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Google Books offers access to countless out-of-print and current works. Google says its competitors' complaints about the service are just sour grapes. It writes in a recent legal brief, "Competitors such as Amazon raise anxieties about Google's potential market position, but ignore their own entrenched market dominance."
Google defends its actions in a new legal brief

Google Books today is one of the internet's most useful and unique resources.  The site contain scores of works in their entirety and many more which are partially uploaded.  Many of these works were previously lost to the world -- out-of-print works that publishers refused to republish.  Thus Google is arguably offering unprecedented access to the science and literary wealth of mankind.

However, not everyone is happy with that.  A coalition led by Microsoft and Amazon has attacked Google's legal pact with publishers on antitrust and copyright grounds.  They say that the deal, which allows for sales of in-print uploaded works to compensate publishers and allows Google to keep uploading the works without fear of copyright litigation, gives Google an illegally dominant position in the market.

Google is now defending its deal to the U.S. Justice Department, which on Feburary 4 released critical comments of the service.  Google ardently denies wrongdoing.  Writes Google in a new legal brief, "With only one significant exception, the parties sought to implement every suggestion the United States (Justice Department) made in its September submission."

The one suggestion it did not agree to was to seek every author's permission to keep their books on Google Books.  They argue that would take too long, and would become problematic for deceased authors.  They argue agreeing to the provision "would eviscerate the purposes of the ASA (amended settlement agreement)."

Google says that its agreement will not stop other parties from seeking their own agreements and will not harm libraries, one allegation that was leveled against it.  It's lawyers write, "The ASA will enable the parties to make available to people throughout the country millions of out-of-print books.  This is precisely the kind of beneficial innovation that the antitrust laws are intended to encourage, not to frustrate."

And in the new brief it also is quick to attack claims that it is creating a monopoly, pointing out that Amazon and Microsoft both represent monopoly risks as well.  It writes, "Competitors such as Amazon raise anxieties about Google's potential market position, but ignore their own entrenched market dominance."

Google also pointed out that any author can opt out of the project.

The Open Book Alliance, the group fronted by Microsoft and Amazon and largely composed of various writers and library groups, fired back a quick email response to the brief, stating, "Despite the spin from Google's attorneys, the amended settlement will still offer the search and online advertising giant exclusive access to books it has illegally scanned to the detriment of consumers, authors and competition."

Google faces a critical turning point on Febuary 18 when U.S. District Judge Denny Chin must decide whether to approve or deny the class action suit settlement that set up the deal with publishers. A rejection would be a major deal to Google's digitizing efforts and a major victory for Microsoft and Amazon.  Even if Google can get the settlement approved, it still could face additional legal challenges from Amazon and Microsoft.



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RE: Huh?
By Suntan on 2/15/2010 1:01:40 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Second (and much more importantly) the author should have a right to control his work.


My understanding is that the author (copyright holder) can request that their book be taken down.

How is this an issue then? If the author doesn’t want it up there, they ask to have it taken down.

This is the same way patents work. The patent holder has to keep up with and enforce their patent (by suing the infringing party.) They don’t have the law actively looking out and enforcing their patent without having to do any work.

-Suntan


RE: Huh?
By porkpie on 2/15/2010 1:24:23 PM , Rating: 3
"This is the same way patents work"

Err, no. If you infringe upon a patent, the patent owner doesn't just get to tell you to stop. They get to SUE you for damages. If they can prove you knew of the infringement before hand, they can sue for punitive, as well as actual damages.

" If the author doesn’t want it up there, they ask to have it taken down."

What if they don't know about it? What if they find out months later, after a few million people have already made copies?

You shouldn't have to ask people to STOP using your property. They should have to ask you for permission first.
Don't put the cart before the horse.


RE: Huh?
By rcc on 2/15/2010 3:37:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
How is this an issue then? If the author doesn’t want it up there, they ask to have it taken down


Why should the Author have to do the work to keep someone from doing something that's been illegal for years. So, once a week for the rest of his/her/it's life, the author is expected to scan through the index and, if they find a title of theirs, send in a request to take it down? Or are they just going to blast out a letter to Google saying don't publish anything in my name, or these 7 pseudonyms?

I realize it's a big job, but if Google wants to digitize all the books, they need to be responsible for obtaining authorization to do so.

I rather like the concept of being able to access books online, but the authors need protection as well. Most of them write for a living, and we will be less than we were if many of them go find other jobs.


RE: Huh?
By omnicronx on 2/16/2010 12:09:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
This is the same way patents work. The patent holder has to keep up with and enforce their patent (by suing the infringing party.) They don’t have the law actively looking out and enforcing their patent without having to do any work.
Alrighty then, so by your logic ALL illegally downloaded MP3's are perfectly legal until you are caught. I even have the right to distribute them without repercussion until I am asked to stop!

Please explain to me this scenario is any different? The only difference here is that most of these authors are not asking for money, they just don't want Google to post their books without asking, or at the very least make it an easy process to have them removed.

If Google was posting music without consent, they would be sued. If they started selling the music for profit (whether that be directly or by advertising money being made), they would be sent back to the stone-age. So please explain to me why they should be allowed to do this with books?

I'm not saying they should have to ask every single author (the big problem here is that many of the works are old, and the publishers/copyright holders cannot be found), but they should at least have to try and investigate before they post content. They will already have the data required to do such a check to put the book online in the first place, so there is no reason why they cannot do this.. well aside from the fact it will take them longer to deploy, but that's their problem, not the authors.


"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates














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