NYT – “France has caused plenty of headaches for Google. Its politicians have denounced the U.S. Internet giant as a cultural imperialist; its publishers have called it a copyright cheat. Yet France is suddenly the only country in the world in which Google has managed to achieve a longstanding business goal. A few days ago Google signed an agreement with the publisher Hachette Livre under which tens of thousands of French-language books will be pulled out of ink-on-paper purgatory and provided with a digital afterlife.”
ZDNet – “J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore effort has a new parter: Google Books. Google has announced that it will be working with Rowling and Pottermore to bring the Harry Potter eBooks to consumers via the open Google Books platform. Once the books are purchased via Pottermore, customers will be able to store them on Google Books or transfer them to compatible devices running the Google Books app. (In case you had forgotten, Pottermore will have exclusive selling privileges to the eBooks.)”
Globes – “A lawsuit has been filed against Google Books with the Jerusalem District Court, with a request to recognize it as a class-action lawsuit. The petitioner, Yonatan Brauner, the author of “Things you see from there” (in Hebrew), claims that the project infringes authors’ copyright “on the greatest scale in human history”.
Brauner claims that Google continuously scans, collects, copies, and makes publicly available millions of books, thereby grossly and systematically infringing copyright without first obtaining the authors’ consent. He said it was not yet possible to estimate the damage caused to authors because he lacks precise figures about the quantity of creations affected or the extent of the copyright infringement for each work, but he provisionally estimates the damage at “tens of millions of shekels or more”. “
WSJ – “The recent court ruling rejecting a settlement between Google Inc. (GOOG) and authors and publishers over the Internet giant’s effort to scan all the world’s books shows the need for Congress to take up the issue of mass digitization, the head of the U.S. Copyright Office said Tuesday.
Acting Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante said lawmakers should decide if creating digital copies of all books is in the country’s interest and whether it should just benefit the public or become a profitable enterprise.
“The first issue is really, is mass digitization a national goal that Congress feels legislation is warranted for, and if so, for what beneficiaries,” Pallante said at an event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.”
Mercury News – “Last month federal Judge Denny Chin rejected a settlement between Google (GOOG) and a group of authors and publishers, curtailing the Internet giant’s ambitious goal to digitize a vast collection of books. While the court’s decision is in line with U.S. copyright law, the plan to bring the works of the printed world to the online masses should still be an aspiration for our digital society.
Google’s dream originally envisioned by Larry Page, one of the company’s founders and soon to be chief executive, was to “unlock the wisdom imprisoned in the world’s out-of-print books.” The decision now leaves Google with the option to seek congressional legislation, a move that would open the realm of building digital libraries and publishing orphan works to all.
If Google’s intentions to bring the world’s knowledge to the masses are altruistic, then it would be the ultimate philanthropic move if it decided to partner with universities, foundations or with the Library of Congress to make the digitized library dream of its founder a reality.”
George Pike – “ast week’s rejection of the proposed settlement of the lawsuit between Google and a group of authors and publishers has thrown the future of the Google Book database into question. A federal court in New York declined to approve the settlement, recognizing that while there was a benefit to society from the widespread digitization of books, the proposal “simply went too far.” The court indicated that the settlement was a “forward-looking business arrangement” that would give Google too much power to exploit books at the expense of authors’ rights to control their copyrights.”
Inside Higher Ed – “The Google Books project has been put on ice, delaying what some academic librarians had hoped would be a watershed moment in the accessibility and searchability of digital texts. But a pair of library services scheduled to be announced today show that even as the world’s most high-profile digital search-and-retrieval effort has been set back, smaller, academically oriented projects are hoping to continue making electronic texts more discoverable.”
NYRB – “Judge Denny Chin’s opinion in rejecting the settlement between Google and the authors and publishers who sued it for infringement of their copyrights can be read as both as a map of wrong turns taken in the past and as an invitation to design a better route into the digital future. Extrapolating from the dense, 48-page text that accompanied the judge’s March 23 decision, it is possible to locate six crucial points where things went awry”
WP Op-Ed – “GOOGLE BOOKS is a dream project — a vast online database of millions of books from libraries and publishers worldwide. It would be a library and a bookstore, a compendium of everything written.”
But from the start it has raised difficult questions about who should profit. If every book ever written could be found online, readers and researchers would benefit. But what about authors and publishers or, as they are known these days, “content creators”? What part should they play?”
Chronicle of Higher Ed – “Tuesday, a federal judge tossed out the proposed settlement in the lawsuit over Google’s vast book-digitization project. Still, research libraries with a stake in that work said they were undeterred. They emphasized that widespread digital access is key to scholars’ work, and reiterated their commitment to making as much material available to as many people as possible, whether or not the settlement is revived in some form. And they said they hoped the ruling, by Judge Denny Chin, would galvanize efforts to solve the vexing problem of orphan works, which are under copyright but whose rights-holders are unknown or unfindable.”