back to article DoJ objects to (revised) Googlebooks pact

The US Department of Justice is still concerned that Google's $125m book-scanning settlement conflicts with class-action, copyright, and antitrust law, even after Google and American authors and publishers negotiated changes to the pact meant to appease its critics. "Despite the commendable efforts of the parties to improve …


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  1. petur


    They want orphaned works to sit in the dust and never be found unless you know the works or somebody else points you to it? Now that's what I call progress.

    I think people don't realize the true potential of having so many books and other works searchable. Finding correlations between scientific works, for example. Or easily discovering if a work is just a ripoff of another work.

    1. Bilgepipe

      Nothing wrong....

      ...with them being searchable, I just object to Google granting themselves sole "permission" to do this and thereby gain any ad revenue thus generated. Apparently the DoJ objects, too.

      And what does "searchable" mean? Can I go online and just read these books in their entirety, thereby depriving authors and publishers their income?

  2. strangefish

    Seem to be trying quite hard

    "Google proposed that an independent fiduciary would retain all revenues from digitized orphan works for up to 10 years. Some of these funds would be used to locate the orphans' right holders, and anything left over would go to charity. But the pact would still give Google the right to digitize orphaned works - a right no one else has."

    Surely if this scheme were to be enacted as oullined here ie. a truly independant body takes and distributes revenue, then in theory anyone could sign up to it and the notion that Google would have the sole right to scan such orphaned works for collection goes out the window. Once precedent is established I can't see why there would then be any legal barrier to anybody else doing the same thing...including public bodies should they manage to secure long as they also subscribed to the rights distributor. Of course Google has been scanning away quite merrily in the background so nobody is saying they won't have a massive headstart...

    1. Tom 35 Silver badge

      That's not what they say at all

      The "independent fiduciary" would only hold the money that would normally go to known rights holder in trust. Google still keeps the right to digitize them and make money from them the same as a work with known rights holder. And since there system is 'opt-out' there is no one to stop them from doing what they want or object to the rates they apply.

      1. strangefish


        So your problem then is that they will be putting other publishers out of business? Other publishers who are presumably also not paying any rights at all for these orphan works (which they might well happily carry on distributing for all eternity and earning income from without putting a penny away should you turn up and claim your rights). My point here is that anyone else would have the same right to digitise and publish the same orphan works under the same system. Your concern over opt-out seems hollow. If you are the rights holder and object you opt-out, if you don't then you either aren't around, haven't noticed it yet or don't care. Opting-out means you get any money made that has been held in trust and retain your rights, they remove your work from distribution just as if it had been published without permission by anyone else and no financial harm is done, you just don't get any more income from that source and nobody can read it any more until you publish it yourself..

        If they were claiming the exclusive rights to publish these orphan works by default then that would be different but as I understand it they aren't and it would seem ludicrous to do so - I can't believe even the Mighty G would be so arrogant and their own lawyers would certainly advise them they have no inherent right to do so under current legislation in any country I can think of. Digitising a work does not make you the owner of that work. At the moment it doesn't give you any rights at all and that is the only fundamental thing that would change. What it comes down to is they are trying to nudge the law along; to allow for anyone to exploit an orphan work unless permission is ultimately revoked and applying compensation in any such case. It does not seem to me an unreasonable long as it is independantly monitored.

        Obviously there are other details to be concerned about for rights holders such as; the fact that they have already started with no legal framework in place; the possibility that you might have intended your work to be entirely free and public domain; the chance that inappropriate advertising might accompany your work and you may wish to object to that if you later discover it - these things and many others spring to mind. But at the moment I can see litle difference between what they are proposing and the work that the MPRS does within the music industry. Clearly it requires oversight and regulation but let's face it that would never have happened at all if someone hadn't got the ball rolling and ultimately somebody surely has to start digitising all this stuff or it will simply be lost forever?

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