Comments on: Rubin on Google Blog, news, books Tue, 10 Oct 2017 06:01:00 +0000 hourly 1 By: Jim Carlile Thu, 15 Mar 2007 05:29:05 +0000 I’m really amazed to find that so many people fail to see the huge distinction between “stealing” and infringement. The latter does not involve depriving someone of the use of their property, but the popular notion that it’s the same thing has infested most serious discussions of the issue, even here.

That’s sad, but I guess it’s symptomatic of our present culture, where everything is seen in unexamined terms of property and individual gain. It’s going to be quite a tough nut to crack, when concepts like “fair use” just seem a cheat to most people.

By: George Laughead Wed, 14 Mar 2007 10:00:21 +0000 How soon we forget the start of it, non-commercial, lots of volunteers, out-of-copyright or with permission. And all still on-line — but never millions of books…just important ones.

The first, pre-internet:
Project Gutenberg
Michael Hart 1971

The first full text on-line library (University of Kansas based, LYNX telnet when started), all volunteer:
that became
KanColl Kansas Collection
Dr. Lynn H. Nelson 1993

The first web directory of on-line books:
On-Line Books
John Mark Ockerbloom 1993

Lawrence, sorry about the spam on your site, by the way.
George WWW-VL: W3 Web Ethics

By: Una Smith Sun, 11 Mar 2007 01:29:26 +0000 Larry, akin to the issue of whether showing a snippet of text from a book plus an ad is or is not in the interests of the book’s copyright holder, I have always had a problem with another of Google’s envelope pushing practices. Namely, appropriating Usenet content, which Google acquired from Deja News. That has been borderline acceptable to the Usenet community because we liked Google’s archive function. But now with its new design of its Google Groups user interface, Google is pushing its own discussion groups and discouraging its own users from posting to Usenet. Google was a huge user (customer) of Usenet, and now is a competitor. Shades of Peter Drucker.

By the way, was Spring 2005 (at Yale) the first time you taught “The Law of Cyberspace”? Or just the first time you taught it in a lecture / team project format? Are you still using that format?

By: Joe Sat, 10 Mar 2007 03:39:11 +0000 @Three Blind Mice:

“playing by the rules of copyright … is taking the responsible route for business growth.

serious investors would be wise to recognize thís difference. “

YEAH! Think about that poor broke fsckers that invested in the last round of traditional copyright ignorers — like the ones that invested in Sony in the early 80′s! Or those dipsticks that bought Xerox in the 60′s and 70′s! Or the penniless fools that invested in the first phonographic record players and player pianos and radio broadcasters and cable networks and gutenberg-press-makers!

Those poor bastards should have been executed for violating copyright that way, and the people that invested in those doomed technologies that would’ve destroyed the publishing and music and video businesses, if we’d let them continue, got the bankruptcy they DESERVED!!!

What’s that? …

The DEVIL, you say!


P.S. — Congratulations, Professor, you now must OFFICIALLY be considered a threat to MS’s hegemony — I’ll bet you feel honored to have TWO paid employees of Microsoft watching so closely and posting here!

By: Joe Sat, 10 Mar 2007 03:26:47 +0000 @pb:

“Microsoft doesn’t pose this threat … Microsoft doesn’t need the whole pie.”


You are either:

a) 13 years old,
b) gullible, or
c) stupid.

(Could be all three, too, I suppose — or maybe “d) being paid by MS or one of its shill firms to type obviously-idiotic glowing comments about the company into blogs.” Comments that completely ignore that company’s past behavior and try to cast its competitors in the light of its own sins, I might add.)

Complaining about the risk of Google trampling and taking its partners share of the pie, and hoping for salvation from Microsoft indicates a seriously-flawed error in judgment.

By: pb Fri, 09 Mar 2007 20:29:14 +0000 The problem, Kate, is that Google is putting its gun against the publishing industry’s head, by digitizing each entire book without permission.

When it has all the books in the world, Google can then pull the trigger.

Google then becomes the publishing industry, and won’t be obliged to share a cent. The good Professor will then come along and tell them to be grateful for the traffic Google sends their way – just as he does today.

Microsoft doesn’t pose this threat, because it is co-operating with rights holders, and scanning selectively. Microsoft doesn’t need the whole pie.

Do you see the difference?

By: Kate Fri, 09 Mar 2007 14:25:13 +0000 This is an excellent example of the balance we need in copyright, and how we don’t have it. It the issue of whether information wants to be free, accessable or inaccessable.

I love what Google is doing by linking to book-resellers and libraries. I think that’s an excellent solution to the problem, and what is wrong with it? The information is accessable, but not necessarily free and it allows the distribution of knowledge.

By: ACS Thu, 08 Mar 2007 20:03:44 +0000 Ummm – I thought the real problem with Google book search was that it’s search engine checked digital copies of works that are reproduced without authorisation. Surely the mere presentation of a snippet (Negotiated down from an entire passage mind you) is protected under the US Fair Use provisions (Or the Fair Dealing provisions in Australia and the UK). I would have thought that neither Google nor Microsoft are complying strictly with copyright law unless they obtain authorisation to use works for the purpose of a search engine.

That is, however, a strictly legalistic view and maybe we should consider the wider policy of allowing the use of technology to access knowledge albeit subject to copyright protection.

By: three blind mice Thu, 08 Mar 2007 08:25:10 +0000 Well, Microsoft “respects” these copyright holders by not providing any access to their works. Google “respects” these copyright holders by providing “snippet access” — just enough to see a sentence or two around the words you’re searching for, and then links to actually get the book (either at a library, or from a book seller).

there is, of course, another way of looking at this. if we may paraphrase the professor’s comments:

well, microsoft respects these copyright holders – and indeed all copyright holders – by not making copies of copyrighted works without permission. period.

google shows no respect whatsoever for copyright holders by making complete copies of these works, making the complete text of this copy searchable, and then displaying a “snippet” of the work alongside paid advertising that supports google’s bottom line. (those “links” ain’t free professor.)

google is appropriating the works of others without permission for its own pecuniary interests. google is not providing a public service. on the contrary, google is a “for profit” business – just like microsoft.

the difference is that google’s (copyright infringing) business model is becoming malignant to its growth. microsoft, by playing by the rules of copyright instead of ignoring/circumventing/overturning copyright, is taking the responsible route for business growth.

serious investors would be wise to recognize thís difference.

By: Adam Thu, 08 Mar 2007 07:20:27 +0000 This figure of 75% of books are (no longer) in print but are still in copyright is suspect. I agree with much of what you say. But that is an unreliable statistic. See a very knowledgeable posting here:

BTW – by the same reasoning the Public Domain figure you give is also probably understated. That is a win for everybody!

By: Lessig Wed, 07 Mar 2007 14:06:39 +0000 Luis: Corrected. Thanks.

By: Mike Wed, 07 Mar 2007 13:49:54 +0000 Again, the doctrine of hostile possession remedies the situation (land being wasted) for real property. Could /is what goggle is doing (or could do) be considered “open and notorious”?

By: Luis Wed, 07 Mar 2007 13:12:33 +0000 Did you mean to say (3) ‘works in copyright but out of print’? or (3) ‘works in copyright but no longer available’ instead of ‘(3) works in copyright but no longer out of print.’?