Thursday, September 17, 2009

Amazon Scoffs at Google’s Offer to Share Book Search Sales; Wired, 9/10/09

Ryan Singel, Wired; Amazon Scoffs at Google’s Offer to Share Book Search Sales:

"The Register of Copyrights Marybeth Peters went even further than Amazon, accusing the courts of usurping Congress and that the agreement made a “mockery of Article 1 of the Constitution.”

“Key parts of the settlement are fundamentally at odds with the law and impinge on the rights of authors,” Peters said.

In particular, the settlement lets Google do more with scanned books than just use them in search results and to sell them, making the settlement license overly broad.

Such licenses should be given out only by Congress, Peters argued.

But Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-California) said the deal should be approved, calling it a “rare truce in the copyright wars.”

Moreover, Congress was to blame for the whole mess anyhow, by failing to fix the orphan book issue in recent years.

Lofgren also suggested that Congress simply reduce the number of books still in copyright by repealing the 1998 Sony Bono Copyright Extension Act, which added extended copyright terms for 20 years, reportedly to keep Mickey Mouse from falling into the public domain.

Thanks to the act, no books will go into the public domain in the United States automatically until 2019."

1 comment:

JB said...

It is historically inaccurate to suggest that courts should not set copyright policy. An 1841 Massachusetts court developed the fair use doctrine. See Folsom v. Marsh, 9 F. Cas. 342 (C.C.D. Mass. 1841). Courts had been applying the fair use doctrine for many years when congress finally codified it in the Copyright Act of 1976 (17 U.S.C. § 107). Just as it is appropriate for congress to make laws regarding copyright policy, the courts also have an appropriate role in setting copyright policy when deciding cases involving copyright law.