Really? I've not been able to find anything other than a new release. The patches might be in git, but they are not easily found.
But what do I know?
As to my absence I've been a bit overwhelmed by work stuff, sorry about that, it's no excuse
Which is the point where you've broken copyright law. Photocopying books is, well, copying them.
Unless you're engaged in a fair use (or fall under certain other exceptions), in which case the copying is perfectly legal under copyright law. Which turns out to have been the case here.
And thanks to Google clearing the trail, it'll be easier for others to do the same thing, if they're inclined.
They don't have an exclusive right to scan in books. First, because such a right could only be granted by either copyright holders, as an exclusive license (which would also necessarily mean that scanning the licensed book was not infringing) which wouldn't matter to rivals because the rivals can ignore such a license and rely on fair use per the lower court's decision. Second, because the only other way to have an exclusive would be if there were literally only one copy in existence and the library that owned the copy refused to grant access to anyone else, and that is frankly, pretty unlikely.
The reason that they may have an effective exclusive is simply that it's an expensive pain in the ass to scan all of this stuff in, and there's little money in it, so who else would want to bother. But the disinclination of third parties to compete with Google because it's hard, likely minimally profitable work, is hardly Google's fault.
The point is, they took on a project that violated copyright on a massive scale. They want to claim that it's fair use
No they didn't. Fair use is by definition not a violation of copyright. And so far this has been determined to be fair use, and with the Supreme Court refusing to take up the case, there should be nothing else to say about it.
I think it's only fair the LoC get a full copy of their book index.
That would be nice, but they're under no obligation to give a copy to the Library of Congress if they don't want to.
Frankly, I think its good that such a thing exist in society. But it's not good that a private for-profit company can take it on themselves to do that for their own gain.
Why not? Certainly the government should be doing this sort of thing; as an attorney it always bothers me that there's no public alternative to Lexis and Westlaw. But that the government could do it and should do it doesn't preclude private entities from doing it too, as a general rule.
For instance, the government builds most roads. But nothing stops a private company from building a private, for-profit highway, so long as they can get the land without government assistance and afford to build a safe roadway on it which complies with various regulations. It's just such a hassle that it's rare.
Honestly, it's strange that laws suddenly stopped applying because it was on a computer.
Copyright law applies. Google simply hasn't acted illegally is all. Google books is no different than if someone made analog xeroxes of lots of books, manually compiled a master index of everything in them, and took requests by phone to tell people what books matched various search terms (possibly with a specific sentence or passage read aloud over the phone to lend context to the result).
Computers make this practical, not legal.
Suppose an author hated a book they had written earlier. It would be impossible for them to buy and destroy every copy.
Competitors who would have to reproduce the electronic archiving, as opposed to having the LoC owning the electronic copies and people competing on search algorithms.
Oh, that's just stupid. I doubt Google has an exclusive that would prevent people from surmounting the same natural barrier to entry. And if the government did scan everything in and make its scans available to third party search engines, that certainly wouldn't prohibit anyone else from doing their own scans either. It would just be a government subsidy of book searching. Perhaps that would be good, but it's not a valid criticism of Google Books.
Creative works are copyrighted by default. The author/artist does not need to take any action for their work to be protected.
Yes, and that's a colossally stupid idea. Copyrights should only be available where authors take action to get them, and only persist where authors regularly take action to maintain them.
This is probably what the earlier poster was complaining about, and I suspect you took him too literally.
something that you didn't create, thus implying it is copyrighted until you can show otherwise
That's a big part of the problem which the earlier poster was alluding to. Works should never be copyrighted unless the copyright is specifically requested by the author, through a registration process that includes placing copyright notices and registration numbers on the work to facilitate checking their copyright status.
This is no great burden for authors, who will either comply if they want copyrights, or ignore it and let their works enter the public domain immediately (indicating that they didn't care about the copyright to begin with). On the other hand, it would be greatly beneficial to the public, who would no longer have to assume that everything is copyrighted until they can prove otherwise.
A requirement to maintain up-to-date information in the registry, lest the copyright be lost, would also help with the orphan works problem you mentioned.
As someone else said, this is just Google being greedy - they could have come up with some sort of agreement with the authors that allowed them to do it via a subscription service, or such. Instead, they decided to give away someone else's work for free.
Actually, no, they couldn't. The transactional costs would be so great that neither Google, nor anyone else, would be willing to bother. Plus there would be authors who would refuse to participate, or who would balkanize the market with exclusive arrangements, much as we're seeing with music and video.
It's too knotty a problem to solve, other than by cutting right through.
Shouldn't it be up to each author to decide how much and what should be available as a free preview?
Only to the extent that it would not be fair use. Within the confines of fair use, it's not for them to decide.
Perhaps being able to search google's scanned books should be a subscription service with some portion of that subscription payment going back to the authors of the books you looked at.
Then probably no one would use it very much. Plus of course, copyright doesn't include a right to information about a work, and that, fundamentally, is what Google Books is: it tells you that a given search term appears in a book. The snippet is just icing on the cake, very similar to the thumbnails in image searches, or the snippets on Google's web search results pages. They provide useful context and the ability to verify that the match is not a false match, but that's about it for most of them.
Or perhaps it should be nationalized into a public library system and we pay taxes into it that go back to the authors.
I have no problem with the Library of Congress or other public libraries offering similar services. I wouldn't pay authors though; it's not necessary and seems like a waste.
I'm just not sure a system that benefits you and google but not the authors is the best solution to the problem here.
The important thing is that it benefits him, and you, and me, and the general public. Copyright isn't meant to provide a benefit to authors, except where doing so is in the interests of the public.
Nonsense. Apple doesn't give a crap about ebooks. They did it because they were worried about the Kindle harming iPad sales. The rest follows from that.
Lo! Men have become the tool of their tools. -- Henry David Thoreau