1. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Author's Guild Case Against Google Dismissed

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Steerpike, Nov 16, 2013.

    The Judge, after considering Google's Fair Use defense, dismissed the case on those grounds. An interesting decision, and the latest in an eight-year battle. We will see how the Author's Guild does on appeal.

    This is also an example of a case where a court found Fair Use even though they acknowledged the commercial nature of the use, which is something that came up in another thread.

    LA Times story here: http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-google-wins-against-authors-suit-dismissed-20131114,0,3718940.story

    Actual decision, here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/6ndmugw443nz36w/google%20summary%20judgment%20final.pdf
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    At first glance, I don't like that Google won. But I guess I should read more about it before jumping to conclusions.
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I tend to side with Google. Best thing to do is to read the actual opinion and then decide whether or not you agree with the judge. Media reporting on court cases is often as bad as it is with respect to science papers :)
     
  4. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    When I began reading the opinion, and just reading the LA Times article, my first thought was that I couldn't believe that Google won. But, upon reading the rest of the opinion, at least at this point, I'm agreeing with Google. The fact that readers cannot obtain the whole book online, even though cobbling together various snippets, is, to me, dispositive. It seems to me that it only increases the availability of the books, and may very well encourage more people to actually purchase the book than would have been the case had they not been able to find the book via search. It does seem like a legitimate application of fair use, in that it enables people to find these books. (As well as the examples of research relating to the changing language over time, etc.)

    And although I would think that the authors should be happy in that they should see increased revenues from this endeavor, that is, of course, not relevant. But the fact remains that this does seem like an excellent tool for people overall to discover the books that are out there.
     
  5. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    I haven't read the case and I likely won't. Slowly but surely, creators of intellectual property, whatever it may be, are losing rights and income from those creations to big companies like Google. There is never a really big grab but rather a taking of small bites here and there until the artist falls and is devoured by the hyenas inflicting the damage. I've watched this happen to photographers and I see it happening to writers as well, Read This NYT Piece. Google has money and some of the smartest people in the world working for them. You can be sure that this decision has a small but long term negative effect on your ability to be successful.
     
  6. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, I think this is important. The funny thing is a lot of the reporting must not be making that clear, because I saw tons of posts on Google+ talking about how this decision would make millions of books fully available for free to readers. I'm not sure what case those people were reading, but it wasn't this one.
     
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    But you'll never the less make substantive commentary on the reach of the decision in your last sentence. That's a bit silly. If you haven't even read the case, why should we give any weight to your statement that we "can be sure" it will have a long term negative effect? You admitted you don't have enough knowledge to make that determination.
     
  8. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Shocking - just shocking that reporters aren't examining all of the facts and issues, let alone nuances of an issue. ;-)
     
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  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    It's almost as though they'd rather run sensational headlines than get the story right!
     
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  10. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    But in fact I do have enough experience to judge, having watched the general decline of creatives over the past couple of decades. File my analysis under the general banner of conspiracy theories if you like, but all I see is a decline in our ability to enforce ownerships of copyrighted works. i.e. we will find it harder and harder to make claims of misuse and abuse. Googles challenge is to make as much interesting content available, selling as many little banner ads as possible in the process, while not exposing themselves to expensive litigation.

    I forgot the adage that if its printed it must be true.
     
  11. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Fitzroy Zeph Although you raise a very valid point, and I agree with the lament in the NYT article you linked, this particular case does not really deal with quite the same issue. In the google case, google is using already published works, for which the writers have already received some manner of compensation (at least sufficient to the point that they agreed to the terms for the publication of their work). The issue is not one of asking writers to provide content for free, and thereby diminishing the value of their work. Rather, it is one related to the "fair use" exception to the copyright law. This particular use actually has the potential to increase the money received by the writer, in that it enables a google user seeking something that the writer has already produced, and provides a link to places where the user can go purchase the work.

    So, while your concern is valid, you really should read the opinion itself, so you can really determine whether you think google is doing something harmful or violative of the fair use doctrine. It is possible to believe that an entity is bad/evil/very dislikable, yet to recognize that some particular, specific action they took is not necessarily so.
     
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  12. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    O-righty, I read the article. My opinion has not changed though. Value in companies is derived in obvious and not so obvious ways. They have attained value by virtue of your work and you have not gotten two cents for it. They will say, and you can believe them, that your work gets out there. But really all that has happened, is another thin edge of the wedge has been placed which will inevitably allow the transition of more of your rights from you to them. Yes, yes, call me a pessimist, but unless something has changed, that is what will happen. Google is not evil, per se, it is just doing what companies have evolved into doing. And that is to attain value.
     

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