Google's Book Scanning Falls Under Fair Use Doctrine, Says Appelate Court

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gangrel

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I am not opposed to reasonable copyrights; I simply don't feel that there's anything close to reasonable about copyrights today. When the Authors' Guild claims loss of a licensed search...to my mind, in many cases, they're dreaming. We're talking major hallucinations. First: who is going to *pay* to develop the database, if it's going to be a fee for service? it's simply not going to be used enough, IMO.

For example: some time back, I learned a tidbit of family history. I wanted to investigate. Some detail was actually available...and it was pretty interesting! OK, to me. There were two books, IIRC; in both, my grandfather, the family member I was researching, was really an afterthought; the main subjects of the books were historically VASTLY more significant. (Which was why it was interesting to me.) I wouldn't have paid to find these...or, at least, nothing significant.
 
Without getting into the legitimacy of the whole issue, what I find scary is that 3 judges from a court have the capability to rule on whether data security is 'good enough' or not. No offense, they're good at interpreting law (usually) but they're not internet or data security savvy. I imagine the court system found the va database "good enough", assumed sony's databases were secured "good enough" and so on. These aren't mom and pop organizations with 1990's security tech and obviously "good enough" doesn't cut it or we wouldn't have major data breaches every time you turn on the news. Convincing a judge or judges whose job it is to work with written law of something they're not educated on such as data security shouldn't be up to them to decide. At least not in my opinion. I won't even mention other high ranking government officials who seem rather plagued by data security issues. :p
 

gangrel

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But in this case, there's no open access point.

And who would want this data? It's page images of out of print books. The goal of breaking into the VA system was to obtain information to facilitate identity theft...what plausible purpose would be served by breaking into the data here?
 

clockworkavatar

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I.P. law in this country needs an overhaul, if the books are out of print, but still available in public libraries, they should be available in their entirety online for free as well.
 

Karthik Sankar

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@synphul , Both the people who advocate and the judges themselves tend to be selected based on their knowledge of the case. And even if the judges are not well informed on Technology and Security , they employ an INDEPENDANT organization to look into the case and report back. So yes the judges make educated rulings .Google is literally doing all these authors a favor by helping people find their books , the authors just got greedy and expect money from google because its billion dollar company . Would you ask an advertisement company to pay for advertising your product? ....

the case is quite simple.
 

gangrel

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That actually has nothing to do with the legal basis for the case, which is whether or not Google's use is allowed under the fair use exceptions in copyright law.
 
@Lucian Armasu I really liked the article. Reads well. This is the first I heard of this case. If they gave you more words learning more about the google full text index and how to use it would be good.
 

wskinny

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For god sake!
Do you want civilization to suffer a second Dark Ages/Inquisition days knowledge loss???
Let google scan ALL BOOKS in a fair usage policy and back them all up 1000000 times so we never again loose knowledge for feck sake.
 

gangrel

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What would you define as a fair use policy?

But to a point, you're right. They don't care. Comment's been made elsewhere that this is the only generation working so hard to deny access to its cultural identity. On the flip side, of course, is that IP piracy is largely trivial now, and has certainly been rampant. The number of authors (or musicians) that actually make good money is fairly low, and frequently takes a VERY long time. I used to game with a guy who was a very talented artist...IIRC, WotC used his work on some Magic cards. He also wanted to be a writer...it took *years* for him to make his first sale, and that to a very small publisher.

So, I do understand that the effort involved often doesn't match the compensation gained, and that creators do deserve to be compensated. Any fair use policy has to take that into account. That doesn't imply restricting access for 100 years.
 
The other side of the argument is what happens if and when books no longer become available in print and google has the only digital copies. They would then be in a position to do what they please with the data, sell it off in chunks like itunes. My point about the security of the material is, it's still someone's property. With all the books they've scanned at the rate they've been scanning, did the courts actually check all the data to make sure there wasn't a single book scanned that someone did in fact still have the rights to? No one can say with certainty, they're making assumptions. Just like a certain sec of state 'assumed' data was safe. Government and experts don't really go hand in hand as the 'experts' have been proven wrong.

Obviously there was more to be gained for nefarious usage from data breached via the va and sony and others but the point is the safety of the data. If data that sensitive wasn't safe, what makes people think 'just out of date books' are even as closely secured? How many of those out of print or rights free books aren't what they claim? It's a lot like a skimming scheme where people 'only' take a portion of a penny off multiple transactions, it sounds harmless enough at the first sound of it but what's important is what it amounts to in the end. Data is almost a new form of currency these days and google is making sure they're getting their fair share locked away and held as their own property.

It's already no surprise that google and other corps are collecting as much data on us and our usage habits as possible to sell off to the highest bidder and that's going on currently much less years from now. Do people really think google offers up search results for free, scans books to make info available for free and everything else? They don't become a multi billion dollar organization based on pure charity for the goodwill of mankind. Even if the organization of data appears 'free' up front, there's always something in it for them. Unlike a library where it truly is pretty much free, they may charge a nominal fee for a membership card or for copies printed etc but aren't hiding the data away for their own purposes. Giving us little snippets of something to provoke people to buy the book. A profit is being turned somewhere.
 

h1259072

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@synphul
I have as much love for megacorporations as the next guy, but there is a whole world of difference between blatant breaching one's privacy through collection of deeply personal data such as browsing patterns and history, and indexing the contents of tens millions of mostly half-forgotten and already publicly available books to be fully searchable online. One is intrusive and regressive, the other is progressive, enlightening and undoubtedly beneficial for mankind as a whole. And what exactly "a single book scanned that someone did in fact still have the rights to" would amount to? A deluge of desperate writers being starved to death from millions of lost sales? Or few dozens of mostly accidental snippet views per month from maybe a handful of indifferent viewers? Give me a break.
 

gangrel

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If they offer up more than snippets, they *would* violate fair use as it stands today. You're very probably correct to question their motives overall, but I don't believe their motivation is related to selling the books. Having Chrome OS take away a significant chunk of Windows' market share...that, I could see. Increasing ad revenue...certainly plausible.
 

MKBL

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For whatever lofty goal the litigation was brought by the guild in the beginning, now it smells more like just a shrewd lawyers' play. At this stage, capable and ethical lawyer should advise its client to drop the case or settle. By dragging it to the end, only the lawyer will be a winner.
 
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