Print 26 comment(s) - last by porkpie.. on May 12 at 9:46 PM

Opponents claims that deal violates WTO trademark laws


Google is no stranger to allegations that it wields too much power in the search and advertising market online. However, one of the most controversial of the programs Google operates has been its book scanning project.

Many fear that by allowing Google to scan books and put them online, the company will have a monopoly and a competitive edge in the digital book market that other providers can’t match. Among the major tech firms that have spoken out against the Google Books deal are Microsoft and Amazon. Google fired back against the two companies in February 2010 stating that its scanning service would not harm libraries, which was one of the claims cited by opponents to the book scanning program.

As the deadline for the Google Books deal to move forward this summer draws near, opponents to the program are still fighting to stop the digitization of orphan works by Google. The latest attempt to stop the book deal comes from the Open Book Alliance (OBA) to convince the judge presiding over the case that the deal – reached between Google, the American Association of Publishers, and the Authors Guild -- violates provisions of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.

The provision being cited by the OBA states that no copyrighted works can be used without express permission of its author. The OBA has hired the legal firm Macht, Shapiro, Arato, and Isserles to represent them on the matter. Cynthia Arato, one of the partners at the firm, issued a memo concerning the case that read in part, "If approved, the settlement would (1) grant Google automatic rights to exploit digitally millions of books without requiring Google to obtain any authorization from any foreign copyright owner or author; and (2) require these foreign rights holders to jump through burdensome hoops simply to exercise a watered-down contractual right—that the settlement creates—to halt such use."

Google states that it has not yet fully reviewed the document, but it is sure that its deal with the publishers and authors unions meets all U.S. and international copyright laws. A Google spokesperson stated, "The settlement offers an extraordinary opportunity to unlock access to millions of books for students, readers, and researchers across the U.S. It exposes readers to information they might not otherwise see, and it provides authors and publishers with a new way to be found."

Arato maintains that the settlement infringes on the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property rights rule that states any deal granted by a World Trade organization member to the nationals of one member country should be granted to all WTO members. So far, the Google settlement deal only applies to certain WTO member countries.

Arato said, "If the settlement is approved, it may give rise to legal action against the U.S. before an international tribunal and will certainly expose the U.S. to diplomatic stress." 


Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: freedom of information
By Smilin on 5/12/2010 10:25:39 AM , Rating: 3
So what's the problem?

You don't have to "opt out" to retain your rights. You must "opt in" to give them up. Anything else is stripping rights without permission. I have a serious problem with that and so should anyone who respects the rule of law.

First of all, it's a rare author who owns his own copyright.

BS. This isn't the recording industry. Authors sign deals to publish works, not to sell them.

do you really think this is a hardship for publishers?

Yes. See opt-in/opt-out above. The effort required to retain your law given rights is 0. Any effort whatsoever beyond that is hardship.

In fact, google's book search (which has already been live for a while) turns out to be a massive financial boon to authors and publishers, as it makes discoverable previously difficult-to-find information. Here's a 2007 story about it, and more and more publishers have come around since then:

Financial gain is irrelevant. It doesn't make it ok to steal when you give something back. You must get agreement beforehand. Some authors and copyright owning publishers have made this agreement but not all.

That NPR story is also crap. I heard it on the radio when they first played it. They are basically giving one side of the story and not interviewing anyone from the Author's Guild or other publishers who are suing google.

Look, I *like* google books. I think it's an awesome idea that's long overdue. But no matter how much I like it I'm not going to support stealing. Google needs to do this right (with an opt-IN system) or not do it at all.

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki