Google says plaintiffs haven't proved scanning books hurts sales

By on July 27, 2012, 3:30 PM

It appears Google has asked for a summary judgment regarding the legality of scanning books and posting them online via Google Books. Google defended its book-scanning project (formerly known as Google Library) on the basis of fair use, preserving those works, the advancement of public knowledge and even the benefits to rights holders. Google Books, according to the company, represents the biggest advancement in book cataloguing within the past 50 years. 

The service, which debuted in 2004, can search the full text of any book found within Google's virtual "library". In order to create this enormous, searchable index of books, the search giant has been transcribing physical volumes to digital formats for many years -- a truly monumental undertaking, regardless of its legality. Many of its original books came from public libraries.

Google believes firmly its use of literary works is covered under fair use -- a claim that delicately hinges on four primary considerations which essentially ask the following questions:

  • What is it?
  • How are you using it?
  • How much of it is being used?
  • What impact does this use have on its creators?

Interestingly, Google minimized the negative effects of its service on rights holders in its statement.

Plaintiffs have adduced no evidence that Google Books has displaced the sale of even a single book. A survey of authors has shown that the majority of authors approve of their inclusion in Google Books, and that the vast majority do not perceive any harm from such inclusion. Plaintiffs have adduced no evidence that returning search results, either with or without snippets of text, has any direct adverse economic effect on authors

Source: court filing, paidcontent.org

In fact, Google seems to believe that Google Books actually helps authors, publishers and others through improved discovery and promotion. Google points out that when users view the contents of a book in their digital library, they'll also see links to buy the full version.

William Morris [the world's largest literary agency] believes that inclusion in Google Books "is a fair use and not detrimental to the copyright owner in any way." William Morris holds this view because it "appears to be in an author’s best interest to have their work come up in a search through the database, just as website rankings are desirable in connection with Google searches. Additionally, Google Book Search currently lists, on the right of the screen, which distributors have the book for sale, along with a link for purchase."

Source: court filing

Google Books has repeatedly met opposition by authors and publishers who have criticized the company for its hubris, being accused of taking copyright laws into its own hands. Google's "opt-out" policy means that -- without consent -- authors and publishers have the entire content of their works uploaded by Google. The onus of having those works removed then falls upon rights holders who must contact Google, a fact which has upset The Authors Guild and its constituents.

It is expected that The Authors Guild will move ahead with its own summary judgment, in response to Google's. The Authors Guild original sued Google in 2005 over its book scanning efforts. The greener pastures of potential settlement delayed the lawsuit for a period of time, but that deal was quashed by the currently presiding judge.




User Comments: 16

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Tygerstrike said:

Wow Google is just as blind as half the ppl who post on TS. Thier logic is flawed. Just because they dont see the drop in revenue, Google that is, they do not agree that it actually exists. Perhaps the next time someone smells smoke they wont believe its a fire untill thier little bungholes get burned.

fimbles fimbles said:

Would be nice to finaly answer the " does piracy hurt sales" argument.

I also think its fair for google to ask this question.

1 person liked this | killeriii said:

Wow Google is just as blind as half the ppl who post on TS. Thier logic is flawed. Just because they dont see the drop in revenue, Google that is, they do not agree that it actually exists. Perhaps the next time someone smells smoke they wont believe its a fire untill thier little bungholes get burned.

I figure Googles got a little more insight on this than you. I'd say your logic is flawed.

When someone smells smoke...there's smoke.

Just cause someone has matches, doesn't mean you need to call the fire department..

Just because people could abuse fair use practices, doesn't mean they do.

1 person liked this | Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

Wow Google is just as blind as half the ppl who post on TS. Thier logic is flawed. Just because they dont see the drop in revenue, Google that is, they do not agree that it actually exists. Perhaps the next time someone smells smoke they wont believe its a fire untill thier little bungholes get burned.

Where is your proof? Not your opinion. If you want people to understand your argument, then you need to convince them with verifiable facts. Calling us "blind" without supporting data just makes you look like you have no idea what you are talking about. If you are here to troll, you aren't doing a very good job.

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

The article's title is grammatically incorrect. It should say "hasn't proven" instead of "haven't proved".

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

This is one of the "do no evil" google projects that I believe in. They are scanning so many pages, and for what? where is their evil in this? So... do a few rogue publishers get a few pages of their $450 books get made available for free? ok so that happens, then what is the harm? If you can't immediately say why they are in trouble because of what Google did then I'd say that publisher had a bad business model.

I have a degree in engineering management, an advanced degree even. Trying to push some legal action is a weak argument here ... Man, we all saw the writing on the wall as consumers.... Upper Management for various companies was blind to that, they screwed up, reap the results of your failures (upper man). Adolescents saw this coming, your (Circuit City, ect) arrogance caused your downfall.

2 people like this |
Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

The article's title is grammatically incorrect. It should say "hasn't proven" instead of "haven't proved".

No.

"plaintiffs" is plural so "have" *must* be used. "Has" cannot be used.

Even if you have a problem with "proved" instead of "proven" (a mostly British English vs. American English debate), suggesting "hasn't" is absolutely incorrect.

Another example of what you're suggesting is:

"Hawking believes scientists hasn't proven higgs boson exists" -- scientists is plural.

What I've used looks like this:

"Hawking believes scientists haven't proved higgs boson exists" -- scientists is plural. This sounds better, no?

As far as "proved" vs. "proven" goes, "proven" is considered less formal and typically used as an adjective by American English speakers. The two can be used interchangeably in most situations though, as some official sources will tell you.

For complex historical reasons, prove developed two past participles: proved and proven. Both are correct and can be used more or less interchangeably (this hasn?t been proved yet; this hasn?t been proven yet). In British English proved is more common, with the exception that proven is always used when the word is an adjective coming before the noun: a proven talent, not a proved talent.

[link]

I'll be the first to admit I make plenty of mistakes, but I don't think many people here find grammar snobbery very useful. Save your criticisms for when I *really* butcher the English language, an event which happens at least a few times each week.

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

No.

"plaintiffs" is plural so "have" *must* be used. "Has" cannot be used.

Not trying to be a snob. Just wanted to be useful, however I am obviously counter productive.

1 person liked this | Doctor John Doctor John said:

I agree with spydercanopus re. "proven"

It made me flinch a bit, too.

Tygerstrike said:

Ok I will break it down again...If the author and original publisher are having thier intellectual property, only available in book format, used,scanned,posted online. They lose out on the revenue that would normally be generated by the purchase of that book. As it was only previously available as a solid material item. We all know the human creature. Its is lazy. If they can get what they need w/o any real effort they will do so.

That means there is a more then likely chance, that given the choice of getting something for free instead of paying for it, they will take the free version.

By Google offering this information online, they effectivly take away the only revenue generating channel that the publisher had.

Its simple economics and logic......why is it so hard to understand? You dont really need someone to draw that much of a map do you?? The Internet is mankinds greatest invention, but its draw back can sometimes harm more then it helps.

TJGeezer said:

The article's title is grammatically incorrect. It should say "hasn't proven" instead of "haven't proved".

And where in the U.S. did you grow up, spydercanopus? In case you hadn't noticed, TechSpot goes by a British spell and grammar checker. So do people in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and various other places. There's even a barely detectable possibility that TechSpot isn't written in the U.S. at all. It's pretty mind-boggling.

Uh oh. I fell for a gag, didn't I...

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

The article's title is grammatically incorrect. It should say "hasn't proven" instead of "haven't proved".

And where in the U.S. did you grow up, spydercanopus?

Arkansas in the southern US. Redneck country.

There's even a barely detectable possibility that TechSpot isn't written in the U.S. at all. It's pretty mind-boggling.

I had no idea... If I knew this website was run by a bunch of brits I would never have come in the first place.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

I like google, but this is surely theft.

Doctor John Doctor John said:

I like google, but this is surely theft.

Absolutely!

Guest said:

the more books become part of an internet data base the more it could reduce the number of visitors to libraries and so on, since those libraries have no books that cannot now be accessed through this easier google index.

a lot of the old timers will see this great innovation and just freak out! (as usual)

Guest said:

Whatever google do is right, whatever we do is wrong.

can I bring this scanner xcanex to library and do my own scanning?

[video embed]

I would not damage the book BUT IT WILL DAMAGE SALE.

How about that?

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