[HNW] 1597 Sibmacher
fran at lavoltapress.com
Fri Aug 31 02:04:10 PDT 2007
> I know that both Google and MSN (Live Search) are being watched by the
> publishing industry for potential copyright infringement as they scan in
> some of the biggest libraries in the US, but so far, so good.
Google is very prominently being sued, as a matter of fact, by a number
of major publishers and authors' groups.
No one has any legal objection whatever to scanning of works legally in
the public domain; and if they did, it would not be upheld.
What Google is scanning for the Library project depends on their
contract with each library. If you want to go look at the contracts,
some are online, although some have been kept confidential. I have read
most of the available ones. Some libraries are only having
public-domain works from their collections scanned. Some are having
works soon to go out of copyright scanned. Some are having very recent
copyrighted works scanned. Some libraries are planning to put files of
copyrighted works in "dark archives" to preserve them till the
copyrights expire. It's not clear what some other libraries plan to do
with scans of copyrighted works.
Google's end of the contracts specifies that they receive a copy of the
file for each book scanned, regardless of its copyright status, and that
they may transfer this file to any other library in the Library project.
Google is currently setting up as for-profit e-book publisher of the
scanned files. They have described three payment models: One is to sell
ads within book pages, one is to sell the whole file as an e-book to
download, and one is pay-per-view. They have not said whether they will
use all three models at once, or whether they will experiment with them
one at a time.
Let's get back to the lawsuits against Google: Obviously, these concern
the copyrighted works Google is scanning, not the public domain ones.
When Google first announced their Library project, they blithely began
scanning everything in sight, regardless of copyright status, and
without notifying copyright owners their books were being scanned. Lots
of legal furor.
Google then halted scanning for a period while they set up a system for
copyright owners to "opt out" books from Google Library. I've done it,
of course, as have many other copyright owners. It involves first
_joining_ the Google Partner program, getting an account, and going to a
website where you then proceed to opt books _out_ of it. You have to opt
out every book separately, filling out the author name, title, ISBN,
etc. There is also a system for major publishers to upload hundreds of
books at a time, as they need to do. But, the bottom line is no one can
opt themselves out as an author or a publisher; they have to opt out
every single title and every edition of it.
What Google is now being sued for is the opt-out process. Opt-out is
directly counter to US copyright law, which says that someone who wants
to use a copyrighted work must get explicit and prior permission. No
copyright holder wants to constantly run all over the web opting their
books out of every program that may spring up. Google may have deep
pockets, but some very deep-pockets publishers are opposing them.
MSN is very prominently scanning only works in the public domain. They
are delighted that someone else (Google) is being the Lord of Evil for a
change, and they are wringing every bit of PR they can out of it.
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