October 2008 Archives

Google Settles with Publishers

Google announces that it settled with the Association of American Publishers, who sued the search engine company in 2005 over its plan to scan and index books that are still protected by copyright. Official Google Blog: New chapter for Google Book Search: "This agreement is truly groundbreaking in three ways. First, it will give readers digital access to millions of in-copyright books; second, it will create a new market for authors and publishers to sell their works; and third, it will further the efforts of our library partners to preserve and maintain their collections while making books more accessible to students, readers and academic researchers.

Here's the text of the Settlement Agreement

Joe Gratz has more details about the settlement, Settlement Reached in Authors Guild v. Google

And here are some collected reactions from around the web.

Professors and Practitioners:
Larry Lessig, On the Google Book Search agreement: "This is a good deal that could be the basis for something really fantastic. The Authors Guild and the American Association of Publishers have settled for terms that will assure greater access to these materials than would have been the case had Google prevailed."

James Grimmelmann, The Laboratorium: Author's Guild Settlement Insta-Blogging: "The result of the settlement will be to give Google a license to keep on doing what it’s doing, while allowing the authors to use their now-sharpened knives to sue anyone else who tries to do the same. At that point, of course, Google would be delighted for the authors to succeed, since it keeps the competition at bay."

Neil Netanel, Balkinization , Google Book Search Settlement: "So in many ways the proposed settlement is a win-win-win-win (for Google, the copyright holders, the libraries, and the public). But there are some causes for concern as well. Perhaps most importantly, the settlement leaves undecided the issue of whether Google's scanning of the entire books and display of snippets is a fair use. Many observers, including me, believed that the courts would ultimately hold that it is a fair use, and thus set important precedent establishing that such 'transformative uses' of copyrighted works -- uses that serve the shared goals of copyright and the First Amendment -- do not infringe copyright."

Mike Madison, On Google Book Search: " The proposal offers a new and larger set of questions, questions that have surrounded Google generally for some time but that the proposal puts into more concrete focus:  Are we seeing the early stages of the beginning of the end of copyright law as we know it?"

Susan Crawford, Google settlement: Changing Defaults: "Yesterday’s settlement agreement is remarkable in many ways.  It’s a proposed settlement of a civil, private lawsuit, but the agreement feels public.  It affects an entire industry, not just the parties concerned.  It sets up a new kind of special-purpose collective rights association (h.t. James Grimmelmann), like ASCAP or BMI.  Instead of Google acting to create access to a great library of books, it seems to point to the creation of a tremendous bookstore.  Perhaps that’s the same thing, but it’s worth thinking about the changed default settings that this arrangement creates."

Siva Vaidhyanathan, The Googlization of Everything, My initial take on the Google-publishers settlement: "this settlement, if it goes through, dodges that great copyright meltdown that I had feared. I did not want to see Google lose this suit in court. And I was confident it would. Google lawyers assured me that they were even more confident they would prevail. And they are smarter than I am. But clearly both sides saw real risk in continuing toward a courtroom showdown."

C.E. Petit, Scrivener's Error: "On balance, I think this settlement is not in anybody's best interests... but, as usual, the actual creators of content will be screwed most thoroughly."

Lobbying Groups:
Arts+Labs (Current members include AT&T, Viacom, NBC Universal, Cisco, Microsoft and the Songwriters Guild of America), Arts+Labs Statement on the Google Settlement with American Association of Publishers, "This settlement shows that creators' rights and consumer benefit can go hand-in-hand in the Internet age. It is a victory for consumers and creators alike. The agreement demonstrates that collaboration between the technology community and the creative community can give consumers access to a wealth of resources while also preserving copyright owners' right to control how their work is distributed online and to earn fair compensation for their creativity."

Patrick Ross, The Copyright Alliance, A Good Day for Authors: "It is refreshing to see we are finally where we should have been several years ago, developing a marketplace solution that allows copyright owners to grant access in return for compensation and allows those seeking access to written works to obtain it. I should also note that the libraries above participated in the talks and thus are presumably satisfied at the access this agreement gives to their patrons and others interested in access to works both copyrighted and public domain."

Reporters:
New York Times, Google Settles Suit Over Book-Scanning: "Google plans to take 37 percent of the revenue, leaving 63 percent for publishers and authors. If Google sells ads on pages where previews of scanned books appear, it will split the revenue on the same basis."

Chris Snyder, Wired, Google Settles Book-Scan Lawsuit, Everybody Wins: "Google's settlement of a three-year old lawsuit challenging its Book Search program, which scans books and make portions available online, creates a new revenue stream for authors and publishers (and itself) — but the financial benefits are dwarfed by the clear field the company now has to complete an ambitious program to create a global digital library."

Jessica Guynn, LA Times, Google settles copyright dispute with publishers and authors: "If approved by a Manhattan federal court judge next summer, the settlement has the potential to revolutionize the publishing industry by creating a giant online marketplace that would dramatically increase the volume of literature available to readers and researchers -- while compensating authors and publishers."

Rob Hof, Business Week, Google Settles Book Search Lawsuits with Authors, Publishers: "As a book lover, what I find the coolest thing about the deal is that eventually, I’ll be able to visit most any library and, using at least one terminal that will be set up at each library, view digital versions of these books for free (though I’ll have to pay to print out pages). It’s nice that all the sides managed to agree on something that is demonstrably a good thing for all of us."

Previously:

Old Advertising Characters Revived...

... for political satire.

NewTeeVee reports: Super Bowl Ads of Yore Revamped for '08 Election: "Now, with the election just a week away, we've come full circle with two more ads from Super Bowls past revamped for online political purposes. Office Linebacker 'Terrible' Terry Tate has returned to put the hurt on fools who don’t vote, while the 'Wassup' guys guys have suffered every great malady our nation has gone through over the last eight years."

Wall Street Journal, 'Whassup' Comes Out for Obama - WSJ.com: "The parody is raising eyebrows in ad circles, partly because Budweiser's maker, Anheuser-Busch, can't do much to stop it. In a departure from normal industry practice, neither Anheuser nor its ad firm, Omnicom Group's DDB Chicago, own the Whassup slogan or concept. Instead, the brewer paid Mr. Stone roughly $37,000 to license the idea for five years. That deal expired three years ago, says Mr. Stone, who appeared with his buddies in several of the Budweiser Whassup ads."

FMC Creative License

On Monday, October 6, the Future of Music Coalition is holding a session on sampling and licensing at the Public Theater here in NYC: Creative License. Preceding that event is a seminar on What's the Future for Musicians.