Friday, August 28, 2009

Google's One Million Books; Forbes, 8/28/09

Steve Pociask via Forbes; Google's One Million Books:

There is still major concern over Google's settlement with author and publisher groups.

"Imagine that your home and the homes of millions of your neighbors are burglarized. Now, say you catch the perpetrator and the case goes to trial. What would you expect--the return of all of your valuable possessions, stringent penalties for damages and jail time for the perpetrator? But instead, the judge agrees to a settlement that lets the perpetrator avoid any penalties, jail time or probation; he lets the perpetrator use the stolen contents for as long as he wants, provided he pays each victim a one-time fee per item; and, for those victims not knowing that their contents were stolen, the perpetrator can keep and use it, without any compensation or penalty at all. Would such a settlement seem fair?

While just an illustration, there are similarities to what is happening now in a court case involving online scanning and use of millions of books, which is in direct violation of copyright protections given to authors and, in this case, the Department of Justice has taken notice, as have a number of state attorneys general and the European Union's competition commission.

In the coming days, authors must decide whether to opt out of the settlement, and in the coming weeks Judge Denny Chin is likely to decide on a settlement involving copyright infringement claims against Google."

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