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back to article Microsoft, Amazon, Yahoo! to join anti-Googlebook war

The battle to derail Google's Book Rights Registry has been joined by three heavyweight warriors: Microsoft, Amazon, and Yahoo!. The New York Times has reported that the three tech giants are planning to join efforts to block the court settlement of a 2005 copyright-infringement class-action suit that would give Google the right …

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Alert

Not all the authors support it...

...or even all the authors' associations, like this one for example:

http://www.sfwa.org/2009/08/sfwa-statement-on-proposed-google-book-settlement/

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Paris Hilton

No Matter Who

gets the rights and ad revenue, making very written word available is a positive thing.

Money, in spite of what you might believe, is secondary.

Paris... well.. because

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Making out of print books available

Not all of the good books stay in print. But good old books have to go away if publishers want to sell us cheesy new or trivially modified full price books. By making books permanently available Google is performing a service at great cost and with uncertain profit. The risk is huge, and these sorts of suits just add to the costs and the risk. If someone else wants to perform that service too, that would be great. But preventing the service is not in the consumer's best interest.

I say good on Google for saving the dusty books of yesteryear, that my children might read Farenheit 451 long after publishers abandon it. For noone to preserve these works and make them available would be to ignore the message in that very important book.

Up for Google.

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Motives for joining the anti

Although I don't agree with the against argument, I can understand the concerns of some. What I don't understand is why M$, Yahoo and Amazon would be opposed to the principle. If they do it right, they also could make money out of this. Maybe they are scared that Google would do it better....

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Jobs Halo

There is one motive that no one has woken up to yet....

Google is taking over the world. Under the guise of "do no evil" they are slowly monopolizing the web. Instead of being concerned about Microsoft and its monopolistic browser, the EU should be more concerned about Google's monopolistic grab for books, Facebook's monopolistic grab for the world's social data, and Apple's monopolistic grab to put overpriced computers on the desks of people who have too much money to spend. Mark my words, if they are not stopped the next few decades will see the emergence of three companies monopolizing each of those industries, more powerful than Microsoft ever was at owning the browser or operating systems markets. Halo Steve Ballmer because there's no Evil Steve Jobs graphic.

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Orphan Books Belong to All

The existence of orphan books is due to the lack of mandatory copyright registration system as there are no ownership records kept for orphan books, the blame for which lies with the outdated nature of Berne Convention that fails to keep up with the need and reality of the digital age and the inaction of the US Congress. What needs to be established is a mandatory online copyright registration system through US Copyright Office (or an international organization) that requires all authors wishing to receive copyright protection to register each book for a small annual fee (say, $10 a year—a no-fee system does not work as well, since it permits registrants to register without any financial encumbrance). Copyright protection for non-commercial digital distribution should be annulled if the author of a book failed to renew the registration for the book (copyright for commercial, for-profit distribution should not be affected by the annulment).

Once established, the system will allow easy identification of orphaned books since their authors are either dead and unable to renew the copyright or that the commercial value of their books are too insignificant to even afford a small annual registration fee. Once orphan books are identified, any non-profit online digital library should be allowed to distribute the books free of charge. Hybrid online ebook distributors, such as Scribd.com, should be considered as a commercial distributor, thus they should be prevented from orphan book distribution. Furthermore, the Library of Congress should be authorized to maintain a central repository for the copies of all digitally distributed orphan books than can then be accessed through a local library system.

The reason publishers are kowtowing Google and are averse to this solution is that they want to share whatever the profit Google gets for the digital distribution of orphan books. In other words, they, like Google, want a free ride on the back of those authors who are no longer able to benefit financially themselves. Congress should pass the appropriate legislation and take orphan books out of those property grabbers’ hands. Orphan books are essentially abandoned properties, and as such they should belong to all American people, not to a few well-connected people who intend to exploit them commercially.

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Linux

Does this mean Google OS?

If we really are going to have a Microsoft War against Google -- although bing seems like a shoot at big oracle. I believe that Microsoft will not win. I hope that Google will be able to win over 60% of the OS market.

Only time will tell...

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@George 24

"Maybe they are scared that Google would do it better...."

Google will do it as least as well. The settlement has a "most favoured nation" clause which ensures that the Authors Guild cannot offer better terms to another party without also offering those terms to Google.

The settlement shows how to get the copyright agreement you want. Academic libraries rigorously obeyed the copyright law. They asked nicely for licensing. No one listened. Google just ignored the copyright law, damned the torpedoes, and are now about to have approved by the DoJ a license which will give Google a monopoly in digital library content.

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Coat

make em share the scans

so, there's a couple of things here - one objection is that google run the only digitised books copyright registry, and the second is that they're the only people making money from it.

now it seems to me that it's really the government's job to run a copyright registry, but if they want to outsource it to google then that's fine, with caveats that follow:

the second bit, that google are making money as a result, seems a bit wrong. they claim anyone could do it if they started scanning books, but it's hardly something that costs peanuts, and as others have said, it was of questionable legality when google started.

so how about: google have to make all the raw scans available to anyone that asks, at no cost. then it's actually plausible that someone else (eg MS/Yahoo/amazon) could offer a similar service.

then, google are competing purely on the value they add, over and above scanning: the quality of their OCR, the quality of their search technology, the quality of their web UI.

problem solved. can't find a good icon for that sentiment tho...

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Jobs Halo

@AC 17:50

"Halo Steve Ballmer because there's no Evil Steve Jobs graphic."

Umm, you do realise that the icon you used is the "Evil Steve Jobs" icon.

There is actually (much to my annoyance) no Evil Ballmer icon.

Saint Jobs because it is the same pic as Evil Jobs with halo instead of horns

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@Harry Percival

I have to disagree with a point you made there; if I ran a service, why should I have run this service for my competitors for free? Like you said, it costs hardly peanuts to scan in the books, so why should big companies like MS or Y! have someone else do all the leg work and reap the benefits?

I have to agree with the big G on this point, "if" (big if) the agreement is non-exclusive, then it just paves the way for anyone to scan in books, and make a business model out of what basically a libary does, but online. G wants to get money via ads, but Ms could charge say, 1op a read of a book...

Don't see the problem here, on this particular part of the debate.

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yes, we doubt them, but...

Yes, we doubt Google's motives, but-

They are the ONLY people who have the resources to scan and digitise every book in print, and then make them all available, FOR FREE.

Now whether they use this to make money on the side by advertising or whatever, I don't care. Fact of the matter, if they don't do it, it's not gonna happen. Other organisations either don't have the resources, or will charge for access. And you're fooling yourselves if you think that this doesn't need to be done. We need all books digitised.

This way, even if Google tries to "misuse" their database, once the information's online, anyone can get it and Google's motives will be inconsequential.

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Go

we doubt them...

I don't doubt Google's motives for a second; they want to make money. But you have a point, and that's the same with most technology...when it's created it can't be un-created. So it'll be a step forward for the species, for sure. Even if in the short term someone turns a buck ( can they? ) out of it.

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WTF?

This isn't a monopoly issue

People complain about google monopolizing the web but there is no lock in, their percentage control over the market is solely based on the quality of their products.

There is competition, they just aren't as good.

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Pirate

Not dead yet

Speaking as a living and still-publishing writer who has found his ten- to twenty-year-old out-of-print novels on Google's scanned books list -- along with the manuscript of an unpublished novel I once sent to another writer for critique, that somehow ended up in a university library collection as part of *his* estate -- I have to say that Google's whole "orphaned books" argument is composed entirely of purest bullshite. They never even TRIED to find the copyright holders. I mean, all they had to do was look at the front covers. "Ooh, this one was published by HarperCollins. That one by Random House. How on earth we can contact them?"

What this deal does is destroy the value of backlists and reprints and reward Google for committing IP piracy on a massive scale, and does so by brutally buggering living writers.

Which, of course, is absolutely nothing new for Google.

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