perfect granularity with which digital technology can reproduce most copyrighted works.

    Both of the above factors ought to (and in some corners have) given rise to a wholesale re-examination of the purposes and methods of copyright protection in the US. Having worked in one house of the US Federal legislature, I can tell you that is not really one 'corner' where the re-examination has either been thorough, thoughtful, or disconnected from moneyed (or copyrighted, if you will), interests.

    In the end though, I hold out hope that our laws can and will accomodate our practices. It makes no sense to make an outlaw of most citizens if (and this is a substantial and debatable 'if') there is negligible harm in their current practices.

    It should be obvious that I feel the submittor's question presents a false choice.

    cleetus
  • The question is whether or not Google is violating copyright by indexing books without author permission. The answer is that any author that doesn't want their book indexed is an idiot or is afraid of people finding out that their book isn't any good before someone buys it.

    If I were Google, I'd let natural selection do its thing. If someone doesn't want their book indexed, then don't index it. Then they'll get fewer sales than the smart people who did want their books indexed. Google plays it safe and l
  • by ChePibe (882378) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @07:52PM (#16351543)
    Google books will never replace real books for me, but the service is very, very useful.

    Case in point: I was writing a research paper this week, and needed to search through a book for a specific name. As this book didn't have an index, I wasn't too enthused about looking through it page-by-page for one bit of information, so I fired up Google books and, bingo - got the name, page number, and some more information as well.

    More importantly, however, was a second case. As I was about to turn in the paper, I realized I hadn't completed a reference and needed to find a page number in a book I didn't have with me. I first thought I was screwed, but then fired up Google books and, once again, bingo - I got precisely what I needed even though my book was 25 miles away at the time.

    Google adds value to books. I'll still buy just as many books as before - probably more, as now it's easier for me to find books I'm interested in - and makes the books I own much more "user friendly". Great service.
  • just a reminder... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rootEToTheIPi (937469)
    Perfectly informed consumers are a necessary condition of a perfectly competitive market. The large x don't want the current market to become more competitive because that favors small x.
  • by guruevi (827432) <evi@NoSpAM.smokingcube.be> on Saturday October 07, 2006 @08:01PM (#16351613) Homepage
    Copyright violation would be that they show the whole book and/or export it as an e-book for you (with or without profit) no matter whether you can buy the book elsewhere or not.

    I think most copyright laws have a clause in it that you can use excerpts from a book but not a whole book as long as you note the source of your information with the excerpt. This means that I can use a page out of a book and use it in my essay without having to pay copyrights for the whole book (would become even more expensive for students and other academia) or even copy it from the library aka from a book I don't own myself.

    The same happens here. Google gives you the possibility to search for a phrase, displays which book it comes from and a small portion of the book where the phrase is displayed. It's not like they are giving the whole book to you as soon as you find the phrase. They don't steal the book, they get it out of the library, scan it in, OCR it and then if they find a phrase in that book you search for, they display you the particular page, but not the whole book. Just like I can go to the library, scan/copy the whole book (if I have money enough for paper/copies) and then use a single page in my essay.
    • I think most copyright laws have a clause in it that you can use excerpts from a book but not a whole book as long as you note the source of your information with the excerpt.

      This is the "Fair Use" clause, described in the link below. The amount you can quote under fair use is legally fuzzy and situation dependent, but (though IANAL, I'll say that) it is almost certainly a lot less than Google makes available online, even if Google doesn't make the whole book available online.

      http://www.copyright.gov/fls/f [copyright.gov]
  • by Ignis Flatus (689403) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @08:02PM (#16351621)
    I think Google will get away with this obvious infringement on copyright for a reason entirely unrelated to issues of ownership or profit. And that is that the government wants it. Specifically, the government wants to be able to quickly datamine works to determine explicitly, and by correlation, what exactly certain people are reading and writing and why.

    Google may even get funding from the government to do this, or to give special fulltext database access to investigators.

    The Supreme Court will back them up because the use will be declared to be necessary to the needs of law enforcement and national security.
  • by frieza79 (947618)
    So, If someone was suing my company, I too would probably come up with some "statistics" that showed I was actually helping them. Not that I don't believe in google's "do no evil", but no company really thinks THEY are doing evil, not even Philip Morris, they just provide what the customer wants.
  • Do you think that Google's 'sneak peak' search access increases sales or violates copyrights on intellectual property?

    Let me ask a different question: Given the benefits Google's actions give to publishers generally, do these attacks on Google amount to an anticompetitive measure to prevent the growth of small publishers?

  • From tfblurb about the article by the submitter:
    Do you think that Google's 'sneak peak' search access increases sales or violates copyrights on intellectual property?"

    Why can't it do both? And I'll not be surprised if it did both.

    Wasn't this one of the arguments for "sharing" commercial music via MP3's and P2P networks? That it increases sales, thus it should be legal?

    <sarcasm, mode="ON">

    What if I hold a gun to every person who walks into a store and say "Buy this book or I'll shoot you" or "buy th

  • Effective search just means the customer can buy more of what they want and less of what they don't. Of course, any major retailer that sells a fixed inventory of "acceptable" products is going to be unhappy, because people's interests, if they have the search abilities necessary to easily pursue them are widely varying and sometimes not "acceptable" according to the general definition of consumer.

    If I'm interested in topic XYZ and can search and find the 2 retailers that sell that item, I'll buy it rath

  • by Roger W Moore (538166) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @09:51PM (#16352085) Journal
    Just looking at the number of comments here it is clear that the corporation brainwashing is really working. The number of comments saying "of course it is copyright violation" is amazing. Does nobody remember fair use rights? It is perfectly legal to quote sections of a text (or play small sections of a song or film). If it weren't it would be impossible to review music, songs or books or at least those reviews would be worthless since the copyright holder would withhold permission if the review was bad.

    The fact that there are so many slashdotters who seem to have blindly accepted the "if I reproduce anything of the text it is copyright violation" is amazing. If here on Slashdot there are that many people who have accepted the death of fair use rights I worry that effectively we really have already lost them.

    • by cwsulliv (522390) *
      The fact that Google is actually copying the whole book is what constitutes the copyright infringement, not just the few "fair use" pages that the reader is permitted to view.

      Yeah, it's a stretch, but that's what lawsuits are all about.

  • by bgalbrecht (920100) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @02:46AM (#16353157)

    Do you think that Google's 'sneak peak' search access increases sales or violates copyrights on intellectual property?"

    Most people seem to be unaware that Google Books is actually two programs, which were originally named Google Publisher and Google Library. Google Publisher contains books submitted by the publisher, and the publisher has granted Google the right to display some percentage of the book, and are listed as Limited Preview in the Google search results. This increases sales but does not violate copyright, presuming that the publisher's contract with the author allows then to advertise in this method (if not, that's between the author and publisher).

    Google Library, on the other hand, are from books borrowed from libraries, scanned by Google, without permission from the copyright holder. If a Google Library book is in the public domain (mainly US books prior to 1923, or foreign books prior to 1909), the entire book is displayed, and is listed as Full View in the Google search results, this is unlikely to increase sales, and does not violate copyright. Google Library books not in the public domain (actually, some are in public domain due to copyright holders not making the required copyright renewal, but Google is not interested in doing the research), then the book is only displayed in Snippet View, 3 lines per search hit. The snippets themselves would not violate copyright, as they are small enough that they would likely qualify as fair use, no matter what. However, what the publishers and authors (represented by the Author's Guild) are claiming, is that any complete digital scan without the permission of the copyright holder, for whatever purpose (especially one when the book is borrowed rather than purchased) is a copyright infringement. Google is arguing that since they are not using the books directly, but simply using the scans to provide fair use snippets, it meets enough of the 4 rules the courts use to determine fair use. Most of the books in snippet view are out of print, so it's not likely that snippet view increases sales anywhere near the amount a limited preview does. IANAL, but I think the publishers and especially the authors will win a pyrrhic victory should the courts decide in their favor.

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