GOOGLE SETTLES SUIT.

I’m cautiously optimistic about this:

Google will pay $125 million to resolve claims by authors and publishers and to pay legal fees, as well as create a Book Rights Registry where copyright holders can register works to get a cut of Internet ad revenue and online book sales.
The agreement will also make many in-copyright, out-of-print books available for readers in the U.S. to search, preview and buy online. And instead of small snippets, copyright protected books will now have 20 percent of the content available for preview.
“What makes this settlement so powerful is that in addition to being able to find and preview books more easily, users will also be able to read them,” writes David Drummond, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development, and Chief Legal Officer of Google. “If a reader in the U.S. finds an in-copyright book through Google Book Search, he or she will be able to pay to see the entire book online.”

I’m perfectly prepared for it to make no difference in practice, but if it does—if I notice a substantial decrease in the number of times I hit the thrice-damned “snippet search” or, even worse, “No preview available”—it will be very good news indeed. (Via MetaFilter.)

Comments

  1. If I understand the agreement correctly, the agreement should reduce and perhaps even eliminate “snippet search” (for users in the USA) but it might actually increase “No preview available”.
    “No preview available” only ever applied if the publisher of the book specifically requested to Google that that none of the book be shown. See, for example, http://tinyurl.com/62b4kz
    I’d imagine that some publishers might now push for “No preview available” status for their out-of-print books, if the alternative would be giving them “Limited preview” status. For example, consider out-of-print editions of books that are currently in print. Publishers might not want the out-of-print version cannibalizing sales of the in-print edition.

  2. Either way it doesn’t do those of us outside the US much good, does it?

  3. “it will be very good news indeed”
    If one lives in the Benighted States, maybe. For the rest us, this announcement means sod all. Sorry, but this sort of US-centric behaviour REALLY gets my goat, especially since the US no longer supplies the majority of Internet users.

  4. marie-lucie says:

    If Google wants to have a global reach, it will make arrangements with other countries too. Look at Wikipedia with its long list of languages.

  5. A.J.P. Crown says:

    I guess they won’t have to pay out very much in China.

  6. The agreement shows that Google is ready and able to spend a pile of money and cut a deal, so you international users ought to go out and light a fire under your own copyright holders. But don’t blame me for the weird complications of international copyrights.
    And, for what it’s worth, I think this could become a very big deal, putting all sorts of out-of-print stuff back into circulation. I’m very for it.

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  8. Stuart,
    I expect that the agreement will be extended to other countries as soon as their publishers sign up to the necessary legal arrangements. As you’re probably aware, the Internet itself started as a “US-centric” effort that soon extended beyond the “Benighted States”. Maybe thinking about this precedent can give your goat some relief as you sod it with your sour grapes.

  9. Crown, A.J.P. says:

    I thought the internet started at CERN.

  10. DW, thanks for the superfluous lecture about (D)ARPAnet. The argument that the US should continue to dominate and control the Internet makes as much sense to me as does the idea that Schleswig-Holstein should regulate English since the Angles helped “invent” it.
    AJP, it was the WWW that started with Berners-Lee at CERN, I think.

  11. Crown, A.J.P. says:

    Schleswig-Holstein should regulate English
    Not a bad idea, we could turn the whole thing over to Sili.
    All I know is that in 1990 my friends at DESY, the particle accelerator in Hamburg, already had email and they were talking to people at CERN on their computers. The US wasn’t involved. But perhaps some American invented it. Probably John Emerson, it’s the kind of thing he might do.

  12. I suspect he invented the hamburger as well. He’s a slyboots, he is.

  13. John Emerson says:

    I did not invent the hamburger. When I go to Europe it is my plan to annoy as many Hamburgers, Wieners, and Frankfurters as possible with unfunny sandwich jokes. (For decades already they’ve been hearing unfunny Berliner jokes via JFK, even though these jokes are not really accurate.)
    Oddly, Hawai’i was named after a Sandwich too, for a time, but then PC forced us to use the indigenous names. The joke wouldn’t even be intelligible enough to annoy people.
    (Why? Because they’re there.)

  14. John Emerson says:

    I did not invent the hamburger. When I go to Europe it is my plan to annoy as many Hamburgers, Wieners, and Frankfurters as possible with unfunny sandwich jokes. (For decades already they’ve been hearing unfunny Berliner jokes via JFK, even though these jokes are not really accurate.)
    Oddly, Hawai’i was named after a Sandwich too, for a time, but then PC forced us to use the indigenous names. The joke wouldn’t even be intelligible enough to annoy people.
    (Why? Because they’re there.)

  15. I thought it was Al Gore invented the internet.

  16. A.J.P. Crown says:

    The joke wouldn’t even be intelligible enough to annoy people.
    Where there’s a will there’s a way.
    What about Hawaiian toast? The Toasted Sandwich Islands.

  17. Here’s a negative view of the deal from an economics viewpoint along with some interesting comments.
    http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2008/11/is-google-happy.html

  18. David Marjanović says:

    I thought it was Al Gore invented the internet.

    He introduced legislation for a lot of necessary financing that wouldn’t have happened in years otherwise.

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