If there were any doubt that Google is in a prime position to establish a legal monopoly in the world of digital books, the US patent office has snuffed it out. Earlier this year, as spotted by The New Scientist and churned up late last week by National Public Radio, Google patented a book-scanning technology that can digitize …
I refer you to Atlas Shrugged
Whilst I agree that healthy competition in ANY market place means that innovation is driven to it's highest levels and generally prices come down for consumers this really smacks of two things:
- Google made a deal with the Authors and not the publishers? And the publishers are for lack of a better word f****d because as digitisation of books gets a head of steam they will not be able exploit Authors and make sure their already fat profit margins grow fatter anymore? Sounds like a case of film / music where the makers and producers of the art that drives the market for these publishers try and find ways of getting their work directly to consumers, or find themselves a better deal and the publishers get all uppity and act like a jilted lover. More liked a bonded marriage where even though the artist is the poor bride, they're the ones who always ended up paying the dowry!
- It would seem that for once the company with a potential monopoly here deserve it! They have taken to the time to innovate, create a new, un-dstructive way of turning tomes of knowledge into bits of magnetism and electrons and duly patented it so they can get a reward for their endeavour. I by no means think that google are saints and that they are anything less than a mega-coporation in it for one thing, the money. But for this I applaud them for their ingenuity and doing it way ahead of anyone.
In fact, the point boils down to one thing Publishers and the rest say "Hey, I wish I'd thought of that first dagnammit. Oh well, I'll take them to court for being smarter, faster and fitter than I am. They MUST owe me some of the enourmous profits they are going to make". Google should say f-you, we will not carry you beggars and scroungers anymore. Start thinking for yourself. That if you didn't know, was the Atlas Shrugged angle.
Patent on what?
I don't get why the existence of a 3D scanner patent helps create a monopoly. To my knowledge, the existence of a patent does not prevent anyone from building a device based on the information, it just prevents them from mass manufacturing and selling said machines. As I understand it, nothing would prevent me (or my startup company) from building such a scanner and start visiting libraries making scans of their books (provided they'd allow me to). Making profit from the scans would not infringe the scanner patent, would it?
Well, they did, you know, invent something. Something quite clever in fact.
They have a right to claim a "legal monopoly" on that invention
Re:Atlas Shrugged /Umm
Great Point: The Library Associations quote could come directly out of the mouth of Wesley Mouch.
It is a very interesting invention and like most patents will not create a monopoly on its own. It would be nice to see that - like a number of other dominant companies making huge investments, before anyone else and taking the risks – this one also provides the appropriate rewards to the risk taker.
It seems Google are the only people with the money, the knowledge and the will to carry this out. If a sufficient proportion of the world's population cared about such projects, we'd happily pay for them to be carried out in an open manner, with the end result freely available to all.
Sadly we seem to have better things to do with our money, like giving it to the bankers so they can burn it. Best of luck to Google, we'll just have to cross our fingers and hope that they don't do anything too evil with their monopoly.
re: I refer you...
"- It would seem that for once the company with a potential monopoly here deserve it!"
You have a funny definition of "deserve". Google has been massively infringing authors' copyrights by copying millions of books without permission, simply because they have shedloads of cash and therefor power and influence. And you say they deserve this illegally-obtained monopoly?
UBfusion: "To my knowledge, the existence of a patent does not prevent anyone from building a device based on the information, it just prevents them from mass manufacturing and selling said machines." Sadly, that is incorrect. If somebody holds a patent on something, you are legally prevented from using/building whatever is patented, regardless of your usage, commercial intent, or whether or not you make money from it. Simply put, you are not allowed to use that knowledge until the patent expires.
A bit of perspective here (no pun intended!)
Whatever your opinion of Google's "land grab" in the digital books arena, you'd have to be a knee-jerk anti-google bigot to object to their patenting of a method for generating more accurate digital image of printed pages.
While knee-jerk anti-(microsoft/apple/google/linux/whatever) bigotry seems to have become somewhat de-rigeur in tech circles in recent years, it really does devalue a lot of commentary.
You are allowed to build any patented item for experimental use in most of the world, with the recently added restriction in the US of not being allowed to do this if your business is in research. Which has pissed off a lot of universities.
see - http://www.wptn.com/patent_vol5is1/pat_007_vol5is1.htm
You are not allowed to use the patented item for direct commercial use under nearly all patent regimes, even if you have built the item yourself.
However the patent industry should take a long hard look at the recording industry if it wants to survive.
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