Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

09/17/2012

Google, The Courts, The Authors and The Democratization of Knowledge


Google began a rather noble project about eight years ago originally called Google Print (now known as Google Books). This project’s intention was (and is) to establish the world’s largest digital library.

Google began with out-of-print books and later got into getting permission to digitize more current books still covered under copyright. Apparently, though, they screwed up in the way they went about the permission-getting and that started generating lawsuits. Trying to shortcut the system often results in a clusterfuck.

Enter publishing intrigue — And we love to delve into intrigue on this blog, no?

I believe the procedure used by Google to try to get more books digitized faster was by some rogue legal procedure/document that said the authors had to opt out of the project rather than to opt in individually. In other words, they assumed all were in and started digitizing desired books like crazy.

Google has already scanned 20 million books (apparently not complying with copyright law) and are being sued by numerous authors through the Authors Guild to the tune of $750 per book. WHOA, you do the math.

These juicy details provided by AP on Crain’s New York Business:

Federal judge delays Google case pending appeal

The case will be stalled while the court considers an appeal by Google in a legal battle over the search-engine giant’s project to create the world’s largest digital library.

 

A federal appeals judge agreed Monday to delay a court challenge to Google Inc.’s plans to create the world’s largest digital library while an appeals panel considers whether authors should receive class status.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan issued its one-page after the matter was raised with Circuit Judge Raymond J. Lohier Jr. The case will be stalled while the court considers an appeal by Google. According to the order, both sides agreed to the stay of district court proceedings before Circuit Judge Denny Chin, who began hearing the case seven years ago before he was elevated to the 2nd Circuit.

Judge Chin had granted class status in May, saying it was “more efficient and effective” for the authors to be considered as a class rather than suing individually. The Mountain View, Calif.-based Google asked to delay all proceedings pending its appeal. Judge Chin had refused to do so, saying a stay could delay proceedings for a year or more.

Lawyers on both sides did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Google already has scanned more than 20 million books for the project. The Authors Guild has said it is impractical…

Read and learn more

 

 

01/17/2012

Is SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) Good or Bad ?


Stop Online Piracy Or Not ? At What Cost ?

Truthfully … I’m confused and conflicted on this issue.

For a little background, this pro and con scenario is provided from Wikipedia:

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also known as House Bill 3261 or H.R. 3261, is a bill that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011, by House Judiciary Committee Chair Representative Lamar S. Smith (RTX) and a bipartisan group of 12 initial co-sponsors. The bill, if made law, would expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods.[2] Presented to the House Judiciary Committee, it builds on the similar PRO-IP Act of 2008 and the corresponding Senate bill, the PROTECT IP Act.[3]

The originally proposed bill would allow the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders, to seek court orders against websites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement. Depending on who makes the request, the court order could include barring online advertising networks and payment facilitators from doing business with the allegedly infringing website, barring search engines from linking to such sites, and requiring Internet service providers to block access to such sites. The bill would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content a crime, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison for ten such infringements within six months. The bill also gives immunity to Internet services that voluntarily take action against websites dedicated to infringement, while making liable for damages any copyright holder who knowingly misrepresents that a website is dedicated to infringement.[4]

Proponents of the bill say it protects the intellectual property market and corresponding industry, jobs and revenue, and is necessary to bolster enforcement of copyright laws, especially against foreign websites.[5] They cite examples such as Google’s $500 million settlement with the Department of Justice for its role in a scheme to target U.S. consumers with ads to illegally import prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies.[6]

Opponents say that it violates the First Amendment,[7] is Internet censorship,[8] will cripple the Internet,[9] and will threaten whistle-blowing and other free speech actions.[7][10] Opponents have initiated a number of protest actions, including petition drives, boycotts of companies that support the legislation, and planned service blackouts by English Wikipedia and major Internet companies scheduled to coincide with the next Congressional hearing on the matter.

The House Judiciary Committee held hearings on November 16 and December 15, 2011. The Committee was scheduled to continue debate in January 2012,[11] but on January 17 Chairman Smith said that “[d]ue to the Republican and Democratic retreats taking place over the next two weeks, markup of the Stop Online Piracy Act is expected to resume in February.”[12]

What do you think? Is striving for a more truthful Net going to result in censorship and restrictive business practices? Is censoring known untruths censorship at all?

Why can’t we provide an internet that respects copyrighted work and at the same time clears the way for easier and more fair business partnerships, etc.? 

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