Comments on: this is very funny http://www.lessig.org/2005/11/this-is-very-funny/ Blog, news, books Sat, 04 Feb 2017 16:33:00 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.2 By: Helena http://www.lessig.org/2005/11/this-is-very-funny/#comment-18119 Fri, 18 Jul 2008 19:13:21 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/11/this_is_very_funny.html#comment-18119 Stanford’s network, for example, already has a number of characteristics sufficient to prevent V-book-piracy. Current technology could allow books to be issued only onto the unique registered computers; or transferable only between the proxy-server and node ; or/and. corresponding to the SUNET login id?

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By: michael http://www.lessig.org/2005/11/this-is-very-funny/#comment-18118 Fri, 18 Nov 2005 20:33:56 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/11/this_is_very_funny.html#comment-18118 [quote](1) cases where the new technology is itself the reason why some old revenue stream is dying; and (2) cases where the old revenue stream is dying just because old revenue streams grow old. I think the case in favor of allowing copyright holders to claim some share of the revenue in instance (1) is easy to articulate.[/quote]

I fail to see how (1) can be rationally articluated at all. That would be like paying the post office for every electronic correspondence I send (including this one). Either way, neither can demonstrably be applied to this situation.

Besides, Goolge Print has yet to be shown to have any negative impact on revenue streams for publishers.

In the end, if Google Print is illegal, than so is EVERY SEARCH ENGINE on the internet.

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By: Matt C http://www.lessig.org/2005/11/this-is-very-funny/#comment-18117 Fri, 18 Nov 2005 16:21:08 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/11/this_is_very_funny.html#comment-18117 Aren’t reprint rights for a single instance of publication?

And where’s the evidence that all content eventually comes into the public domain? Saying X will eventually happen is not an argument. Historical evidence suggests to me that e.g. Mickey Mouse will never go into the public domain. Is there evidence to the contrary?

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By: Nandini http://www.lessig.org/2005/11/this-is-very-funny/#comment-18116 Fri, 18 Nov 2005 13:51:36 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/11/this_is_very_funny.html#comment-18116 (1) The law gives copyright owners an exclusive right to ?copy.? That?s the equivalent of the law giving land owners rights to the ?periphery of the universe.?

This simply isn’t true. Copyrights don’t last forever. All content eventually comes into the public domain. Copyright laws as they apply to written content right now are completely fair even by your standards. What Google wants to do is the equivalent of allowing any person to use 20% of *any part* of the landowner’s property per month.

In your post you ignore a very simple way that Google could circumvent all this controversy: just buy reprint rights from the author, and they could make the whole book available online.

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By: Matt C http://www.lessig.org/2005/11/this-is-very-funny/#comment-18115 Fri, 18 Nov 2005 12:51:26 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/11/this_is_very_funny.html#comment-18115 Drummond? You don’t mean Bill Drummond of the Kopyright Liberation Front, do you?

Prof. Lichtman I’m going to read up on you now. I think you’ve been unjustly set upon. I personally am closer to Joe’s point of view, but I appreciate the balanced approach you take. It does little good to any side to view this as Good versus Bad (Evil).

I have issue with the implication of your phrase “continue to earn a share of the revenues” … this continuance undermines the idea of first sale, as Joseph points out. There may be reason to offer something to publishers/authors who agree to make their works available here, but I don’t know that there is an *obligation to do so.

Essentially I think the transitional period is mental, not economic. A poster above points out that this is likely to stimulate, not dampen, the sales of most kinds of books. It will take some time before old-media companies realize that, and until then it’s not helpful to antagonize them.

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By: oldfox http://www.lessig.org/2005/11/this-is-very-funny/#comment-18114 Wed, 16 Nov 2005 18:28:49 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/11/this_is_very_funny.html#comment-18114 As an InterLibrary Loan specialist, I am drooling for Google Library Print. This would do so much for researchers and scholars that it is mind-boggling. If they can tie the items to the OCLC record (via the ISBN) as they can now, it will advance the creative arts and science tremendously.

For the academic world, think of how easy it will be to test for plagiarism, a leakily managed process at present and one in which copyright holders ought to be a lot more interested.

Go Google. Go Drummond!

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By: jholbo http://www.lessig.org/2005/11/this-is-very-funny/#comment-18113 Tue, 15 Nov 2005 01:06:59 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/11/this_is_very_funny.html#comment-18113 William Empson wrote a poem, “Legal Fiction”, about the old ‘periphery of the universe’ interpretation of property rights:

Law makes long spokes of short stakes of men.
Your well fenced out real estate of mind
No high flat of the nomad citizen
Looks over, or train leaves behind.
Your rights extend under and above your claim
Without bound; you own land in Heaven and Hell;
Your part is of earth’s surface and mass the same,
Of all cosmos’ volume, and all stars as well.
Your rights reach down where all owners meet, in Hell’s
Pointed exclusive conclave, at earth’s centre
(Your spun farm’s root still on that axis dwells);
And up, through galaxies, a growing sector.
You are nomad yet; the lighthouse beam you own
Flashes, like Lucifer, through the firmament.
Earth’s axis varies; your dark central cone
Wavers, a candle’s shadow, at the end.

“Your well fenced out real estate of mind”. Intellectual property, indeed. Someone ought to do a rewrite of the poem, imagining the long shadow of indefinite copyright extension – Mickey Mouse’s silhouette, far flung into the future from its corporate base.

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By: poptones http://www.lessig.org/2005/11/this-is-very-funny/#comment-18112 Mon, 14 Nov 2005 04:41:52 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/11/this_is_very_funny.html#comment-18112 …for example my worries that indexes like these will be vulnerable to hackers who might use them to gain access to (and distribute) millions of digital files.

Are you truly worried about this? Because when I hear it I immediately suspect any further arguments made by that person as a red herring.

Databases of this type are not masses of intact digital works. There would be zero value to them if they were, because simply being able to quote the work doesn’t tell you anything about the context of that quote, what page number it appears, what paragraph, what other works may have borrowed from it…

These are linked lists of words and passages, not simply giant blobs of scanned text. Even to recompile and reconstitute the works broken up in this fashion from an online source would be more work than simply going to the library, checking the book out and scanning it yourself – just as many people already do.

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By: Mike Bell http://www.lessig.org/2005/11/this-is-very-funny/#comment-18111 Fri, 11 Nov 2005 02:53:16 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/11/this_is_very_funny.html#comment-18111 Doug,

The movies from books question is a total red herring. Movie producers should and do pay royalties to authors (or, I guess more likely to Publishers) because movies are derivative works. The analogy to Causby falls short because the effect of the new technology (ability for a new type of derivative work) was fully considered in existing copyright legislation.

As far as the question of revenues drying up goes, I think that both types (1) and (2) would have to be covered by what Larry hints at towards the end of the article: a need to compensate for the impact of the new technology on actual revenue lost, and not for hypothetical loss dependent on the increase in value resulting from the innovation. Actually, I imagine differentiating between type 1 and 2 revenue sources would be at the center of such a dispute over compensation. But this approach is all wrong (though it’s certainly less wrong than extorting payment from tech-innovators). No payment should be made by the innovator even if he damages pre-innovation value. The cost of change should fall on everyone’s shoulders, not just those who effect it.

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By: Peter Rock http://www.lessig.org/2005/11/this-is-very-funny/#comment-18110 Thu, 10 Nov 2005 21:56:21 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/11/this_is_very_funny.html#comment-18110 Doug:

…I read his [Larry's] post to be a little unfair in painting a picture of copyright holders as bad, greedy, evil people

Bad? Greedy? Evil?

I read Larry’s post two more times in an effort to decipher your interpretation of his words. I can only guess that you are referring to the following remark -

…if the law gives them the power to extort…

Is it the word “extort” that you find a “little unfair”? Metaphorically speaking, it seems on the mark to me. After all, copyright already grants publishers/authors a dominative position over the public. It is obvious that a searchable database will only help copyright holders garnish more income.

So, if an entity in a position of artificially granted power – aided by an innovation disingenuously labeled as “harmful” – seeks “compensation”, what verb other than “extortion” would you consider to be a “fair” descriptor?

But of course, there is money to be made in fighting. Using common sense could negate a trial. The lawyers will surely line up their specters in order to challenge the fact that a searchable database will aid authors/publishers in their search for profit. For instance, the fear that a “hacker” will gain access to the database and leak the data to the public. But let’s be honest. What would be the end result if every book in the database was freely available? I don’t think any lawyer on the side of the Author’s Guild wants to look deeply at that question for it may mean doing the right thing instead of trying to score a big win for their client. Only the insane and delusional could believe that such a leak would actually hurt the profit mechanism of the printing press. But as the lawyers gag their conscience and throw all reason out the window, this will be one weapon used against Google.

If we were all interested in doing the right thing, there would be no “leak” – no “hack”. If we were all interested in doing the right thing – not what we desire as lawyers, publishers, google CEOs, or authors but as reasonable human beings – we’d rule (i.e. regulate) Google (and thus the publishers/authors indirectly) to place the information contained in the database under a non-commercial creative commons license.

This would solve the problems and books will still be sold.

But no no no no! That’s communist and anti-american to suggest such a thing! Fundamentally changing copyright law?! Peter Rock, are you insane? The constitution says “exclusive” rights!

Well yes, but the constitution also states that the purpose of copyright law is to benefit the public meaning “exclusive” no longer fulfills the purpose of copyright law in the digital age! Its latent oppression – through nobody’s fault – has surfaced in the face of technological advancement.

(The “binary” response) “You are suggesting the abolishment of copyright! Commie swine!

NO! That’s not what the creative commons is all about. The CC is the “immediate reaches” over the Causby land. It is the “Some Rights Reserved” that the CC clearly spells out. The CC is pointing directly toward a solution concerning our futile attempt at making the digital world conform to ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. How long will we continue to try and fit a square peg into a round hole?

America, do you realize what a blessing it is to have someone like Lawrence Lessig working in the area of copyright law? Do you have any idea what a revolutionary individual and group of people working at the CC your culture has produced? I can only hope Larry gets to see the day when the whole of human knowledge is free (as in speech, not beer) to do what is their natural right to do – access and share culture. Do him an historical favor before he’s 6-feet under – wake up and allow the latent potential of the CC philosophy to truly push forth the “progress of science and useful arts“.

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By: Joseph Pietro Riolo http://www.lessig.org/2005/11/this-is-very-funny/#comment-18109 Thu, 10 Nov 2005 14:42:10 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/11/this_is_very_funny.html#comment-18109 To Doug Lichtman:

I was arguing with your word “wrong”. How do you judge
that an action is wrong? It is well known that what is
wrong is not necessarily illegal, what is right is not
necessarily legal, what is wrong could be legal and what
is right could be illegal. From the perspective of
economy, how do you judge that an economic activity is
wrong (or right)?

When you asked a moral question, you are appealing to
everyone’s morality to provide an answer. I don’t think
that it is going to get us anywhere. It is far better
to ask more limited question such as “Is there any
economic rationality for copyright holders to earn a
share of the revenues via new technologies?”.

Joseph Pietro Riolo
<josephpietrojeungriolo@gmail.com>
<riolo@voicenet.com>

Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this
comment in the public domain.

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By: Doug Lichtman http://www.lessig.org/2005/11/this-is-very-funny/#comment-18108 Thu, 10 Nov 2005 13:34:42 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/11/this_is_very_funny.html#comment-18108 A few commenters have (helpfully) picked up on my comment from yesterday, so I wanted to say thank you, and also briefly respond.

Peter, your comment rightly suggests that we should separate two things: (1) cases where the new technology is itself the reason why some old revenue stream is dying; and (2) cases where the old revenue stream is dying just because old revenue streams grow old. I think the case in favor of allowing copyright holders to claim some share of the revenue in instance (1) is easy to articulate. Instance (2) is more complicated. We might want to give rights there, for instance if we think that old revenue streams predictably die and as such need to be replaced. I can also see arguments on the other side, for instance that by denying protectin in such cases we might encourage innovation of this sort. I want to think more about this. (How, for instance, should we have thought about movies derived from books, when that practice was first begun? If we assume that movies do not reduce book sales, we are in category (2); yet I think we all intuitively sign on with the idea of movie producers paying royalties to book authors, right?)

Joseph, I had a little more trouble following your argument, but regardless I think you emphasized one word I wrote (“moral”) and skipped over the several others, like “economic” and “legal”. I was trying to prod Larry to talk a little more fully about how the legal and economic issues play out here, because I read his post to be a little unfair in painting a picture of copyright holders as bad, greedy, evil people, thus making it too easy to ignore some serious concerns that might be raised on all sides. Hopefully we will someday have that fuller conversation — either here, or elsewhere, or at a settlement negotiation between the parties, or (worst case) in court.

In any event, many thanks for the discussion.

Doug Lichtman
Professor of Law
The University of Chicago

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By: Zubek Currimbhoy http://www.lessig.org/2005/11/this-is-very-funny/#comment-18107 Thu, 10 Nov 2005 03:11:53 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/11/this_is_very_funny.html#comment-18107 I’m in the process of writing an interest paper, and wonder if I am original in proposing a system of “Virtual Lending,” so to speak, as the legal justification for the Google Print project, attempting to globalize and democratize every written word. Introduced first in a single campus, such as Stanford, students will be able to download time-imited books, (sim to self-deletion software used by movielink.com) via a local proxy-server that checks for the availability of requested material in the local campus library and marks it ‘checked-out’ before finally routing the request to Google print.

Since the vast number of colleges in America are within the same WAN, it would make sense for all campus libraries to establish reciprocity, since tracking the movement of files would be far easier than on the entire internet; in addition, the introduction punitive measures making V-book piracy tantamount to petty theft and subject to fines and misdemeanor charges, will untimely lead to a tangible perception of digital value.

Stanford’s network, for example, already has a number of characteristics sufficient to prevent V-book-piracy. Current technology could allow books to be issued only onto the unique registered computers; or transferable only between the proxy-server and node ; or/and. corresponding to the SUNET login id? Ultimately, the WAN between academic institutions will extend to local libraries, and to similarly academic WAN’s throughout the world.

Of course, the only obvious drawback of a V-book is the necessary existence of a physical equivalent. While this system does not serve as a perfect solution, leaving questions of library membership issues, it would represent a major step towards the democratization of information, while still conforming to law.

I would be grateful to have your comments, or a point in the right direction in terms of reading material.

Zubek Currimbhoy

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By: Seth Finkelstein http://www.lessig.org/2005/11/this-is-very-funny/#comment-18106 Wed, 09 Nov 2005 23:47:19 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/11/this_is_very_funny.html#comment-18106 Count me as a concurrence with Doug Lichtman, with similar sentiments.

I’ll note my own thoughts:
http://sethf.com/infothought/blog/archives/000898.html

“… the technology company can’t be right every time, almost by definition. Because copyright as a limited monopoly fundamentally restricts innovation in some ways. That’s the trade-off.”

And elsewhere, a good read:
http://www.authorslawyer.com/weft/aggoogle.shtml
“Author’s Guild v. Google – A Skeptical Analysis”

I think this is a “symbol” case, more than a “black-letter law” case. People are arguing what the issues symbolize – which is understandable, since the law itself has no clear answer here, arguably is pretty much undefined.

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By: Joseph Pietro Riolo http://www.lessig.org/2005/11/this-is-very-funny/#comment-18105 Wed, 09 Nov 2005 22:10:17 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/11/this_is_very_funny.html#comment-18105 To Doug Lichtman:

You asked a very heavy question. How are we going to answer it? Which morality should we use as a standard to answer your question? What is right for a person may be wrong for other person. What is wrong for a person may be right for other person.

Your question also implies that the authors are not doing anything wrong. You know that this is not always true.

My answer to your question is unequivocally yes. The only reason why the authors want to have a share of the revenue that Google will get is greed. There is nothing honorable in greed. Once they get royalty from the first sale of their copies, that is enough for them. They don’t deserve any more royalty from subsequent sales and uses of their copies. They don’t deserve any share in the gain that results from high value in rare copies. They don’t deserve any share in the revenue that people receive from selling used copies. They don’t deserve any penny that people earn for rebinding worn-out books that subsequently increase their value. They don’t deserve any money that people earn for preserving art works that subsequently increase their value. They don’t deserve to reclaim any lost royalty that results from lending books.

With the copyright term increasing and the scope of copyright expanding, there is nothing becoming in what the authors want.

It is best to leave the emotional, subjective morality out of the picture.

We should instead examine the outcome. If there is evidence that what Google is doing is diminishing the creative output of the whole society, it is appropriate to reexamine the copyright system and see what is the best way to prevent creative output from declining. But, if there is no evidence that Google is diminishing the creative output of the whole society, don’t fix the copyright system.

Joseph Pietro Riolo
<josephpietrojeungriolo@gmail.com>
<riolo@voicenet.com>

Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this comment in the public domain.

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By: Peter Rock http://www.lessig.org/2005/11/this-is-very-funny/#comment-18104 Wed, 09 Nov 2005 20:55:32 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/11/this_is_very_funny.html#comment-18104 Thanks guerby.

To those who claim that $$$ motivation is necessary in order for authorship, composition, or invention to occur, I believe that view to be genuine and applicable.

But here’s the kicker…

It’s only applicable to those who claim it.

After all, how else is someone raised and conditioned to operate within systems of rewards and punishments going to view the world? What sorts of policies will one whose mindset is of this nature support and endorse?

For instance, as a teacher, I’m ashamed and embarrassed that there are educators out there who support disingenuous proposals like this. How anyone sees the merit (and misses the harm) in a quantified “performance-based” system of pay for teachers is beyond my comprehension. It’s so wrong on so many levels.

Why anyone thinks this will produce good teaching and good learning makes me shake my head in disbelief.

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By: guerby http://www.lessig.org/2005/11/this-is-very-funny/#comment-18103 Wed, 09 Nov 2005 19:48:50 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/11/this_is_very_funny.html#comment-18103 Some cookie for economists (citation from a slashdot article, I don’t have the book to check).

“Just to illustrate how great out ignorance of the optimum forms of
delimitation of various rights remains – despite our confidence in the
indispensability of the general institution of several property – a few
remarks about one particuilar form of property may be made. [Hayek then
introduces immatierial recently invented property rights invented as
example literary productions and technological inventions.]

“The difference between these and other kinds of property rights is
this: while ownership of material goods guides the user of scarce means
to their most important uses, in the case of immaterial goods such as
literary productions and technological inventions the ability to produce
them is also limited, yet once they have come into existence, they can
be indefinitely multiplied and can be made scarce only by law in order
to create an inducement to produce such ideas. Yet it is not obvious
that such forced scarcity is the most effective way to stimulate the
human creative process. I doubt whether there exists a single great work
of literature which we would not possess had the author been unable to
obtain an exclusive copyright for it; it seems to me that the case for
copyright must rest almost entirely on the circumstance that such
exceedingly useful works as encyclopaedias, dictionaries, textbooks and
other works of reference could not be produced if, once they existed,
they could freely be reproduced.

“Similarly, recurrent re-examinations of the problem have not
demonstrated that the obtainability of patents of invention actually
enhances the flow of new technical knowledge rather than leading to
wasteful concentration of research on problems whose solution in the
near future can be foreseen and where, in consequence of the law, anyone
who hits upon a solution a moment before the next gains the right to its
exclusive use for a prolonged period.”

The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism, 1988 (p. 35) Hayek

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By: Peter Kennard http://www.lessig.org/2005/11/this-is-very-funny/#comment-18102 Wed, 09 Nov 2005 18:31:02 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/11/this_is_very_funny.html#comment-18102 > Besides, is it so clearly wrong on policy, moral, or economic
> grounds for authors to want to continue to earn a share of the
> revenues derived from their work via new technologies? I
> would almost think that such transitions are necessary,
> given that old revenue streams die away as new
> technologies replace them.

Hmm – I think one concern publishers have is that they may want to offer the indexing service themselves at some later date and Google is appropriating this potential business simply because they have a tecnological lead.

I wonder whether Google might think of offering some form of index publishing “francise” (Peer search management nodes) where the publishers could have their own servers which could expose capabilities to Googles main “portal” and serve up the data and google can offer thier advertizing and give the “owner” some revenue for hosting the service?

I think this model would be much more palatable to the media industry than their current deals “give us high fidelity copies of all your content and leave the driving to us”.

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By: Dan Jacobsen http://www.lessig.org/2005/11/this-is-very-funny/#comment-18101 Wed, 09 Nov 2005 15:10:51 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/11/this_is_very_funny.html#comment-18101 “…of course the authors and publishers are better off with Google Print.”

Just to add a bit of validity to this: I am currently a college student, and since the instantiation of publicly accessible Google Print searches I have ordered four books from nearby Universities that I found on GP. I have never before used the school library for research material, and were it not for Google Print, I would never have found these books.

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By: Peter Rock http://www.lessig.org/2005/11/this-is-very-funny/#comment-18100 Wed, 09 Nov 2005 14:08:35 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/11/this_is_very_funny.html#comment-18100 Doug:

I would almost think that such transitions are necessary, given that old revenue streams die away as new technologies replace them.

I understand what you are saying here, but I’m not seeing the connection in this case. In this particular context, how will the “old revenue streams” that authors/publishers rely upon be “replaced”? I’m not seeing the “transition” here.

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By: Doug Lichtman http://www.lessig.org/2005/11/this-is-very-funny/#comment-18099 Wed, 09 Nov 2005 13:59:30 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/11/this_is_very_funny.html#comment-18099 Larry,

I’m not sure it’s right to say that “the publishers and Authors Guild simply want to tax the value created by Google Print.” To view the case that way is to close the door on a lot of the important substance, for example my worries that indexes like these will be vulnerable to hackers who might use them to gain access to (and distribute) millions of digital files.

Besides, is it so clearly wrong on policy, moral, or economic grounds for authors to want to continue to earn a share of the revenues derived from their work via new technologies? I would almost think that such transitions are necessary, given that old revenue streams die away as new technologies replace them.

Not trying to pick a fight on all this — you and I likely agree that having online search engines for books would be an amazing thing — but I think it’s important to talk through the reasonable concerns on both sides of this one, rather than painting the property rights holders as somehow acting in bad faith.

I said more on all this a few weeks ago at the Chicago Faculty Blog. I’ll put the link below for easy reference. It would be great to open a careful dialogue on this case. Indeed, maybe we can create a forum to really talk it through online, something like Picker’s Mobblog, or as part of podcast?

Link here:
http://uchicagolaw.typepad.com/faculty/2005/10/google_print.html

Warm regards,

Doug Lichtman
Professor of Law
The University of Chicago

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By: Neil Wehneman http://www.lessig.org/2005/11/this-is-very-funny/#comment-18098 Wed, 09 Nov 2005 13:39:55 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/11/this_is_very_funny.html#comment-18098 Here’s the link to DeLong’s post.

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By: Lessig http://www.lessig.org/2005/11/this-is-very-funny/#comment-18097 Wed, 09 Nov 2005 13:15:53 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/11/this_is_very_funny.html#comment-18097 Of course. And a CC license would work quite well in this context.

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By: Peter Rock http://www.lessig.org/2005/11/this-is-very-funny/#comment-18096 Wed, 09 Nov 2005 13:07:31 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/11/this_is_very_funny.html#comment-18096 Well said!

Although…

I don’t think Google has the right to scan copyrighted books from a library and serve full copies of those books to anyone in the world.

I think they do IF the books are under a license that reserves the right to declare non-commercial use, then I don’t see the problem with it. Such an arrangement would respect the public’s interests (i.e. the freedom to proliferate and share knowledge) as well as the author’s/publisher’s interests (the right to publish tangible copies sold for $$$).

My “commons sense” revolts at the idea of perfect control over distribution in the digital age.

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