RR-NYC Salon: Google Books Settlement Notes

[These notes are a stream of consciousness, typed very quickly, some names may be wrong or misspelled]--MJG
(Abbreviations: GBS (google books settlement), G (google), OW (orphaned works),
pubs (publishers) lib (library) )

* Everyone summarized what they were interested in discussing.

* Melissa: wondering if we should talk about technical and legal implications,
and what will happen in public libs, social implications.

* Laura: interested in tech perspective, radical publishing perspective,
wondering what will happen in libraries

* Amanda: there were few if any pro-settlement articles, more about specific

* Jenna: can someone explain in general before we analyze GBS from specific
perspectives ( tech, libraries, ordinary ) as RR we need to discuss why RR is
having this discussion try to keep the meeting fair -- Jenna will try to
moderate and not talk too much.

* Eric: saw people on both sides of the issue, some pro-GBS people had same
reasons to be for it as those who were against it, both sides used the same
arguments. One article broke it down to 6 categories

* Amanda: Read/discussed NYT piece. It lays out competition argument. MS, Y!,
Amazon, etc. don't like GBS for competition reasons ... article says or implies
G has a monopoly on distributing these works, Amanda wasn't clear on whether it
was an effective monopoly or an explicit monopoly.

* Laura: Wondering when google started scanning.

* others/Laura: 2003 they start scanning without regard to copyright. Public
domain stuff is not what we're concerned with necessarily, stuff published
before 1923, and all gov't docs, but google doesn't necessarily consider those
PD, because they only show excerpts. From 1923 onward, things that are not in
print but are still under copyright are the Orphan Works. Laura's
understanding is that G wants to assume that OW owners really want their works
seen by the public and the publishing industry disagrees, so the GBS is an
attempt to negotiate between those two positions.

* Amanda: one of the pieces of GBS is that it is a settlement to a class action
suit brought by pubs against G. -- why is it up to these publishers?

* John: Discussed/brought up book rights registry. OW are an issue not just
in digital works, but in all copyrighted works, esp. since Bono copyright laws
of 90s. Legal point that the article from the copyright office makes is that
GBS is settling the OW question through the courts, where copyright should be
the domain of the legislative branch not the judicial branch. OW bill was
working its way through congress, there was some hope that OW question would be

* Laura: Google hasn't been around long, something is scary about entrusting a
great public good in such a recently existing company

* Alycia: important thing for her is impact on libraries, remembers thinking
there was no outcry about libraries handing over books without any
consideration to copyright implications of the action. What will google do with
all this information?

* Jenna: pub lib. gets a google station (according to the GBS) and every
university gets one per 10,000 student

* Kate: what about JSTOR, there is panic among librarians about what will be the
next big thing, even if G is a good citizen, they're creating a precedent, and
a danger of having this in the hands of one company.

* Jim: What is google's announced plan, will they make it free online:

** Laura: depends, some things are online, public domain, gov't docs, otherwise
you get snippets with a few lines highlighted, and the "stations" would give
full access.

** Jill: if you're not at a terminal you can buy access to the books, 60% percent
(or so) would go to [??]

** Amanda: [re: special G terminals] you can't just download a pdf you can only read in some embedded tool.
this would violate the GPL for some works released under that license.

* Mel: maybe G will not be overly greedy, but what are the long term econ.
forecasts for G.. they could go out of business. If G goes out of business what
happens to all this stuff, it's still physically located on Gs servers, will
the data be lost?

* Kate: G brings up the issue of philanthropic organizations that are private but
are acting as quasi-public orgs

** Jill: it is said that the leader of a certain generation of companies is not
the leader of successive generations, leadership could change history shows
this happening often, they're not just a company but a publicly traded company
they cannot take "don't be evil" more seriously than fiduciary duty

* Alycia: having the labor of scanning in a private company keeping the methods
of scanning a secret is a huge issue, and for libraries to be participating in
this, has implications for the quality

* Jim: does the settlement somehow give exclusivity to G

** Jenna: has to do with contracts libs signed

** John: Open content alliance - different approach to a similar thing, their
objection to the OW settlement is that if they're not able to get immunity from
copyright for OW, american libraries project at internet archive, public domain
only, google's approach is to scan everything, John uses google books, the
American libraries project is more specific to libraries, the scanning center
is in NJ

* Nikki: wondering about the agreements, each library has a different agreement
about what they'll get, e.g. 10 or 20 years of some google service in exchange,
was confused about the GBS and stations.

** Jenna: not sure about the facts around the library kiosks/stations

** Laura: some libraries are giving everything to G, others just PD works. the
stations are a product of the current configuration of the GBS between G and

* Amanda: are the contracts superseded by the GBS?

** Laura: contracts have to do with what can be scanned, GBS has to do with what
they can display

* Jenna: public libraries get one terminal, Univs will get one per
10,000 students

** Mel: in the settlement it says one per branch,

Jenna suggests moving on to specifics.

* Jim: is there going to be a 50 dollar fee to authors?

** John: authors who have an out of print book, he's not sure, but to authors who
wrote OOP books, get $60

* Jenna: there are different lengths of copyright terms

* Laura: what about out of the US?

** Amanda: US copyright office brought up the int'l relations issue

* Jenna: can you opt out?

** Laura: yes, but you have to specifically opt out.

** Amanda: book rights registry is where you opt out.

** Mel: authors can choose to have their work available, but later opt out, you
can change your mind as the author, which is possibly bad for the library who
had a work.

** Laura: that already happens without the GBS

* Amanda: is everyone familiar with copyleft? one of the terms of CC license
(attribution share alike) you're obligated to redistribute the license with the
work one of the ways the G book repository works is that they assert rights
over the digital copies, you can't take it, if you take it you can't
redistribute it -- software freedom law center filed brief.

* Alycia: what about "stolen sharpie revolution"? is that copyleft?

** Amanda: if you're not explicit, you're the copyright owner, and can assert that
your license is not being interpreted correctly

* Mel: what about metadata, how does G compare to other content providers with
repsect to metadata?

** John: G books ties into MARC records somehow

** Mel: they use BISAC instead of Dewey? [ed: ??]

** Laura: there is some MARC interface but G doesn't care, because everyone just
gets everything from G search, but it makes librarian's lives more complicated

** Jenna: columbia catalog will integrate G books

* Kate: will people weed out things from physical collections that are in G books?

* Jill: G copies are pseudo archival, lower quality, effectively archival copies
that are not archival quality

Jenna suggests moving on to authors and publishers.

* Jim: just trying to get the basics

* Jenna: would autonomedia take G's money?

** Jim: we're not commercially viable, all volunteer, most if not all their books
are non-copyright or anti-copyright. pubs are trying to supplement $ with
ebook readers, or schemes for online access, does G have a plan other than just
making them available?

** John: when you use G books, it gives a snippet and points you to $ vendors
such as amazon, and also worldcat entry.

** Jim: this doesn't seem significantly different from amazon, where you can read

** Laura: amazon's thing is opt -in not opt-out, G is opt-out

* Jill: this lawsuit started as a copright issue about the scanning, but it
morphed into a profit making thing.

* Jim: is it a paid ad for amazon on google books?

* John: it amounts to a promotion of amazon, doesn't know what kind of deal

** Everyone: there must be a deal

* Jim: amazon has referral program

* Amanda: the concern about giving G explicitly the right to develop new and
different things that are not described yet, it's no longer about the original
issue which was the ability to do the scanning.

Laura: what about the radical perspective.

* Jenna: has anyone said this is wrong because G is a capitalist co. and
they're trying to make money off this.

* Mel: article asserting pub lib are about using info to further democracy, G
exists to sell ads

* Alycia: feels guilty about rejecting the suggestion G should participate, but
now in one of the articles she read, she doesn't want to tell them anything

* Laura: nothing makes radicals happy, we're not on the side of G or the pub
industry, or even pub. libraries. Wants to advocate for copyleft, an
alternative perspective that is not heard in most commentary.

* John: G has this don't be evil thing, he believes that they believe that and he
takes them at their word, but they're software guys who think this just sounded
like a cool thing to do, but is don't be evil scalable when they've got a huge
corp. operating in a capitalist milieu, there's a lot of tech optimist, silicon
valley hippie stuff that gets promoted but it's also DARPANET, the two sides of
the internet.

* Eric: that gets to the point that this is a private corporation, the internet
is what it is because it's built under public auspices, not controlled by a
single corporate entity, they can't be evil or not, they're not a person,
they'll do what their stockholders tell them

* John: as long as they're wildly profitable

* Nikki: I'm hoping for hackers to free the data

* Mel: part of the reason G became so massive is because it did something well,
people who don't know what a URL is are using it, regardless of whether G books
is used a lot, and if it is -- this mythical terminal for G books, will people
use it, when there's only one -- scholars vs. average person's understanding

* Kate: G will know what you're reading.

** Jenna: can you "scroogle" google books?

* Natalie: if people want the whole book, do the patrons have to pay to print?

* Mel: patron pays, money goes to book rights registry, but pub lib pays for

* Natalie: Maybe only librarians could use the terminal

* Jill: this will be like a microfilm reader, against the ethos of current info
access trends

** Mel: people practically won't use it

** Amanda: this is a way of avoiding not having to take down google books, the
role of the kiosk is to avoid taking down google books

* Alycia: what about print on demand, why not?

** Jill: pubs and G are trying to work something out, but libraries are not part
of the conversation.

* Amanda: why did the libs agree to this without better terms

* Alycia: there's something about the data that is lower quality

** Jill: they have the mapping of text to images, and the copies that libraries
get don't have that data

* Alycia: maybe we can talk about what we can do that might have some impact in
some way? Since this is not settled, G is trying to reconfigure

** Mel: isn't there something that is about to happen?

** Amanda: deadline for briefs has passed

** Jenna: fairness hearing date happened already?

* Laura: copyright official of US says GBS is an infringement of copyright, will
distract from good OW legislations that would benefit all users. One thing to
do is learning about OW legislations. Having scanned copies that we can search
that are not in our libraries would be great, and yet we don't really like the
way in which it's been done

* Jenna: last salon about OCLC and the fuss that that kicked up stopped it [ed: no idea what I typed here]

* Laura: does google do vanity searches and see Rad Ref meetings [ha ha]

* Kate: policy of position paper? ALA?

* Jim: of the class of OW, what percentage are works where authors are just not
reachable or deceased?

* John: owners have gone out of business, or whatever.

* Amanda: G owns USENET

[[ here my notetaking trails off as I am in shock about finding out that google owns the usenet archives]]