Google Blogoscoped

Forum

Google Books Sued by French Publisher  (View post)

/pd [PersonRank 10]

Friday, June 9, 2006
11 years ago5,342 views

Not sure, but is google going against the the IPO and Copyright model .
Therefore, they are becoming the targets of litigation on Book Search ?

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

The copyright model includes fair use, right?

/pd [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

yes, correct "Fair Use" is certainly the way to go..but compnies are scared of what google can produce with imaging and search of books.

The only counter attack for publishers is to sue google. I think publishers should go to google and say, here's my book please put in books and if it gets downloaded or order, take a % of the buy!!

For e.g if you had a publisher for 55 ways, would you have not wanted your publisher to place on book search and if it gets downloaded at a cost, would you mind google making a buck or two ??

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

I absolutely want my book to be in book search, and as it's copyrighted under a Creative Commons license, Google also retains the right to fully publish it online. I'm not sure that's what happens, we'll see.

Mark Scholes [PersonRank 1]

11 years ago #

The reason most people don't buy a book is because they don't know it exists, Google fixes that

/pd [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

exactly the point Mark!!

PL :....and I have your book in my hands as I speak :)-

Daniel [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

Whether or not it's a mistake for them, UK publishers are almost universally anti Google Book Search. Mostly they don't understand that it's benign, but more importantly they just don't want there to be any chance of them losing control of their content.

The only way for Google to win this battle is to give the publishers something in return. Part of the deal with the library project is that libraries get a digital copy of every book Google scans. This isn't the case for publishers. I'm sure a lot of publishers could be persuaded by Book Search if they got a digital copy of every book they agreed could be fully indexed, and then they could exploit the digital file in whatever way they wanted, in conjuction or in competion with Google/Amazon/Yahoo/whoever else gets in on book scanning.

Even very large publishing conglomerates don't have their whole backlist digitally available, and they would save vast amounts of money if Google did their work for them. It would cost Google nothing, since they're doing the scanning anyway.

Tim [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

I just don't get statements like this: <i>After all Google Book Search just shows you bits and pieces unless the book publisher allows for more.</i>

First of all, Google copies the book in its entirety. So whether or not Google only shows <i>you</i> a snippet, it has already shown itself the full book.

Second, even if Google only shows <i>you</i> a snippet, it still shows the entire book to the entire world. It might only be a snippet at a time, but it still is offering the capacity to view the entire book. A good hacker might integrate this capability with a greasemonkey script and a P2P app, and dynamically reconstruct the entire book by aggregating the millions of users who each only view a snippet. Know what I mean?

Third, allowing Google to copy the book it its entirety sets the precedent for anyone else to copy the book in its entirety. What makes Google so special? If they can just walk into the library and copy a full book, then that means I can, too. As long as I don't share my copy with anyone else, or only share my copy one snippet at a time, I should be fine, right? Don't you see the danger of the precedent that they are setting?

elyk [PersonRank 6]

11 years ago #

>>Second, even if Google only shows <i>you</i> a snippet, it still shows the entire book to the entire world. It might only be a snippet at a time, but it still is offering the capacity to view the entire book. A good hacker might integrate this capability with a greasemonkey script and a P2P app, and dynamically reconstruct the entire book by aggregating the millions of users who each only view a snippet. Know what I mean?
That wouldn't work for the complete book...if I remember correctly google said something about how several pages of each book are inaccessible to anyone.

Tim [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

Elyk: Fine, strike that point from the list. It will be possible to reconstruct 98% of the book, but not the remaining 2%.

Even with that, Google is still setting a dangerous precedent that lets anyone, anywhere, make copies of any original book. Just walk into the library with a pocketful of dimes, and the book is yours. In its 100% entirety.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

> Just walk into the library with a pocketful of dimes, and the book is yours.

My local library actually gives me the book for free. I don't need a pocketful of dimes.

And of course I am allowed to scan the book I rented from the library, or bought from the bookstore, for personal use – why shouldn't I? Do you want to send police forces when I scan a book?

In fact, you yourself make a personal use copy of every website you visit online. It is not about *making copies*, it is about *republishing* copies. And here, fair use law applies.

Also see:
Lawrence Lessig: Is Google Book Search Fair Use? (Video)
lessig.org/blog/archives/00329 ...

Donzel Clement [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

I'm french and I can tell you that french publihers are not very open-minded concerning the copyright. The low is very strict (Maybe too). Google have to communicate in order to convince french publishers. Currently, the french book data base is too low to be relevant, pity :-(

Tim [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

Phillip,

No, your library does not give you the book for free. Your library lets you borrow the book for free. And for a limited time. And while the book is lent to you, the library cannot lend the book to anyone else.

Contrast that with the following scenario: A college professor is teaching a freshman course... say intro biology. Let's say the prof teaches five sections, for a total of about 200 students that semester. Traditionally, each student will have to go to the bookstore or online, and buy their book for the course.

Now, as a result of legal precedent set by Google Print, the following scenario becomes possible: The prof goes out and buys the book. And then donates it to the library. Then, one by one, each of the students go in to the library, copy the book in its entirety, and then go home and use the book all semester long. And never buy the book. No one sells their copies. No one does anything but use their copy for personal use. No one copies a copy.. all students copy the original.

According to you, this is 100% ok, 100% fair use. As you say, "And of course I am allowed to scan the book I rented [sic – borrowed for free] from the library...for personal use – why shouldn't I?"

Can you not see that this is a problem?

I've listened to Lessig many times in the past.. I've listened to hour-long podcasts from him, on this Google Print subject. I've never heard him say that full-text copying, in this manner, is fair use. And yet, that is essentially the precedent that Google Print opens up.

Tim [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

Sorry, I misspelled your name above. I mean, "Philipp".

In any case, you raise a good point with the website/personal use copying. As you say, "it is not about *making copies*, it is about *republishing* copies. And here, fair use law applies."

Fine. Let us run with that. By that definition, the original Napster facilitated non-fair uses of copyrighted mp3s. Because someone would rip an mp3 from their CD (fair use), but then by putting it online, they were republishing that copy (not fair use). Right? It wasn't the original copy that is the problem. It is the copy of the copy, correct? I think on this we are both in agreement.

Ok, so imagine now a service in which people swapped physical CDs. Something like, say, lala.com. A service where you trade actual disks. Not for money. Just a massive swap. Of course, what this now lets me do is receive a disk, rip it for myself, then swap it on to the next person... and KEEP my ripped mp3 even though I no longer own the disk.

Oh boy.. this is big. I imagine massive -legal- CD swapping networks starting to appear.

Why stop at CDs? Why not software? As long as my friend has an original disk, I can now LEGALLY (because of the precedent set by Google Print) make a full copy of that software. For my own personal use.

And heck, why not also videos? Want that new DVD, but don't want to pay for it? Just rent it at Blockbuster, and rip it. Oh, I am sure this already happens, all the time. But it is not quite legal. But now according to your and Google Print's arguments, this is now legal. Just as long as I do not republish my copy.

I hope for my own sake that you are right, because in that case I am never going to buy another piece of media again. But something tells me that this is not quite right. And if it is not quite right, then it is also not quite right for Google.

Remember, as you said, this isn't about copying, this is about republishing. If Google were to somehow obtain a legal copy of each of these books, then the manner in which they are going about searching and sharing snippets is perfectly legal and fair-use, and they don't need to obtain anyone's permission to do so.

But the part of the equation that is problematic is the manner in which they are obtaining the copies in the first place: Scanning books in their entirety and retaining the copies indefinitely. Doing that is the problematic part.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Tim:
> No one sells their copies. No one does anything but
> use their copy for personal use. No one copies a
> copy.. all students copy the original.

Which law prohibits me from making full personal-use copies of a book I rent from the library?
The only reason people won't copy full books is that it's more costly than just buying it.

Did you know that there are Creative Commons bestsellers out there today... i.e. books that are available online for free, and yet people buy them? Heck, I bought Lessig's Free Culture even though it's fully available on one of *my own* sites. authorama.com/free-culture-1.h ...

> Can you not see that this is a problem?

No, in what you describe, I can't see a problem.

Our school teachers *always* made copies from book pages so that they wouldn't need to make everyone buy the book. And when the full book was needed, then of course the book had to be bought, as making full copies would've been ridiculous.

> I've listened to Lessig many times in the past.. I've
> listened to hour-long podcasts from him, on this Google
> Print subject. I've never heard him say that full-text
> copying, in this manner, is fair use. And yet, that is
> essentially the precedent that Google Print opens up.

Lessig speaks about exactly this subject in the presentation I pointed to above...

> I imagine massive -legal- CD swapping networks starting to appear.

What, like hitflip.de ? That site alone has 50,000 different media articles to swap for users, from DVD to CD to computer games.

> Just rent it at Blockbuster, and rip it.

Yeah, I did that all the time as a kid and teen with tapes. I rented the music or audio tape from the library and then made a copy before I returned the music or audio tape. Whenever I started to like an artist (say, Frank Zappa), later – sometimes years later, as a kid's budget is limited – I would go out and buy more stuff in the shop.

Mostly, of course, you'd just skip the library and make tape copies of music directly from radio. That has never stopped me from buying music, in fact, I always ended up buying stuff from artists I learned to love from more or less free sources such as radio, library and so on.

/pd [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Classic rebutall ... :)-

> Can you not see that this is a problem?

No, in what you describe, I can't see a problem.

Tim [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

Ok, I'll go back and listen to that particular Lessig presentation. Could you at least point me to the rough spot in the 30 minutes where he talks about it?

My teachers also copied pages from books, to distribute to the whole class. That limited snippeting is indeed fair use. I wasn't talking about that. I was talking about copying the whole text.

Yes, hitflip is exactly the kind of service I was talking about. Trading media is fine. Trading media, and making a copy of every item that passes into your revolving door, is fine. Not deleting your copy once the item passes back out of your revolving door (i.e. you sell or trade the original), is the problem. But not deleting your copy is exactly what you and Google are proposing. But you say Lessig speaks to this issue? I'll go give it a listen.

And yeah, as a kid, I also copied from the library. We all did. That didn't make it legal. You say it is fair use to make a bit-for-bit copy of a DVD that you rented from Blockbuster? Are you serious?

Look, I am absolutely with Lessig when he talks about the wrongness of media companies trying to stifle fair use, whether through DRM or whatever. I just don't agree that making full copies of media that you do not own, or that you once owned and then sold or traded, is fair use. If you own the original, fine. So I agree with Lessig on the mp3.com case. But if not, no way.

Tim [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

pd writes: "No, in what you describe, I can't see a problem."

Ok, so I have got a great business idea. Would you like to form a partnership? I set up these kiosks inside grocery stores and other high-traffic areas. A kiosk contains 50 of the top-selling CDs. The actual, original CDs, that I purchase myself. I equip the kiosks with (1) disc-retriever/changer, for automated access and (2) a CD burner.

Part (1) is the library half of my kiosk. Part (2) is the user rental part. It works as follows: Someone comes along, sees the list of CDs in the kiosk, and selects one. They enter into an agreement whereby the rent the CD-burner from me, and buy a CD-R from me. The CD-changer half of the kiosk then "lends" that original disc to the consumer. Internally to the machine, the borrowed CD gets transfered over to the CD-burner, which the user has rented for the purpose of making a personal copy.

The copy gets made, the disc spat out to the consumer, and the borrowed CD returned to my internal library. All for, say, $2, which goes straight into my pocket. No royalties are paid to anyone, because the consumer is just making a personal copy of a disc that they borrowed from my library. I am not charging them $2 for the access to the copyrighted music. No way. I am charging $2 for the rental of the CD-burner and for the CD-R disc. What they do with it is their business.

So this is all perfectly legal, thanks to Google.

Still see no problem with this? Ok, I know your answer. You don't.

Tim [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

Ok, I gave the Lessig presentation a listen. The full 30 minutes. I think the part you are talking about is between about minutes 14 to 18.

It seems like the crux of his argument is based on the Kelly vs. Arribasoft case. In that case, the judge ruled that it was ok to make indexing "thumbnails" of full images, because the original copyrighted work had been reduced and transformed, and the original NOT STORED by Arribasoft...but instead only linked to. To quote Lessig from this presentation:

"And so too could you argue that here too, Google is protected by fair use. Because what Google is doing here is also producing a transformation of the original copyrighted work. That transformation produces a reduced image in some sense of the original copyrighted work. So again here are the snippets that Google displays as a way of giving you access to the original copyrighted work."

But my issue is not how many transformed snippets that you show to others. It is how much Google retains for itself. Yes I agree: the book index itself is a transformative work, and covered by fair use. Yes I agree: the snippets you show to others are, snippet-per-snippet, transformative and therefore covered by fair use.

But in order to create the index you have to make a full copy of the book. And in order to show snippets, you have to store that full copy, so that you can serve out the right pieces at the right times to the right queries.

Lessig also says that "there was no effort to copy the original image and store that under either either the Arribasoft case or the Google case."

But is this true? Google really does not store the scans? Is Lessig SURE about this? Because from what I've heard, Google does retain the scans. They give one copy back to the libraries, and retain one copy for themselves in case they ever need to rebuild the index (and so that they can serve up all the various snippets).

This is essentially the crux of my argument. If Google does not store the scans (which I thought I remember reading that they did), then everything I am saying here falls apart. Which is fine because then I can go build my $2 music CD kiosk, Google be praised. But if Google is storing the scans, then I think Google has a problem. Copying and storing is NOT a transformative activity. The Kelly vs. Arribasoft case is not applicable to these copying and storing portions of Google's activities, and Lessig's arguments don't quite work.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

> But in order to create the index you have to
> make a full copy of the book. And in order to
> show snippets, you have to store that full copy,
> so that you can serve out the right pieces at
> the right times to the right queries.

Exactly the same as what happens with web search: Google makes a full "private" copy to be able to do a full-text search and then republishes "fair use" snippets on search results – Google Cache aside, 'cause I never understood how that is lawful by current standards, not that I mind or anything – and voila, humanity benefits, webmasters get more traffic, etc. etc.

Tim [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

Well, I don't think you can make this analogy at all, because I think there are completely different publication models between text published on the web, and text published for sale to a library. On the web, the author -intended- the full text to be readable, for free, by anyone in the world, all at the same time. In a library, the author -intended- the full text to be readable for free, by anyone in the world, but only one person at a time. That makes a huge difference in the "market consequences" of fair use, which is one of the four considerations.

(see this: law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/us ...)

If you take something that was intended for serial, one-at-a-time use and suddenly turn it into something that anyone in the world can copy and cache/store, for simultaneous use, you are vastly changing the nature of the market. And this is what Google does. By being allowed to make a cache copy for itself, it effectively opens the door to anyone in the world being allowed to make a cache copy.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

To get back to Google Book search, which this thread was about: authors care being read by many people (maybe changing the world for better) while making money from the book, not about "serial reading vs simultaneous reading". If Google Book Search promotes their book and they can be read more and sell more, it's all for the better. Google Books only republishes *fair use* portions, so it's not at all a replacement for the book.

Tim [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

We never left the topic of book search. Everything I've said above is core to this issue. I don't like saying the following, because semi-anonymous blog posts have a tendency toward the inflammatory. So please take this as non-inflammatorily as possible:

But you so don't get it.

Who cares what Google republishes. The issue is Google's redefining of the rules about what a non-owner of a media object is allowed to *copy* and *store*.

Because if Google can copy and store anything, then I can copy and store anything. Then anyone can copy and store anything. And that has nothing to do with whatever snippets Google is or is not showing.

Let me try this one more time. Long post coming up...

(By the way, if this is getting tedious for you, I'll stop commenting. Please just let me know. But I feel a need to be vocal, because I've found that most people do not understand the subtle ramifications of this. They only ever think "Google only shows snippets", when again that is not the problem or the point.)

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

> The issue is Google's redefining of the rules
> about what a non-owner of a media object is allowed
> to *copy* and *store*.

Nah. This is hardly about Google. The whole digital age forces us to redefine the rules by which we copy and republish. So far, it's going in the wrong direction – as consumers of media, we have less powers than back in the 80s (I could easily make copies of tapes/ VHS, and now I can't even share the MP3 I bought on iTunes with my girlfriend).

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

And yes, it would help if you stop posting anonymously.

Tim [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

So what we've got is that, thanks the supposed legality of Google's copy and store, and all the fair use arguments from Lessig, we all now have the right to cache anything and everything that passes through our lives. Anything we come into contact with. Because what makes Google so special, that only it can copy, index, and store? Can't I run my own, personal, "TimSearch" engine? Think Microsoft's "stuff I've seen" project.

So I guess this does indeed mean that I can LEGALLY copy any book I can get my hands on (whether or not I own it). Any CD I've ever physically come into contact with, any DVD, any piece of software. Even if I own none of them. Who needs Google spreadsheets and word processor, when I can now just legally "cache" myself a copy of Office 2003 from work? This means that I can walk into any movie theatre, or any broadway play, with a camcorder, and record the show. Because after all I'm just caching it, and not displaying (republishing) it to others.

You said earlier that it is too expensive for students to copy books. Not so. You've not bought a book in a while, and seen how expensive they are? Take a look at Googler Peter Norvig's famous AI book...pretty much a standard in college Comp Sci classes around the country. Amazon has it for $91, eleven dollars off the regular $102. The book itself is about 900 pages long. Assuming we get the cheaper price, that works out to cost of 10 cents per page.

On the other hand, if I were to photocopy the book, it would be much cheaper. A nice Google ad (apologies to the person I just clickfrauded.. I have no intention of buying) just told me that you can get B&W photocopies for 2 cents each. 900 pages x $0.02/page = $18.

Which version would you buy? The $91 or the $18? Especially since, thanks to Google, the $18 version is now 100% legal.

And if YOU, Philipp, would really buy the $91 version, because you wanted something nice to put on your shelf, would you really also do the same with ALL your other textbooks? Your Freshman Biology 101 (required course, and you're totally not into it) text? Your medieval philosophy elective course? I'll bet not. I'll bet you go with the $18 version. For most of your books. That is going to shrink the market.

You might argue that the market is already shrunk, because students buy and sell used books all the time. True, but irrelevant. For every text that gets swapped, someone had to buy it, originally. If there are 30 people in the class this year, then there were 30 people, at some point in the past, that bought the book new.

On the other hand, with this new Google-inspired scheme, we can do the following. We create a co-op with 30 other students, and all buy the book together. Once. (That was my point earlier about the serial vs. parallel.. but I digress...)

Then, we hire a 3rd party service to do the copying of this book for each of us, individually. This would be like paying someone at Kinko's to run the photocopier for you, or Google paying a contractor to run the book scanner for them. So it'll cost maybe another $7 for the contractor labor, bringing the total to $25. This is still much cheaper than even the Amazon used price of $42. AND the original book only got bought once, not 30 times. Imagine taking hit in sales, and only selling 1/30th as many items as you did before. And that's just for classes with 30 people. What happens when its an intro Freshman class, and has hundreds of students spread across multiple sections? Across multiple universities? What happens when all students, across the nation, band together (via Facebook?) in a mighty co-op, and only buy one copy of the textbook, for the whole country? And then they all just hire a contractor to make each of them a personal cache copy.

You see a brave new world in all this. Good of humanity. Peter Norvig's website will get a lot more traffic. I see a pandora's box that Google has just opened. Norvig's website might get a lot of traffic, but nobody is going to buy Norvig's original book anymore, when they can legally get the $18 or $25 version. Thank you, Google, for setting the precedent.

I agree with you that searching and snippetting are very good things. I agree with you that searching and snippeting will drive traffic. But because Google has now opened the door to anyone being allowed to self-cache, it will drive traffic to $18-25 photocopied version, rather than to the $91 Peter Norvig original version.

Three cheers for innovation.

Tim [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

You write:
> So far, it's going in the wrong direction – as consumers of media, we have
> less powers than back in the 80s (I could easily make copies of
> tapes/VHS, and now I can't even share the MP3 I bought on iTunes with
> my girlfriend).

I wholeheartedly agree! DRM is evil. I'm with you there. Completely.

But while DRM is going in the wrong direction, Google takes too far of a step in the opposite wrong direction. It is one thing to share your mp3 with your girlfriend. It is another thing to share it with anyone, anywhere, anyhow. Yet this is what Google is (by example, via the cache/scan/store) saying we all can now do. The entire U.S. freshman class of 2006, across all campuses in the country, now only has to buy one original copy of a Biology 101 textbook.

It just blows my mind that folks don't see a problem with that. I will agree again.. DRM is not the solution. But neither is a cache/scan/store free-for-all.

Ok, I'm done posting. Unless you specifically have a question for me or a comment you want me to answer, I won't post again.

Anonymous or not, these thoughts should stand for themselves. And thanks for not being inflammed :-)

All the best.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

> Norvig's website might get a lot of traffic,
> but nobody is going to buy Norvig's original
> book anymore, when they can legally get the
> $18 or $25 version.

Huh?? I don't get it. Google Book Search doesn't allow you to make printouts of full books (not for normally copyrighted books anyway). You get fair-use snippets, that's all, and if you like the book you still have to buy it.

Somehow, you're trying to construct an argument that Book Search is bad for authors. Well, I am an author, and I actively push my book "55 Ways..." into Google Books hoping that it can find new readers there. I'm even allowing Google Book Search to fully republish my book – I don't know if they do that, but that's my CC license – knowing that people prefer to have a book than to read something on the screen. (I also prefer to buy a book than to fully print out – I optimized my Authorama.com site for easy print outs and *yet* I bought Lessig's book after starting to like the first chapter.)

As for filming movies, nobody even *cares* about going into a cinema with a videocamera and making lo-quality screenshots – *unless* it's a professional business background somewhere, and that *always* includes republication, as opposed to personal use. Heck, taking a camera and filming a movie... that's the price of the movie ticket, 1+ hour of work, a crap quality DVD I'll never watch again, and I also ruined the movie experience. For personal use, people much prefer to simply buy the DVD.

But maybe we ought to bring this back to something more realistic: VHS taping of movies on TV. By your standards, that *already* opened a big "Pandora's box" of making legal cache copies. Did it hurt the film industry? No! People still go into the cinema, and people still bought and rented VHS. Or, to something else more realistic, also from the 80s: making full tape copies of music from the radio. Did that open a Pandora's box? No! People even passed on the tapes to friends, who could make more copies. But people still bought music, and the artist's still got paid!

> Ok, I'm done posting. Unless you specifically
> have a question for me or a comment you want me
> to answer, I won't post again.

I don't have any question Tim, and thanks for the discussion :)

Tim [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

Drat, here I am, already breaking my promise not to post again. But I'll be quick. I can see from your confusion that I really did a poor job explaining myself (I'll blame myself this time, rather than blame you :-) I still see that I was unable to help you differentiate between Google Book Search, the service itself, and the precedent that GBS sets.

Just to clarify, what I was trying to argue was that the GBS precedent, rather than GBS itself, essentially allows legal sale in the U.S. of full-quality pirated DVDs, and full-quality pirated books, from China. Is this good? Is this bad? We could argue that in a different thread. But my point was simply to say that the GBS precedent now makes it legal.

I know you're going to do a double take and say "huh? you didn't argue that!" But I did. I just didn't do it very well. I could do this much easier with 5 minutes in person and a whiteboard. Blogs are not the right medium, sometimes.

Anyway, even though I am chomping at the bit to argue about why vhs and radio taping are not analogous to GBS caching, I promised no more discussion. I just wanted to clarify the earlier arguments. You're welcome for the discussion, and again, all the best.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Those who pirate DVDs and sell them make money by republishing the whole work. So, I simply can't see how Google Book Search sets a precedent in that area.

Tim [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

Three steps:

(1) You've already said above that, when it comes to borrowing from the library and/or renting from Blockbuster, you see no problem with making a personal GBS-like "cache" for yourself, of the whole work. You "did that all the time as a kid and teen with tapes".

(2) You probably also agree that paying someone at Kinkos to run the photocopy machine for you ("I need 400 copies of this by Tuesday, please") is not illegal.

(3) So all the "pirates" have to do is position themselves as a library, or as a Blockbuster-like rental center, by legally buying a single copy of the original work. And then also set themselves up as a for-hire reproduction service, like a Kinkos. You contact the "pirates" directly, and tell them which dvds you'd like to "check out" of their library. Then, independently, you hire them a la Kinkos to copy for you the dvds that you just checked out. Ba-da-bing, the "cached" version is yours. Legally. Because you are the one commissioning the fair use personal cache copy.
----

When you pay the "pirates", you are not paying them to republished the work. That would be illegal. No, instead you are paying them, as your contractor, to do caching of media that you just check out, just like Google would pay its book scanners.

Do you see the analogy to GBS? Stanford library "lends" Google a book, and then Google pays someone (typically a contractor) to scan it for them, so that Google can keep/cache a copy for themselves.

This is exactly like the dvd scenario above. The "pirates" "lend" you a dvd, and then you pay someone (the "pirates") to scan it for you, so you can keep/cache a copy for yourself. Google formalizes this process, and establishes the end-to-end precedent, tying the whole flow together. Google paves the way for anyone else come along and do the same thing.

So long as you only show "snippets" of your dvd to other people, and do not share it further, you will be following the exact same pattern as Google.

But who cares if you can't show snippets of your dvd cache copy to anyone else, when everyone else can now also hire these contractors to make them their own personal cache copy, also for $3.

Do you not see that this has nothing to do with how much of a snippet Google does or does not show? That is why I responded again, when I promised I wouldn't, because even after all my examples you're still thinking it has something to do with how much Google is showing. Nope.

I don't expect you to agree that this predecent is dangerous. I just don't think I've helped you understand the argument. Does it makes sense yet (whether or not you agree with it)? I don't know how many more ways I can explain it. I've given you the CD grocery store example, the college textbook example, and now the DVD example.

Tim [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

Oh, and just in case it sounds too infeasible for the "pirates" to set themselves up as a library or as a Blockbuster rental store, because they might not be able to secure some sort of necessary licence, then this same scenario also works if they set themselves up as a media trading company, a la Hitflip.de (as we discussed earlier).

In that case, all you have to do is physically mail them one dvd that you own. You hire them to be your custodian of that dvd. But you still own it. Then, when you see another dvd that you want, that they own, you authorize a trade. Once you now own their dvd, you then authorize them to "Google-book-scanitize" that dvd for you, as discussed above. In other words, you authorize them to make a personal cache copy of your own (newly traded-for) dvd for you.

Then, you have them mail you that copy. At the very end, you authorize them to reverse the swap, and trade your dvd back for theirs. They remain the custodians of your physical dvd, the entire time.

Thanks to Google Book Search's cache precedent, you do not have to delete your cache copy, once you no longer own the original dvd. (Just like Google does not delete their book scan, after they return the book to Stanford library).

In this manner, I can build a huge dvd collection, for only the price that the "pirate" company charges for "kinkoitizing" (copying/caching) and shipping.

Thank you Google Book Search.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Yes, I understand what you're saying Tim – your argument is that Google's full copying of a rented book isn't "fair use" because Google doesn't destroy the copy when it gives back the book.... so that ultimately everyone can build up an empire of free copies by going to the library. I think that's exactly the (unfortunate) reasoning behind DRM... that you ought not retain a copy once you "give back" the media or lose its usage right.

But I say if there's a law against making personal copies if you don't hold the work – I'm not a lawyer, I don't know – then the law needs to adjust itself to reality, and adjust itself to benefitting the creator of a work (and as a bonus, the consumers of the works).

Artists whose songs are played on radio, even though everyone can copy the song and retain the copy after the show ended, do benefit from exposure. I as an author benefit from gettig into Google Book Search. Citizens benefit from libraries, and my library made copies of bestsellers to meet synchronous demand, so I don't buy into the "serial sharing" argument (books I wanted were almost always available). All webmasters benefit from being Google-indexable, even though Google retains a full copy of the website on their server. That's the reality we're facing – the Pandora's box is wide open since a couple of decades, and it turns out we're all benefitting.

Tim [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

Phew, yes! I think from your first paragraph above we've finally reached an understanding.

The problem is even more acute than everyone building up an empire of free copies by going to the library. It is the fact that, through this GBS precedent, I now no longer even have to go to the library. I can hire a 3rd party contractor to (essentially) go to the library for me. And, through hitflip.de, anyone can be a library. Thus I can just order any perfect-copy media object, from someone who is not the creator of the work (as described above). If GBS is indeed legal, then legally I can get picture-perfect versions of Norvig's AI book, or of the new LOTR trilogy dvds, etc. without a single penny or farthing ever going to the creator. And at prices no doubt much less than market. I don't think -that- particular Pandora's box has been open for decades, as you say. Not legally, at least.

You say exposure is great for artists. In general, I think that is true. But in specific, exposure is only good if that exposure guides or directs consumers to some product or service for which money can be exchanged between the consumer and the artist. The GBS precedent makes it possible to cut out the artist completely, and never have to pay the artist for a perfect copy of their work, beyond one person in the entire world that bought the initial seed copy (you need to have at least one "genuine" version, to seed the hitflip.de "library", in order for this all to work).

I suppose that this would not be that much worse than the current music industry practice.. in which the record labels intercede and essentially suck up most of that money anyway.. and cause very little of it to go to the artist. I'm not saying the system isn't already broken. I'm just saying that GBS ain't the cure :-)

So you're right.. the law needs to be changed so that creators do get compensated. And so that citizens have full fair use rights, at the same time.

However, until the law actually changes, I don't think what Google is doing falls within the law. Whether or not it should fall within the law.. that is the topic of a whole new thread. But I still don't think the way that they're going about this is legal. Now, if Google were to actually BUY every single book that they only showed snippets of, then I think they would be fully in the clear.

Remember, though, no matter what the law is, I still think DRM is evil. DRM is the vigilante of the digital world. It is the job of the government to uphold and carry out the law. But the vigilante takes the law into his own hands. And in our society, where we are ruled by law, the vigilante has no place. DRM tries to be that vigilante, enforcing what it thinks the law is (and trampling on our fair use rights at the same time). And that is just wrong. DRM needs to go away.

As far as the "serial sharing" argument, I don't think I fully explained that one very well, either. But we can save that for another day. Have a good weekend.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

> So you're right.. the law needs to be changed
> so that creators do get compensated.

I didn't say that... creators already get compensated even through seemingly "free" sharing, due to the added exposure. As I said, I went to the library as kid and rented music, which I then tape-copied if I liked it and listened to after I returned the original tape to the library – and I later ended up buying the same artist in a store as adult. It's just more convenient. Google Book Search explicitly puts book shop links on their results, so anything you construct as "precedent" out of this disregards the actual use & market of Google's scanning. And that's why I said if there's no law to protect this use & market, then there needs to be one.

> I still think DRM is evil.

Yeah, we seem to agree on something ;)

I'll try to get a statement from Lawrence Lessig specifically for your book scanning argument, and will post an update here in case. Nice weekend to you too!

Tim [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

You didn't say that? I must have misunderstood. What did you mean, then, when you wrote above:

"But I say if there's a law against making personal copies if you don't hold the work...then the law needs to adjust itself to reality, and adjust itself to benefitting the creator of a work" ([Up] blogoscoped.com/forum/38528.ht ...)

Did you mean that the law needs to change, so as to allow anyone to make personal copies of any sort of media that they do not own, and that this process of making the personal copy will automatically benefit the creator? I had interpreted what you said differently.. I thought you meant that, if we were to change the law so as to allow anyone to make personal copies, that we also need to include provisions that guarantee that the creator benefits. But you think those benefits are going to be automatic and inherent in the process itself, and thus do not need to be explicitly legislated?

And again, I understand where you are going with your example about library taping leading to later purchasing. I just don't believe it, because my whole point is that when it comes time to actually buy the full, non-hissy, digitally perfect version, if you had the choice between the $18 original label version, and the $5 "legally pirated" (by which I mean, "personal cache", as explained above) version, you're going to go with the latter. Especially since the "cache" version is in no wise degraded...it is not an mp3.. it is a full 44 kHz PCM digital copy. With liner notes and album art.

And even if you, Philipp, still go with the $18 version, I don't think that 93% of the rest of the adult population will. So exposure really doesn't necessarily benefit the artist. Especially if the artist no longer tours, and cannot make money that way (e.g. the Beatles. I think they actually stopped touring before they put out their last 2-3 albums.)

Yes, please try and get a statement from Lessig on the book scanning argument. There is actually one more component to my argument that I haven't yet discussed, because we haven't gotten far enough along for it to actually come up. It is just now starting to become topical. It relates directly to your statement "so anything you construct as 'precedent' out of this disregards the actual use & market of Google's scanning." There is a "use & market" scenario for each "personal cache" copy, too, and we haven't talked about this at all yet. If Lessig brings this up, I'd be happy to fill in that last piece of the puzzle, and show how it truly is an analogous precedent that Google is setting.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

(No, when I said "the law needs to adjust itself to reality" then I mean that *if* there's a law against this kind of copying we discuss, then the law should be removed, just so the law is up to typical 21st century usage. Maybe the law should be emphasizing that "if the original authors do not get hurt commercially by the copying, it is fair use" or "if the republication is fair use, then private copies can be of any length." See, I don't know if there already are such laws. Lessig also in his presentation says fair use law is already taking the actual market in account, but I don't know if that applies to what we're discussing.)

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Here is Mr. Lessig's answer on the question "Is it OK to scan a book you get from a library, and then keep the scanned copy when [you] return the book to the library?"

<<It depends what you do with the scan. If you use it to read the book, or to keep as a reference ot go back and read the book whenever you want, then that's not a fair use. But if you use it to build an index of what you've read (so, e.g., you could search on your computer and a list of books that you've read relevant to the search is produced) that would be fine. In my view, everything hangs upon the use, not upon the completely accidental fact of whether you've produced a scan or not.>>

Tim [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

Thank you for asking. And thanks to Mr. Lessig for his prompt reply.

I still see lots of problems.

First, it sounds like what you and I did as kids was not fair use, and was against the law. No library taping (and keeping anything but the title and an index) is allowed. I'm not saying we don't all do it. I'm just saying it ain't legal.

Second, if this is true, then Google doesn't actually follow the law, either! Google not only keeps the titles and its index, it also keeps the full scan. And then constantly re-references that scan! Again, let me make clear that I agree with both you and Lessig that re-serving of snippets, by itself, is not necessarily a breach of fair use. But there is a difference between re-serving something that you own, and something you don't own.

If you own it, then snippeting is fine. If Google had bought the book, fine. But what Google is doing is snippeting something that they scanned from the library. And the process of snippeting itself is a form of re-reading or at least re-referencing. In response to a user's request, Google goes back, time and time again, to their non-deleted library scan, "reads/references" the relevant section, and then serves it to the user. And Lessig said this re-referencing is not fair use.

So it sounds like, in order for Google Book Search to be in line with fair use, they need to throw away their scans after they index them. Not because it is illegal to show snippets. But because it is illegal to keep that book as a reference, which is obviously what they are doing. You get what I mean?

Finally, Lessig says that it is not ok to use the scan to read the book. But it is ok to use the scan to build an index. So my return question: Is there any difference between an automatic index and a manual index? Legally, I don't think there is. Which means that I can create the index by reading the book and then manually assigning keywords! Or watching the movie! Or consuming whatever media object it is. Just as long as I index it. My index doesn't necessarily have to be comprehensive. I just have to index it in some manner, and that opens the door to me being allowed to consume the media object.

Think there is no precedent for this? Think manual indexing just started with Web 2.0 and "tagging"? Not a chance. Manual indexing goes back, in the field of information retrieval, at least 40 years. Professionals in the field have acknowledged for decades that manual indexing is an appropriate first step for building a search system. So who is to say that, for MY retrieval system, I cannot manually index?

So it seems like we are back to our old scenario, with one additional requirement: indexing. (1) GBS sets the precedent by allowing me to scan and consume any media object...that I do not own and have not paid for...AS LONG AS I INDEX IT by manually assigning a few keywords to the object once I have read/watched/listened to it. (2) GBS then allows me to keep the scan, and not delete it. (3) GBS then allows me to re-read and re-reference my non-deleted scan. Google re-reads their library scans -all the time- through the process of making snippets for others. Why can't I?

I guess my point is that, given what Lessig has now said, I still see too many contradictions, too many ways in which GBS is violating fair use. And if Google is not violating fair use, then I can construct scenarios that would have me doing the same things as Google is currently doing, and still open the door into massive copying/scanning without paying... just as long as the person getting the copy "indexes" it for personal use.

(By the way, "indexing" is the scenario I was referring to a day or two ago.)

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Actually, I think when some court decides that Google's scannig is illegal because Google doesn't own the books, Google will simply say "Yeah, oh well, we'll invest a couple of millions to buy the books then" (in case they didn't already buy a lot of the books). And they won't care. And most really expensive books are very old, so they passed into the public domain anyway, so Google would just have to buy the cheap ones. Maybe there would be a couple of "out-of-print but in-copyright books" that Google would have to delete from their index, but that would really only backfire on humanity's thirst for knowledge, not Google's revenues or the general scope of their Book Search.

But we can discuss a second case, and I think we're going off into a very hypothetical field here but I also think it's interesting. Say, for the sake of argument, Google's machine holding the scan imposes algorithmic limits preventing even the engineers working with the machine to ever see a full copy. Say, it will only ever show "fair use" snippets, and never more than N snippets at all to a single user, and it will block several pages also to all-user's-snippets-when-added-up. While you could full-text search the book, you could only do it via an API, and the API would protect the black box of the machine which would protect the fair use copyright of the scanned works. Wouldn't that solve all the troubles a court might ever give Google?

We can discuss a third case. What would be the ramifications of having a new official law that says: "All works you ever possessed fully legally, you may store in full copy forever (but only republish under fair use, as usual)"? And the law will always look at actual use. Just as the law differentiates between someone holding a knife to slice bread or to stab a human, it won't take the act of picking up the knife as a "Pandora's box" and make picking up knives illegal. In other words, you may never republish, or sell, or commercially profit from more than fair use quotations or fair use remixes of works. And won't then the machines, which like all tools act as extensions to our body (the mouse = the hand, the scanner = the eyes, the hard disk = the brain's memory, shoes = improved feet, and so on), simply reflect the traditional "legal" creativity of humans? The "legal" creativity of reading a full book, selling the book or giving it back to the library, but keeping it well in memory, and quoting from it from time to time?

Tim [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

First case: Yes, if Google just bought the books, all my objections vanish in a puff of smoke. I've had interactions with Google insiders that leads me to believe it is quite hypocritical of Google not to have done this (bought the books) in the first place. But that is neither here nor there. Yes, buy the books, and all is well.

Second case: I see your hypothetical, and raise you an abstraction: "A corporation is a legal person which, while being composed of natural persons, exists completely separately from them. " en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporat ...

I understand what you are saying with the whole API black box scenario. But legally, it doesn't matter if you isolate real people from the actual scans, via APIs...because Google, the corporation that is a legal person, still "sees" and "reads" (and "stores" and "re-reads") every single book. Natch?

Third case: The way you phrase the law, at the beginning of that paragraph, touched a nerve with me. In a good way. Gave me sorta a "spot on! yeah!" reaction. I like it.

But when it comes to "storing a full copy forever", I think it is very much tied to "possess fully legally". A media object that you have borrowed from the library might be something you legally possess, but when you return it, you no longer fully legally possess it. And therefore should not be able to store forever. Or when you sell a CD that you've bought. The re-selling is legal, and should remain so. But with the sale you give up your legal possession of that music, and therefore your legal rights to retain a copy.

However, your argument about machine-augmented humanity is an interesting one. You're essentailly saying "I can memorize a poem that I don't own.. why can't I 'memorize' an mp3?" Right? Hmmmm.. I cannot think of an objection to that at the moment. Give me a day or two. :-)

But let's say there are no possible objections to this. What are the ramifications, you ask? Well, if there is no complementary law that somehow collects and doles out some sort of compensation to the artist (e.g. the BBC television tax) then I think the ramifications are exactly as I've described above.. a world where you mail in a single CD and a 2 petabyte hard drive to a worldwide hitflip.de company, and then legally swap and copy, swap and copy, until you have "committed to memory" the entire world catalogue of recorded music. (Do you get what I am saying with that?) Then you never buy anything again, esp. if the artist never tours.

The results of this is that artists and authors will find that the worldwide market for their work is 1 person. One sale. The moment they've made that sale, everyone just swaps and copies. Or maybe 2 sales if you form a competitor to hitflip.de.

Without a complementary law, ensuring some form of compensation, I don't see this as a good thing. Again, the solution is not to DRM the music, because that impinges on my right to "use the knife to cut my bread". But without any such law, I think all good professional and artistic content disappears, and the world will be left with nothing but YouTube.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

I believe the costs of sending finding the right media from a limited catalogue, then sending off a package with CD, paying Hitflip a commission to maintain their service, then receiving the swapped package and burning the result, then making sure I never, ever lose that hard disk again in my life, are much too high.

I think actually if you extrapolate these use-cases to the extreme, you don't even need Google Book search. You can start with – yeah, again – 80s music taping. In the 80s, it was perfectly legal to make a bunch of copies, and in pragmatic terms, nobody controlled how many copies you made of music tapes. So what we get by extrapolating?
- 1 person buys the original, shares with 5 friends
- these 5 friends share with more 5 friends, and so on, until the whole nation has the music tape without having paid for it
- the artist (say, Cindy Lauper, I mean we're talking the 80s) commits suicide

Of course, that obviously didn't happen. Now, I'll be the first to admit that the web extrapolates much faster, for instance, if there'd be a Web in the 80s, it'd be much easier to find local people who have the music tape you want. But here's what I think *actually* happened in the 80s:
- 1 person buys the original, shares with 2 friends
- 1 of his friend doesn't like the music and doesn't pass it along
- 1 other of his friend likes the tape, and passes it on to 2 more friends
- of the 2 more friends, 1 totally hates it, and 1 totally loves it. The one who totally loves it goes into the record store and buys a whole collection of music tapes from the band
- the band gets more revenues due too free, grassroots exposure

I think the *exact* same thing is happening today with MP3s. My friend, who's the kind of guy who enjoys large fr*e MP3 pools, also has lots of brand new CDs around at home. He's a music fan, so he'll be buying a lot more than most people, and he'll also be exposed to a lot more MP3s from different places.

Now, I think what we *will* be paying for in the future is not sending around packages, which also costs money + time. What we'll be paying for is a service (as opposed to a property), a service that gives us a 1-year, 1-decade or lifelong access to music we buy.

So, let's say the service is iTunes. What's broken with iTunes today? Simply this: I need to make backups of the music, or else I lose them. I can't even effectively make backups and be sure they work in the far future (10 years+) because Apple is serving me a broken, DRMed file instead of a clean MP3. But even if they'd deliver an MP3, the problem rermains – I want to switch a PC, I want to take the library with me, I want to have it on different devices.

What would I love to pay for then? Subscription based music. Say, Weezer has a new album out. I listed to a free preview online, I decide I like it, so I pay for a lifelong ownership of the music. This now entails me to download this to any device I want, and I can even make totally free copies, just as I could with tapes. I don't even want to have a DVD case or CD case in my shelf. I don't care about that. I care about only the music, or the movie, or the digital-inkified book. Whenever I happen to lose the file, I have the right to download the file again, as often as I want. All applications move onto the web, and so does the data behind them, and the same ought to happen with music.

Naturally, all these future services will compete amongst each other, they'll all pay the artists a share of the revenue (laws must be there to ensure that, just like today a radio station – at least in Germany – pays the artist a bit whenever they play his song, through an institution), and naturally, all of these services will need to store a full copy of the media. I'm not sure whether they hold the physical media that this thing was burnt on, after all, physical media in that sense may disappear. Still, they need to hold some sort of license for this. But I guess that's were good lawyers, like Lawrence Lessig, come into play, to ensure there's a good system all this is based on. Many of today's lawyers, the kind that are heavily anti-copying and pro-DRM, are just a burden on our future. A future where really a "copy" of something is such a basic and ubiquitous act of making all these services work (you make a copy of my website when you visit it, but do you empty your cache when you leave it?), that we have to think of it in new terms, and have to apply new copyright laws.

Tim [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

Couple of reactions: (1) You write "In the 80s, it was perfectly legal to make a bunch of copies, and in pragmatic terms, nobody controlled how many copies you made of music tapes. So what we get by extrapolating?"

Ah, but was it legal to pay someone to make the copy for you? I don't mean to buy the media from them. But to borrow it from them, and then pay them for the labor of making you a copy? GBS sets that precedent. And that opens up a whole new market of legal, commercial, large scale swap & copy.

(2) Re: your exposition on subscription-based music: That all sounds fine. I mean, legally. Essentially, you're saying music is a license, rather than a purchase. I see no objection to this, from a legal perspective.

(3) However, economically, I will have to disagree with you about your first statement: "I believe the costs of sending finding the right media from a limited catalogue, then sending off a package with CD, paying Hitflip a commission to maintain their service, then receiving the swapped package and burning the result, then making sure I never, ever lose that hard disk again in my life, are much too high."

Snarky reaction: How many hard drives have you lost in your life. I've (knock on wood) never lost a single one. :-)

Regular reaction: I see from your reaction that I (again) didn't explain myself very well. Let me try again. The Hitflip service would proceed as follows:
   (a) Hitflip maintains a large collection of original CDs at their warehouse. When you want to participate, you contact them, and they tell you what CD to buy from MediaPlay. The CD they tell you to buy will be one that they do not own yet.
   (b) You buy that CD for $15. Then you buy your hard disk. Just the other day I purchased a 300 GB Maxtor drive from Fry's for $89. Cheap. You mail 'em both in.. for like $5.
   (c) Swap, burn, swap, burn. Pretty soon, my entire 300 GB is filled up with.. oh let's see.. 4 MB per song.. that comes out to.. 75,000 songs. Assuming 3 minutes per song, that comes out to 156 continuous days of music.
   (d) There is no need to "find the right media from a limited catalogue", as you say. You just grab EVERYTHING that they've got. And you think their catalogue is limited? Well, how much money would it cost for them to buy 75,000 songs-worth of physical CDs, to seed their "library"? Assuming 10 songs per CD, that is 7,500 CDs, which at $15 per comes out to about $112k. That is pocket change to a VC.
   (e) And then, remember, every new person that signs up brings one more CD to the swap pool. Hitflip gets the masses with the initial seed investment of $112k. Hitflip gets the long tail with each new CD purchase that a new member brings to the mix. And you get it all.
   (f) Finally, Hitflip sends your now full hard drive back, and charges you a one-time fee of, say, $100.

So the whole cost of this is $210.

In comparison, how much would the online subscription-based service cost? Well, let us assume for the moment that we can get all the players in the telecom industry to play nice with each other. In this age of network neutrality issues and lack of competition, I have little confidence that some online subscription service is going to be able to make your music available to you on all your devices (wireless laptop, home desktop, cell phone, etc.) Look at how poor the U.S. is with high speed internet penetration, compared to Asia and Europe. In Japan, can't you get 12Mb/s down for like $15/month? In the U.S. you get a fifth of that for $45/month. But I digress. Let's assume for the moment that the carriers can all figure out the bandwidth and cross-network issues.

So how much does this all-you-can-eat service cost? Well, Rhapsody charges $10/month. But that is only for PC listening. No cellphone, etc. Once they start getting charged for the extra bandwidth on various carriers, to make the data accessible anywhere, I bet this amount goes up. But let's stick with $10/month for now.

That means that, after 21 months, the cost of this service equals that of the Hitflip service. That is essentially the same commitment as a 2-year cellphone contract.. something that folks enter into all the time. But the difference is, after those 21 months, you no longer have any right to listen to those songs, except for the ones that you paid 79 cents to purchase.

Do you want to buy 3 CDs worth of music? That'll cost you 3 x 10 x .79 = $24. So after 21 months, you'll have a lifetime license to 30 songs, will have had a temporary license to maybe 3000 other songs that you listened to during those 21 months, but now are no longer allowed to. And you will have paid $234 ($210 + $24). In the hitflip scenario you will now possess 75,000 songs and have paid $210, and will still have a 300 GB hard drive that you could reuse elsewhere if you wanted to wipe all your songs.

And, added to this, you haven't even figured in the cost of maintaining your network connection.. your $45/month cable modem bill.. your $70/month cellphone data bill, etc. Man, all that is expensive. And maybe -you- would be purchasing those services, anyway, so that the music truly is just a $10/month add-on on top of that. But for many people, they would have to go out and sign up for the data connection since they don't already have it. At $70/month, that changes the breakeven point on the internet vs. hitflip hard drive to 3-4 months, rather than 21 months. Once you have that hard drive, you can copy the tunes to your cellphone yourself, instead of paying $70/month for the data connection.

And even if I lose my hard drive, how much is a 300 gig drive going to cost in a year? In two years? Used on eBay? Naw, replacement costs of the hardware are going to be marginal. And even if you lose your hard drive, you will still own your "seed" CD that you sent in to Hitflip, and so the total cost of getting 75,000 more songs will only be that $100 plus the $30 for the new hard drive. Still cheaper than 2 months of a cellphone data plan.

I am now officially, trollishly off topic. I'd better stop :-)

As usual, thank you for the engaging conversion. I think, more so than not, we agree about where things -should- be headed. It is just that, in terms of where things actually -are-, I still think that what Google is doing is not legal, and, given the current legal system, dangerous in the precedent that they set. In the day that the laws change for the better, what Google is doing is not dangerous. Because in that day, not only will music/books/movies/etc. be completely swappable, but, by law, artists will also be completely compensated via these licenses. But today, with the current laws, I think Google sets the precedent of making things completely swappable, moreso than they have ever been in the past, without legally having to compensate the artist at all.

We've now both been through both sides of our arguments, so I won't rehash any of them. But even after hearing what Lawrence Lessig had to say (and having heard numerous podcasts of him talking in the past.. on SD Forum, in the NY Library debate, etc.) it still sounds like what Google is doing is not kosher. Yes, the snippeting front-end is fair use. But the scanning and storing back-end is not. Google really does reuse and re"read" all those scans, over and over and over. Again, I don't expect you to agree. But I think now that you at least understand the argument.

And it is not an argument that I often hear in this debate. Too often, the reaction is "after all Google Book Search just shows you bits and pieces unless the book publisher allows for more." If you recall, that was your statement that got me started in all this. I find that too often everyone focuses on the republishing, rather than the scanning and storing, aspect of the use. But the danger and the predecent is not on the front end, it is on the back end.

I still have no counter-argument to your "computer-augmented human memory" scenario, so maybe there is more than one way into this dangerous precedent, as you have been maintaining, and it is not all Google's fault. But at the moment, Google goes further than anyone in setting the precedent.. further even (I think) than lossy radio taping, Tivo time shifting, or browser caching when I visit your web page. So, in my mind at least, it makes complete sense that someone would have valid reasons for suing them.

By the way, how do you actually know that I am caching your web page? What if, in my browser, I have my cache size set to zero? ;-)

Cheers.

Tim [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

Oh, one more thing. You wrote: "In the 80s, it was perfectly legal to make a bunch of copies, and in pragmatic terms, nobody controlled how many copies you made of music tapes. So what we get by extrapolating?"

Nick Carr has an excellent counterpoint to this:

roughtype.com/archives/2006/06 ...

Just because you can do something, doesn't mean it is right and good to do something.

What GBS does is take something that was always possible, and set a precedent for making it "right"...without simultaneously making it good.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

> How many hard drives have you lost in your life. I've (knock on wood) never lost a single one. :-)

I want to switch computers without moving data – I want to have all my data online, actually. I'd love to get rid of my CD collection, but at this time I believe it's the safest backup, and I don't believe the dozen songs I bought on iTunes will last longer.

I think we agree that what Google is doing *may* not be legal, but we (slightly) disagree in the consequence; basically I'm saying that if it's illegal it ought not to be, and that then the laws must change. These precedents are growing more and more common, and they'll be becoming completely inevitable in an even more digitalized future.

But one thing I will definitely take out of this discussion: Google is still owing us an answer on your question, the one I forwarded to Lawrence Lessig by now. So far, they wisely focused on the "fair use output" part not on the "possible unfair use output source" part. I gave some potential answers, but it's also Google's job to do so.

And another thing I'm taking out of this discussion, and am still pondering; how will a working licensing scheme work in the future, where artists automatically get paid yet technology isn't crippled? I think the internet is extrapolating all these issues because it speeds up sharing and copying.

There's the one scenario of the DRMified monopoly distributor. Basically, that's the Apple iTunes scenario we live in today.

There's the other scenario where the fair use consumer rights to remix and copy creative works they own are respected. We yet have to see this emerge in the mainstream.

Tim [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

"I want to switch computers without moving data – I want to have all my data online, actually. I'd love to get rid of my CD collection, but at this time I believe it's the safest backup, and I don't believe the dozen songs I bought on iTunes will last longer."

So... buy a 300 GB external USB drive, and make sure all your data directories for all your programs are set to this drive. :-) I understand the motivation for having all your data online, but that means (1) you're limited by bandwidth to how much of your data you can access at any one time, and (2) you're limited to accessing your data by the availability of a network connection. Going on a flight? No music/data. Driving through the desert? No music data. I'd much rather have a car stereo with a USB drive in it, sort of a universal plug and play. Then I just pocket my little 10 GB USB thumb drive, and away I go.

"I think we agree that what Google is doing *may* not be legal, but we (slightly) disagree in the consequence; basically I'm saying that if it's illegal it ought not to be, and that then the laws must change. These precedents are growing more and more common, and they'll be becoming completely inevitable in an even more digitalized future."

Yes, I'm with you. But if the laws change to make it legal, they also need to change to ensure that artists/authors are compensated, if they wish to be.

"But one thing I will definitely take out of this discussion: Google is still owing us an answer on your question, the one I forwarded to Lawrence Lessig by now. So far, they wisely focused on the "fair use output" part not on the "possible unfair use output source" part. I gave some potential answers, but it's also Google's job to do so."

Please, if you hear anything, let us know. I'll watch this space from time to time and see if you've got anything new you've learned.

"And another thing I'm taking out of this discussion, and am still pondering; how will a working licensing scheme work in the future, where artists automatically get paid yet technology isn't crippled?"

Well, one solution that might work, but that has privacy implications, is to (1) level a flat tax of all people with audio equipment, the same way the British Government levies a flat tax of all people with television receiver equipment, (2) monitor all usage of digital media, and then (3) pay out artists from this tax pool in the proportion by which everyone actually uses their work.

Have you ever heard of Shazam? They do audio ID/fingerprinting. In addition to offering a song ID service over your cellphone, they also monitor radio stations around the country, by tuning in to all the frequencies and using audio fingerprinting to see what song is actually playing. Radio stations sometimes lie about what songs they play, and by monitoring them, you can insure that the artist recieves fair compensation, as per the license.

If you had some way, not of -restricting- the usage of media, but of anonymously -indicating- every time something was used, then you could implement a system like this.

Not the best idea.. but just one idea..

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

> (1) you're limited by bandwidth to how much
> of your data you can access at any one time,
> and (2) you're limited to accessing your data
> by the availability of a network connection.

Exactly, and I believe these problems will disappear in the future. I will be able to access my online storage from any device with high speed. It's sort of inevitable unless technological progress comes to an halt for some reason.

/pd [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

====>> "It's sort of inevitable unless technological progress comes to an halt for some reason."

Theissues at hand is Net nueterlaity, Privicay, DRM and ID mngt.

1GB of space costs less then 0.08cents per annum on the TCO matrix. So storage is not the issue.

Tim [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

"Exactly, and I believe these problems will disappear in the future. I will be able to access my online storage from any device with high speed. It's sort of inevitable unless technological progress comes to an halt for some reason."

And by the time you can get 10 Mb/sec wireless download in Ely, Nevada, my 1/2 inch USB thumbdrive will hold a terabyte of data. So while you're downloading mp3 files and VHS-tape quality video, I'll be able to store 44 kHz PCM audio and DVD-quality video. When the bandwidth goes up, and you're able to get DVD quality video downloads, by that time my thumbdrive will store 100s of terabytes, and I'll be able to carry around thousands of HD-quality video tracks.

As technology keeps advancing, the storage in my pocket will always outstrip bandwidth. So I'd personally much rather have the storage. Especially, as /pd says above, the actual cost of storage is close to nothing. I'd much rather just pay close to nothing for my storage, than to pay someone else for my storage ,and then lots of money for the network connection.

When I'm buying 10 terabyte thumb drives for $100, you'll be paying $100 a month to get anywhere internet access to your data. After 2 months, I'll be able to afford a second thumb drive, to make a full backup of all my data. After 12 months, I'll have paid $200, and you'll have paid $1200. In this manner, I don't think the "hitflip" model is as economically unfeasible as you think it is.

Naw, I'd much rather have the data in my pocket.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

So, who's doing your backups? These are all services which I want to outsource. Already, I'm saving important files on my server in a private directory.

Of course if you want to make really sure something isn't lost, you need to share it publicly, so that people can make copies all over the place. Then it may last over 50 years or so.

Tim [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

I'm doing my own backups. Storage per gigabyte is so cheap, and my 1394 and/or USB 2.0 connections are much faster than any network connection that I have.

And when I want my music, I just bring along my portable hard drive, i.e. iPod. I don't rely on downloading music on demand from my cell phone, and paying those huge network charges.

Anyway, we are far off topic.

Any word from L. Lessig on the Google Book Search "backend" argument?

This thread is locked as it's old... but you can create a new thread in the forum. 

Forum home

Advertisement

 
Blog  |  Forum     more >> Archive | Feed | Google's blogs | About
Advertisement

 

This site unofficially covers Google™ and more with some rights reserved. Join our forum!