Google Category

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Google and Publishers Settle Over Digital Books

As reported by the New York Times and other news outlets, the American Association of Publishers (AAP) and associated plaintiffs have reached a legal settlement with Google regarding its digitization effort, which makes books available in Google Books and HathiTrust.

The New York Times account is here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/05/technology/google-and-publishers-settle-over-digital-books.html

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Reforming Copyright

Pamela Samulelson writes about Google books, orphan works, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and the possibility of reforming copyright law in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

“ Copyright should be shorter in duration, more balanced, more comprehensible, and normatively closer to what members of the public think that it means or should mean.

Although we are not likely to get comprehensive reform anytime soon, perhaps we can persuade Congress to make some more modest reforms.

We know it is now possible for the cultural and scientific heritage of humankind to be made available through a universal digital library such as the DPLA. It would be a grievous mistake not to bring that future into being when it is so clearly within our grasp.”

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Authors certified as class in lawsuit against Google bookscanning project.

The  Chronicle of Higher Education reports that “Judge Denny Chin on Thursday denied the company’s requests to dismiss professional associations as plaintiffs, and granted a motion to accord members of the Authors Guild status as a class in the lawsuit brought by three of its members.”

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Google Book Settlement Information

Google has been in the news a lot, particularly regarding the Authors Guild anti-trust suit against the HathiTrust and several affiliated universities who have worked with Google to scan books.  Below is a list of articles (compiled by Nicki Saylor), lending background information on the Google Book Settlement, and some insights into the developments of the Authors Guild suit.  Continuing developments on this topic will be address in our blog.

As a service to faculty, other campus authors, and interested members of the UI community we have gathered some information related to the Google book settlement.

Recent Developments

Judge Rejects Settlement in Google Book Case, Saying It Goes Too Far (March 2011)
The proposed settlement in the long-standing class-action lawsuit over Google’s vast book-scanning project is dead, at least in its current form. In a ruling on Tuesday, the federal judge overseeing the case rejected the settlement, saying that it “would simply go too far,” even though “the digitization of books and the creation of a universal digital library would benefit many.” But he also urged the parties to consider revising the settlement, and suggested an approach that would deal with his major concerns.

Federal judge indicates he won’t rule today, as speakers argue for and against the revised settlement agreement (Feb. 18, 2010)
Eighteen parties spoke out against the revised Google Settlement before the lunch break today in a fairness hearing before U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Five spoke in favor. The speakers were limited to five minutes each, and generally either boiled down points made in previous submissions or responded to recently filed documents.

Hurtling Toward the Finish Line: Should the Google Books Settlement Be Approved? (Feb. 16, 2010)
Late last week, Google and the plaintiffs filed their final briefs in defense of the Google Books Amended Settlement Agreement (ASA) that is before the New York Southern Federal District Court. As the rhetoric around the Settlement heats up to white-hot intensity in the final days before the Fairness Hearing on February 18th, I’d like to offer a few personal thoughts from my vantage point at the California Digital Library.

The Google Book Settlement: Second Round Comments (Feb. 10, 2010)
Late last year, Google, the Author’s Guild, the American Association of Publishers, and the individual plaintiffs in the lawsuit over Google’s massive book digitization program negotiated several revisions to their original Proposed Settlement Agreement (original agreement). The revisions were designed to address concerns raised by the Department of Justice and other critics who advised the court to reject the original agreement.1 The deadline to file comments on the new Proposed Amended Settlement Agreement (amended agreement) was January 28, 2010. The Department of Justice filed its comments on Thursday, February 4, 2010. This document describes the second round of comments.

Justice Dept. Criticizes Latest Google Book Deal (Feb. 5, 2010)
In another blow to Google’s plan to create a giant digital library and bookstore, the Justice Department on Thursday said that a class-action settlement between the company and groups representing authors and publishers had significant legal problems, even after recent revisions.

Open access and the Google book settlement (Dec. 2, 2009)
Google and the groups suing it –the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers–released a revised version of their settlement agreement on November 13. Judge Denny Chin gave it preliminary approval six days later. …Many sharp eyes and sharp minds are looking at what the revised agreement says, how it differs from the original agreement of October 2008, how well it answers objections levelled against the original, and whether the preliminary approval ought to become final approval. I won’t do any of that here. I want to focus on the settlement’s implications for OA.

Judge Grants Preliminary Approval to Revised Google Book Settlement (Nov. 20, 2009)
The federal judge overseeing the Google Book Search case has given preliminary approval to the revised settlement submitted late last Friday by the parties to the lawsuit. The new version is “within the range of possible approval,” according to a court order issued yesterday.

Parties Submit New Proposal to Settle Google Book Search Litigation (Nov. 15, 2009)
Though they kept the world waiting until the last legal minute, the parties to the proposed Google Book Search settlement managed to meet their new November 13 deadline to file a revamped version with the federal judge overseeing the case. Google, the Authors Guild, and the Association of American Publishers submitted Settlement 2.0 close to midnight Eastern time on Friday. (Read more about the settlement on the Google Public Policy Blog.)

November 9 Is New Deadline for Revised Google Book Search Settlement (Oct. 7, 2009)
The parties to the Google Book Search settlement have agreed to deliver an amended agreement to the judge in the case by November 9, according to reports in The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and other media outlets.

Justice Department Wants Changes in Google Books Settlement (Sept. 21, 2009)
The U.S. Department of Justice has weighed in on the proposed Google Book Search settlement with authors and publishers, advising the federal court overseeing the case that the deal in its current form “does not meet the legal standards this court must apply.”

At Congressional Hearing, Register of Copyrights Slams Google Settlement (Sep. 11, 2009)
At a Congressional hearing, Marybeth Peters, Register of Copyrights, U.S. Copyright Office, testified forcefully, warning that key parts of the settlement “are fundamentally at odds with the law,” creating a compulsory license for Google that should be the domain of Congress, not the courts.

CIC Provosts File Letter With Court in Google Settlement (Sep. 8, 2009)
The CIC has been a Google digitization partner since 2007. Under the terms of the partnership, Google will digitize up to ten million volumes across the CIC universities. The CIC has filed a letter with the federal court of New York overseeing the proposed Google Book Search settlement.

Library Associations Submit Supplemental Filing, Call for Increased Oversight of Google Agreement (Sep. 2, 2009)
The American Library Association (ALA), the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) today submitted a supplemental filing with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York overseeing the proposed Google Book Search settlement to address developments that have occurred since the groups submitted their filing on May 4.

UC Academics Raise Major Concerns About Google Settlement (Aug. 20, 2009)
More than twenty University of California faculty members have written a letter to the court speaking on behalf of academic authors more interested in the public interest than in supporting themselves from their book revenues.

University of Michigan amends its agreement with Google (May 20, 2009)
The University of Michigan, one of the original participating libraries in the Google Book project, recently entered into an amended agreement that will govern the relationship between Google and Michigan if the proposed Google Book Search settlement is approved by the judge.

A Guide for the Perplexed Part III: The Amended Settlement Agreement (Nov. 30, 2009)
The American Library Association (ALA), the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) released a series of guides to help librarians better understand the revised terms of the Google Book Search Settlement. The first release was A Guide for the Perplexed: Libraries and the Google Library Project Settlement. As a follow up, a second document, “A Guide for the Perplexed Part II: The Amended Google-Michigan Agreement,” provides a concise description of the Google-Michigan amended terms. The third outlines the amended settlement agreement

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Authors’ Guild vs Hathi Trust et al–continuing developments

Statements and observations continued through the end of last week and beyond arising from the Authors’ Guild suit against Hathi Trust. Much of the focus centered on the orphans listed by Michigan that turned out not to be. Stories in Inside Higher Education and the Chronicle provide summaries and links to the various statements. Worth noting is Kevin Smith’s open letter to one author of a work shown not to be an orphan arguing that the best chance for this book to find readers today would be exposure in digital form in HathiTrust.

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Some observations on Authors’ Guild suit vs. HathiTrust

From Kenneth Crews, who notes regarding orphan works:

The complaint is about much more than just the orphan work initiative at HathiTrust, but orphan works receive ample attention.  Orphans seem to be emphasized in the complaint as an example of the expanded use of the digital files that HathiTrust is clearly willing to pursue.  For the libraries and users, that may be a good thing.  For the rightsholders in this complaint, it is far overreaching.  Moreover, the complaint cites the Google Books case and the failed efforts by Congress to enact orphan works law to argue that orphans need a legislative solution—not a private innovation.

See http://copyright.columbia.edu/copyright/2011/09/13/authors-copyright-and-hathitrust/ for the full item.

And from James Grimmelmann, who concludes:

The Orphan Wars are upon us, I fear. We might have hoped that they would be the Orphan Discussions, or perhaps the Orphan Debates, but no. The Orphan Wars it will be.

See http://laboratorium.net/archive/2011/09/12/the_orphan_wars 

 

 

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Authors’ group sues HathiTrust, Michigan and other universities.

From the September 13th Inside Higher Education:

The Authors Guild on Monday sued the HathiTrust (a consortium of universities) as well as Cornell and Indiana Universities and the Universities of California, Michigan and Wisconsin, charging widespread copyright violations. The universities and the trust have worked with Google on its project to digitize books (a project now on hold) and on a recent effort to release to their campus communities digitized copies of “orphan works” ….”

Iowa had been poised to join Michigan and others in making available “orphan works” which we held in print form to the campus.

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Lessig: “For the Love of Culture: Google, Copyright, and Our Future”

Lawrence Lessig published “For the Love of Culture: Google, Copyright, and Our Future” in The New Republic (Jan 26, 2010).

Excerpt:

There is much to praise in this settlement [Google Books Settlement]. Lawsuits are expensive and uncertain. They take years to resolve. The deal Google struck guaranteed the public more free access to free content than “fair use” would have done. Twenty percent is better than snippets, and a system that channels money to authors is going to be liked much more than a system that does not. (Not to mention that the deal is elegant and clever in ways that a contracts professor can only envy.)

Yet a wide range of companies, and a band of good souls, have now joined together to attack the Google settlement. Some charge antitrust violations. Some fear that Google will collect information about who reads what—violating reader privacy. And some just love the chance to battle this decade’s digital giant (including last decade’s digital giant, Microsoft). The main thrust in almost all of these attacks, however, misses the real reason to be concerned about the future that this settlement will build. For the problem here is not just antitrust; it is not just privacy; it is not even the power that this (enormously burdensome) free library will give this already dominant Internet company. Indeed, the problem with the Google settlement is not the settlement. It is the environment for culture that the settlement will cement.

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Google Starts Grant Program for Scholars of Digitized Books

From the Wired Campus (Chronicle of Higher Education), March 31, 2010

Even as a lawsuit over Google’s book-digitization project remains up in the air, the search giant has quietly started reaching out to universities in search of humanities scholars who are ready to roll up their sleeves and hit the virtual stacks.

The company is creating a “collaborative research program to explore the digital humanities using the Google Books corpus,” according to a call for proposals obtained by The Chronicle. Some of Google’s academic partners say the grant program marks the company’s first formal foray into supporting humanities text-mining research.

The call went out to a select group of scholars, offering up to $50,000 for one year. Google says it may choose to renew the grants for a second year. It is not clear whether anybody can apply for the money, or just the group that got the solicitation.

The effort seems largely focused on building tools to comb and improve Google’s digital library, whose book-search metadata—dates and other search-assisting information—one academic researcher calls a “train wreck.” These are some of the sample projects that Google lists in its call for proposals:

• Building software for tracking changes in language over time.

• Creating utilities to discover books and passages of interest to a particular discipline.

• Developing systems for crowd-sourced corrections to book data and metadata.

• The testing of a literary or historical hypothesis through innovative analysis of a book.

For more details of the program, read the full Chronicle story.

http://chronicle.com/article/Google-Starts-Grant-Program/64891/

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Google Books Settlement – updates

News updates on Google Books:

The American Library Association (ALA) Office for Information Technology Policy has launched Google Books Settlement.  It contains the settlement documents and a blog to track new developments and commentary. Included on the site is a 2 Page Super Simple Summary.

Librarian Opposes Google’s Library FeesAll Things Considered, NPR, February 21, 2009
Google wants to give you access to its huge database of scanned, out-of-print books, but the company is going to charge for it. Robert Darnton, head librarian at Harvard University, says the deal violates a basic American principle — that knowledge should be free and accessible to all. 

Rick Johnson, Free (or Fee) to All?Library Journal, December 23, 2008.
In 2004, when five libraries inked the first book-scanning agreements with Google, it seemed like the company was offering a public service. Google’s plan to digitize the great libraries of the world conjured images of a vast, freely accessible Internet public library, bringing together corporate capital and vast library collections, with the potential to carry knowledge off the shelf virtually into every home and workplace. In the course of Google’s effort to bring library collections to the web, however, something quite different than an Internet public library has emerged.

Francine Fialkoff, Google Deal or Rip-Off? Librarians need to protect the public interestLibrary Journal, December 15, 2008. 
An editorial.  Excerpt: One public access terminal per public library building. Institutional database subscriptions for academic and public libraries that secure once freely available material in a contractual lockbox, which librarians already know too well from costly e-journal and e-reference database deals. No remote access for public libraries without approval from the publisher/author Book Rights Registry, set up to administer the program. And no copying or pasting from that institutional database, though you can print pages for a fee.  Of course, you can always purchase the book, too.  Those are just a few of the choice tidbits from the 200-page settlement in the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and Authors Guild three-year-old suit against Google, drawn from Jonathan Band’s “Guide for the Perplexed: Libraries and the Google Library Project Settlement.”  Band’s report was commissioned by the American Library Association and the Association of Research Libraries….