• http://omegaage.com KirbyMeister

    corporations trying to keep themselves from being outmoded by punishing innovation
    is a special case of dinosaurs with shotguns shooting mammals
    that is destroying natural selection for your own gain

  • JoePub

    If it was still just “Google Print,” there’d be no need for a Debate.

  • http://darren-kruse.blogspot.com/ darren kruse

    for those of us that don’t live in {LA / the USA} is there any chance that this event will be taped and put up on the web ?

    this debate has global implications, and those of us on the other side of the big pond would like to stay on top of it..

    thanks.

  • http://blog.outer-court.com Philipp Lenssen

    In related news, a French publisher is suing Google Book Search:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/5052912.stm

  • http://omega-geek.blogspot.com Spook

    I’m still not entirely clear on just why Google felt the need to do Google Print in the manner that they did so. Sure, it goes into their idea of having all kinds of information in one place, but with how badly they’re pissing people off, maybe they should reconsider it?

    Or why not ask before posting stuff, instead of having to be told to take things down?

  • Josh Zeidner

    Professor Lessig, no comment on the CMP Media Web 2.0 copyright dispute?

  • http://www.thousandnights.com/ PeteVG

    Spooks wrote:

    I’m still not entirely clear on just why Google felt the need to do Google Print in the manner that they did so. Sure, it goes into their idea of having all kinds of information in one place, but with how badly they’re pissing people off, maybe they should reconsider it?

    Google doesn’t have to ask permission to do basically the same thing with web pages; it’s unclear to me why they would have to ask permission to do so with print media — especially since asking permission brings with it problems of scale that would seriously limit the scope and usefulness of the database …

    I attended the event on Monday. It was an engaging and lively evening — there are strong feelings on both sides; the reception afterwards was one of the few I have attended where pretty much every clump of people was engaged in passionate debate of one sort or another.

    I was surprised by the number of authors who came down on the AAP’s side of the argument, though I probably shouldn’t have been — the AAP’s “Google is stealing value from your work” argument carries a lot of emotional resonance for those whose valuable work we are talking about, which tends to get in the way of rational and practical thought.

    The main thing to keep in mind if you agree with the publishers is that, if Google has to ask permission before they put a book in their database, then every entry for which there is not a major publisher acting as a mass rights clearing house will require human time and research to clear the rights. Remember Yahoo before they got smart and stopped using humans to build and categorize their database? Said database was small, outdated, and often irrelevant. It would be a shame to see that happen to Google; there’s the potential for a really valuable tool here; I’m not sure why people are in such a rush to cripple it.

  • JoePub

    PeteVG, it should be unclear to you why some think permission is needed, unless you’ve ever had to take a long, boring look at an author’s contract with a traditional print publisher. I have, somewhat unfortunately, had to negotiate these types of contracts on behalf of publishing houses in the past, so let me try to explain the reasoning of some of the anti-Googlites:

    E-books rights are (now) generally treated as a subsidiary right that the publisher theoretically has to pay the author for. Other subsidiary rights include audio book rights, newspaper serialization rights, movie rights, translation rights, etc. Basically, any way you could possibly make money off the book other than just selling copies of the book in it’s native language.

    (Some publishing houses have semi-recently started treating e-book sales as print sales in their contracts, but this is a boring detail that makes this harder for me to explain, so please indulge me while I pretend it doesn’t exist for a moment.)

    In most cases, publishers acquire the E-book (and all other subsidiary) rights when they acquire print rights from the author in exchange for a share of any income from the further licensing of these right. If this, and author contracts in general, are actually fair or not is another discussion.

    Now, theoretically, Google’s project could be looked at as an attempt to “steal” the author’s E-book rights. The fact that Google only wants to use fair-use sized snippets would be considered irrelevant if you don’t think Google has the right to convert your book into E-book form in the first place because they haven’t acquired the right to do so.

    In my opinion, this is all largely irrelevant, since E-book sales are now and will likely remain somewhere between teenie-weeny and itsy-bitsy no matter what Google does.

    However, you shouldn’t be surprised “by the number of authors who came down on the AAP’s side.” While it’s understandable to assume that evil corporations are deluding poor, defenseless authors, their agents, their agent’s lawyers, etc. it ignores past conflict over similar issues. Various authors have been fighting with their publishers, Amazon, AOL, etc. over who controls the e-rights to their work for many years now. The fact that some would choose to fight with Google over it, too, was to be expected.

  • Gene McCallon

    Where does Lessig get 75% of the books involved in the library print project are under copyright and owners cannot be found (this is from a video presentation he did on the Google matter–I saw it at the LA Public Library debate)?

  • ACS

    Peter VG said:- Google doesn’t have to ask permission to do basically the same thing with web pages;

    Peter the problem is that Google do not do the same thing “legally speaking” with web pages. Web pages are communicated the the public free of charge. In this way there is no infringement by directing people to these pages.

    On the other hand books are communicated to the public in physical format which can only be produced by licence from the copyright owner.

    The equivalent situation is with secure web sites that require payment to view. If Google commenced giving out links to secure pages then they would be sued. This is the same as a book.

    Joe Pub says :- The fact that Google only wants to use fair-use sized snippets would be considered irrelevant if you don’t think Google has the right to convert your book into E-book form in the first place because they haven’t acquired the right to do so.

    This is absolutely correct. Why should Google get the free right to reproduce entire copies of a book for search purposes. The commercial gain of Google is not decreased just because they will only reproduce a snippet.

    Alex