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back to article Merkel rips into Google Books

The German chancellor Angela Merkel has voiced concerns over Google's book-scanning effort, adding political weight to the complaints of rights holders. In her weekly podcast, the recently re-elected Merkel said the search giant's digital library project presented "considerable dangers" to intellectual property. The project's …

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Anonymous Coward

I don't get it

I don't understand why google's efforts don't get squashed flat. It's blatent copyright infringement. Simple. No argument. What's the problem?

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@ AC 14:44

The problem is that Google will turn off the internet if it doesn't get its own way.

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WTF?

Relative Values

Is it just me, or is anyone else noticing the disparity between the perceived value of IP vested in a printed book (the future of our culture and civilization) and the value vested in a 3 minute pop song.

e.g. Google scans 10 million books and the alleged copyright owners settle for $125 million ($12.50 per title) which Google has probably already recouped. Jammie Thomas uploads 24 tunes and is fined over $9000 per tune (and the law allows for double that).

Divide $125 million by the number of alleged illegal file sharers in the world (over half a billion by UK government estimates) the per-capita lifetime licence for all film/music ever produced comes in at about 20cents. Count me in.

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Anonymous Coward

How come...

...people here rail and scream when the government extends copyrights at the behest of publishers - and then rail and scream when google scans out-of-copyright works? Huh?

I've been checking out google books recently - the magazine side. And it's absolutely fantastic - the stuff in magazines from the early 1900s discussing the near-future of video phones and flying cars to name one interesting point. All of this stuff would either disappear or be inaccessible otherwise - even if all the publications stuck around, how else are you going to do a search for all instances of 'television' between 1900 and 1910?

I get the feeling that there's a fairly simple anti-google backlash here - there's blood in the water, and now it's popular to hate them, like the indie band made good. It's just not cool to like google any more, so excuses are made to detest what they do, hypocritical or otherwise. Sad.

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Anonymous Coward

I don't understand the Merkel quotation

Is it the books or the scanning that is without copyright protection? Was the quotation translated?

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Boffin

re David W

>...people here rail and scream when the government extends copyrights at the behest of publishers - and then rail and scream when google scans out-of-copyright works? Huh?

No one minds when they scan the out of copyright works, the problem is when they do it to the still in copyright works without the permission of the copyright holders and turn a profit from it.

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Anonymous Coward

@How come...

"...people here rail and scream when the government extends copyrights at the behest of publishers - and then rail and scream when google scans out-of-copyright works? Huh?"

It has nothing to do with out of copyright works. It has everything to do with in copyright works.

Google wants to scan stuff that is in copyright, but where it doesn't know the copyright holder and doesn't have a license. IMHO, they're wish is reasonable, all they need to do is phase it in very slowly, making the publication searchable, then fully available when the copyright expires.

Yes this means for years/decades it is not available but searchable, but so what? As long as it eventually ends up in the public domain and a copy is preserved!

That would be legal and clean. It would be fair use, followed by public domain.

However they got sued by a publishers organisation, and agreed a class action settlement which gave the American bullshitters, erm publishers organisation the right to license to Google works it doesn't control. Including foreign work available in the US.

It is the classic fake owner fraud.

That is a disaster, it has no basis in contract, it does not benefit the copyright holder and it is a violation of the US trade treaty. It is no different from a Russian agency, licensing music to allofmp3.

So the judge should think again, kick it out, give approval to Google to scan FOR FAIR USE RIGHTS ONLY, searchable but not extractable. Also they are liable to ensure that it does not go beyond fair use, and all the necessary opt outs are in place. Past that, once it goes into public domain, they can make it freely available.

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Stop

Benevolence?

I will only believe this when they remove the ads. Until then, it is just profiteering.

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Stop

Means to an end

By putting loads of useful stuff available free of charge, Google plays with the UI, delivery model etc, and then starts offering publishing services to authors whilst pointing towards their experience and ability in that area.

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Merkel backs establishment

Obviously the publishers and authors are deeply conflicted here. The publishers will get all the $$ and the authors none(save for those rare self published books).

I am sure all authors want this google books initiative, and would be willing to agree to a fair 50:50 split of this royalty money. As you know, the vast majority of all books are now out of print,("OOP") and those authors and publishers will reap an equal benefit under the google books plan if 50:50 split is agreed to. Possibly the books that are not OOP can give a higher % to publishers, as they are already paying a royalty to the authors. Some volume linked scale?

This concept is the true solution. Remember, publishers also hate libraries, does Merkel hate libraries? She needs a brain transplant to heed the voice of the people.

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Pint

Some magazines love it

I'm part of the American Motorcycle Association, which publishes "American Motorcyclist" as its house magazine. They have a blurb each month now about "5/10/20 years ago" and they give the Google Books URL for that issue, and say "Here's how you find us on Books"

Obviously, they have no issue (ahem) with it at all.

And as usual with the Germans, it's either white or black, there's no in between.

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Terminator

Information Guardians

Google wants to monopolize and commercialize the worlds information by controlling the means of access to it.

This is very dangerous.

Books should be made available online via inter-operable open standards using frameworks and tools that can be adopted and used by anyone who wishes to make their content available to others.

We must not allow a private for-profit US corporation to dominate, mediate and filter access the worlds library - its bad enough already them achieving such a hold on web search.

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@Weeble

Anyway, Jammie needed to be slammed like a door. It was her computer with lots of songs, she destroyed evidence (harddriver replacedment), and she flatly denied everything. She got not one, but TWO separate trials with not one but TWO separate juries and they BOTH found her guilty. She would have been better off taking the initial deal (which from my understanding is still on the table).

Ditto for Joel.

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Anonymous Coward

p.o.v.

The problem isn't Google's scanning old, out-of-copyright stuff. That's wonderful. More power to 'em.

The problem is that Google scanned _everything_ they could get their grubby mitts on, including recent publications by living authors, and then left it to the copyright owners to discover that a.) Google had scanned the work in the first place, and b.) Google was asserting it was an orphaned or abandoned work and thus not protected by copyright.

From the author's point of view it's sort of like finding out your car's been stolen, and then spotting the thief driving it and having him say, "Oh yeah? Well, it wasn't really your car in the first place."

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Badgers

Trouble with copyright...

Perhaps she should read Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture.

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Anonymous Coward

We don't need new copyright laws

Scanning it to make it search-able is fair use. Publishing it in largely readable form is a copyright violation.

Google can do one but not the other, until the book becomes public domain or until they license it from the copyright holder.

Anyone else can scan it for pure fair use searching, or license it. And so they should to encourage many copies.

No license is required, it's fair use. Making a book searchable is no different than indexing it, or reviewing it, or referencing it in text.

When the Judge gave this publishers organisation a right to license these works, he actually created an extra layer of copyright, the right of this publishers group to license fair use! Not even their own, but other peoples!

That was a none starter Merkel is right to be critical.

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Anonymous Coward

Benevolence? #

> I will only believe this when they remove the ads. Until then, it is just profiteering.

Thats right. From what i've read the crux of this is commercialization - using other people's (copyrighted) content to sell contextual ads to drive profits for your business and increase your market-share and leverage. Google and Pirate Bay are remarkably similar in this respect.

> Divide $125 million by the number of alleged illegal file sharers in the world (over half a billion by UK government estimates) the per-capita lifetime licence for all film/music ever produced comes in at about 20cents.

If only a decade ago the rights holders had green lighted the download sale of DRM free mp3's from popular web radio stations, e-commerce sites and p2p networks at 20cents/pence a track from anyone in the world with a valid credit card / e-voucher / mobile account...

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FAIL

public and private sector leeches

>When the Judge gave this publishers organisation a right to license these works, he actually created an extra layer of copyright, the right of this publishers group to license fair use! Not even their own, but other peoples!!

Sad to see Western civ is so full of private and public sector leeches who only exist to extort $ from the people that create, work, etc for the benefit of society. In this case it is the publishers group, and to some extent Google as well as other notorious actors such as the RIAA, MPAA and of course patent trolls. The one common thread seems to be it is mostly lawyers doing it.

"People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public."

- Adam Smith

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I mis read, or mis-understand

Is it book scanning, or book scamming, either way you cut it, we're back to 1930's German politics, "You can read what we say you can read".

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@Gene

"And as usual with the Germans, it's either white or black, there's no in between."

That's the South Africans. With the Germans it's either their deckchair or.. no wait.. it's always their deckchair.

I for one welcome Googlevision to my Internet library. Can't wait to look at old Playboy articles.

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Alert

Not all the information is being made public.

They want to scan out of copyright books AND in-copyright books, so that you can use google to type in what you want and you will get a "bit" of the book back, allowing you to read it.

There isn't clearly defined limits on this "bit" so you could get the book back. Which causes issues for a lot of people. few pages, the same few pages, or a different part.

The idea is if you like it, you then get redirected to a place you can buy it as google "currently" (and that is key) don't sell the book. Imagine if they start what other reatailers of books will do?

There is a chance for author and publisher to take part in this and to opt out, though 2011 as an opt out has been mentioned, which denotes you have little chance to not take part after this. I read you can nip in and out at will if you want to do it.

As for payment, the settlement is something like $60 per book, so try feeding a family on that. Now they put forward for Pre 1987 books. 35% to publisher, 65% to writer, after 1987 it is 50/50 (Allowing for the fact the 50$ for the writer will include most liklye the the 15% for the agent.)

Google books is good for those out of print or where sales are drip feeding because it will open up the market, but there is a firm belief (And why not) that it will kill printed books or online competition (When Google start selling them what of amazon, play. It will just be google determining price and becoming the publishers boss.)

Afterall who else will put money into doing this, so you WILL be locked into only one online party.

Personally I don't know, great for you to get old copies but it will kill online competition when google start selling and it will kill copyright, which will then limit those who bother to write in the first place, as well as killing all libraries in the process.

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@Trouble with copyright...

'Perhaps she should read Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture.'

The thing the Lessig fanboys never mention is that Lessig advocates that all our web access should be intercepted and monitored by an agency set up by the government. This is his answer to the problem of how artists should be paid: the government, he says, should levy a special tax and distribute the proceeds among artists for their support. How much each artist receives is to be determined by the popularity of his or her work, as established by this all-seeing agency.

So at one swoop Lessig would

a) institute an organisation dedicated to spying on everyone's internet use and reporting to the government

b) take away artists' independence and make them rely on government handouts for an income.

Is this what you want to see, Ivor?

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