Google lawsuit settled with publishers, Authors Guild still has an issue with intellectual property theft
“Google and major book publishers have settled a lengthy legal battle over digital copyrights, but a bigger dispute still looms with thousands of authors who allege that Google is illegally profiting from their works.
“The truce announced Thursday ends a federal lawsuit filed in 2005 by several members of the Association of American Publishers after Google Inc. began stockpiling its Internet search index with digital duplicates of books scanned from libraries.
“Google has maintained that its scanning is covered by fair-use provisions of copyright law, although it offered to remove specific books from its index upon request. It also showed only snippets of the copyrighted books unless permission was given to show more.
“Publishers and authors, however, insisted that Google needed explicit permission from them before making the digital copies, let alone showing even snippets of text from the books on Google’s website.
“Although the sparring over Google’s effort to create the world’s largest digital library appears to be over on one front, a lawsuit filed by the Authors Guild remains in the way of Google’s ambitious plans to digitize more than 130 million of books sitting on library shelves around the world.
“One of the biggest sticking points in the authors’ case revolves around the rights to millions of out-of-print books that are still protected by copyright but whose writers’ whereabouts are unknown.”
From Larry Neumeister’s article in The Washington Post, Google, US book publishers settle digital copyright tussle; legal battle with authors drags on
In-depth case background of Google data mining lawsuit
“Advances in computer technology combined with the availability of digital archives are allowing humanities scholars to do what biologists, physicists and economists have been doing for decades — analyse massive amounts of data. A far richer understanding of literature promises to emerge. For instance, large-scale quantitative projects are forcing scholars to reconsider how literary canons are formed and are showing the extent to which authors’ works are shaped by factors outside their own creative control, such as the period in which they lived, their gender and their nationality.
“Yet in the United States, legal action pursued by the Authors Guild, an advocacy group for writers, could bar scholars from studying as much as two-thirds of the literary record.
“In 2004, Google began scanning and digitizing books held in prominent US academic libraries such as those at Stanford University in California and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, to make these collections fully searchable. Currently, more than 20 million books, most of which are out of print, can be searched at Google Books (books.google.com). Unless a book’s copyright protection has expired, or the copyright owner has agreed to make the content freely available, the search engine displays just three-line ‘snippets’ from each book — enough to tell the searcher that the listed item is indeed what they are looking for. With the right tools, however, data from the full text can, in principle, be mined and used in large-scale analyses.
“In 2005, the Authors Guild, based in New York, with some 8,500 members including published authors, literary agents and lawyers, filed a class-action lawsuit claiming that Google’s scanning activity was a “massive copyright infringement”.
“In September last year, in a separate case, the Authors Guild sued several universities for participating in Google’s book-scanning project. As part of this case, known as Authors Guild v.HathiTrust, it is also pursing legal action against the HathiTrust Digital Library, a service that enables a large consortium of universities and research libraries to store, secure and search their digital collections using a shared infrastructure.
“Among the issues at the heart of this dispute is what researchers in the emerging field of digital humanities will be allowed to analyse: only public-domain books (mostly those published before 1923 in the United States), or all known literary works. The answer may define the future of the field.
“It is time for the US courts to recognize explicitly that, in the digital age, copying books for non-expressive purposes is not infringement.”
From Matthew L. Jockers, Matthew Sag and Jason Schultzs’ article in Nature, Digital archives: Don’t let copyright block data mining
State government sees value and opportunity with textbook digitation and open source access
“Governor Jerry Brown signed a monumental set of bills that create the nation’s first free online textbook library, an effort aimed at alleviating the burden of rising costs to students attending California’s public postsecondary institutions. California is now set to become the nation’s first state to create a digital textbook library free of charge for the state’s most popular college courses, says the 20 Million Minds Foundation.
“Both bills place California first in the nation among states to combat higher education’s growing price tag with open source software and Creative Commons open licenses so that students can access sophisticated tools and college-level information at no or low cost, allowing them to mitigate escalating college fee increases and save their money for student housing.
With the Governor’s signature, California is set to create a competitive “Request for Proposals” (RFP) process inviting faculty, publishers, and others to develop high quality digital open source textbooks and related courseware. The materials will be placed under a “Creative Commons” licensing structure that allows students and faculty free access, and allows instructors to create customized materials from these textbooks and other courseware. Materials must also meet the rigorous standards of college core curricula, and will be reviewed and approved by subject matter experts.
“At a time when the cost of attending California’s public colleges and universities is skyrocketing, Governor Jerry Brown recognized that by embracing our digital future with innovative technological advancements like open source textbooks we can save college students in California millions of dollars in escalating book costs,” said 20 Million Minds Foundation President Dean Florez. “
From The Weissman Report, California Governor Signs Free Digital College Textbook Bills
University of Illinois starts a Digital Archive project to store community created content
“The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) has a new way to manage its digital assets. The library at the 42,000-student university recently implemented a digital archive system to store and preserve intellectual property and digital content created by its students, faculty, and administrators.
“The system automatically creates two copies of each file to be stored in the repository—an archive master and a working master. One copy is stored in the main library cluster while the second file is kept in the engineering library. In the future, the system will create a third copy, which will be stored in a cloud drive.
“Dell’s storage platform manages the archive using metadata, which identifies files that need to be converted to new digital formats. The platform is designed to allow archivists to add capacity, as needed, so meet the university’s storage needs.
“With the transition from stacks and the Dewey Decimal system to bytes, clusters and metadata, academic libraries need a digital archiving strategy that addresses their immediate and future needs,” said John Mullen, vice president of education and state and local government at Dell, in the prepared statement. “The University of Illinois’ innovative and open approach to this challenge is a practical model for any university.”
From Kanoe Namahoe’s article on Campus Technology, U Illinois Creates Digital Repository With Open Source Software