I.
The Google Books Library Project
is an effort byGoogleto scan and makesearchable the collections of several major researchlibraries. The project, alongwith Google’s Partner Program, comprisesGoogle Books(formerly Google BookSearch). Along withbibliographicinformation, snippets of text from a book areoften viewable. If a book is out of copyrightand in the public domain, the book isfully available to read or to download.
Authors Guild sues Google over library projectThe Authors Guild on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against search engine Google,alleging that its scanning and digitizing of library books constitutes a "massive"copyright infringement.
 As part of itsGoogle Print Library Project, the company is working to scan all or parts of the book collections of the University of Michigan, Harvard University, StanfordUniversity, the New York Public Library and Oxford University. It intends to make thosetexts searchable on Google and to sell advertisements on the Web pages."This is a plain and brazen violation of copyright law," Nick Taylor, president of the NewYork-based Authors Guild, said in a statement about the lawsuit, which is seeking classaction status. "It's not up to Google or anyone other than the authors, the rightful ownersof these copyrights, to decide whether and how their works will be copied."In response, Google defended the program in acompany blog posting.
 
"We regret that this group chose to sue us over a program that will make millions of books more discoverable to the world--especially since any copyright holder canexclude their books from the program," wrote Susan Wojcicki, vice president of productmanagement. "Google respects copyright. The use we make of all the books we scanthrough the Library Project is fully consistent with both the fair use doctrine under U.S.copyright law and the principles underlying copyright law itself, which allow everythingfrom parodies to excerpts in book reviews."This Authors Guild lawsuit doesn't mark the first objection to the Google program. Other groups, including the Association of American University Presses,have also criticized it.Last month, Google said it wouldtemporarily haltits book scanning in the project inresponse to the criticisms. It said at the time that it also was making changes to itsGoogle Print Publisher Program, in which books are scanned at the request of thepublisher so people can view excerpts.The individual plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which seeks damages and an injunction to stopthe digitizing, are former New York Times editorial writer Herbert Mitgang, children'sauthor Betty Miles and Daniel Hoffman, the 1973-1974 Poet Laureate of the UnitedStates.The Authors Guild represents more than 8,000 authors and is the largest society of published writers in the United States.
 
http://news.cnet.com/Authors-Guild-sues-Google-over-library-project/2100-1030_3-5875384.htmlI was pleased to see the measured tone of the White House response to the citizenpetition aboutSOPA(Stop Online Piracy Act) andPIPA(PROTECT IP Act)and yet I found myself profoundly disturbed by something that seems to me to go to the root of the problem in Washington: the failure to correctly diagnose the problem we are tryingto solve, but instead to accept, seemingly uncritically, the claims of various interestgroups. The offending paragraph is as follows:"Let us be clear—online piracy is a real problem that harms the American economy, andthreatens jobs for significant numbers of middle class workers and hurts some of our nation's most creative and innovative companies and entrepreneurs. It harms everyonefrom struggling artists to production crews, and from startup social media companies tolarge movie studios. While we are strongly committed to the vigorous enforcement of intellectual property rights, existing tools are not strong enough to root out the worstonline pirates beyond our borders."In the entire discussion, I've seen no discussion of credible evidence of this economicharm. There's no question in my mind that piracy exists, that people around the worldare enjoying creative content without paying for it, and even that some criminals areprofiting by redistributing it. But is there actual economic harm?
 
In my experience at O'Reilly, the losses due to piracy are far outweighed by the benefitsof the free flow of information, which makes the world richer, and develops new marketsfor legitimate content. Most of the people who are downloading unauthorized copies of O'Reilly books would never have paid us for them anyway; meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of others are buying content from us, many of them in countries that we werenever able to do business with when our products were not available in digital form.History shows us, again and again, that frontiers are lawless places, but that as they getricher and more settled, they join in the rule of law. American publishing, now the largestpublishing industry in the world, began with piracy. (I have a post coming on that subjecton Monday.)Congress (and the White House) need to spend time thinking hard about how best togrow our economy - and that means being careful not to close off the frontier, or to harmthose trying to settle it, in order to protect those who want to remain safe at home.British publishers could have come to America in the 19th century; they chose not to,and as a result, we grew our own indigenous publishing industry, which relied at first, inno small part, on pirating British and European works.If the goal is really to support jobs and the American economy, internet "protectionism"is not the way to do it.
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