Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Google Halts Scanning of Copyrighted Books

Filed under
Web

Stung by a publishing industry backlash, Google Inc. has halted its efforts to scan copyrighted books from some of the nation's largest university libraries so the material can be indexed in its leading Internet search engine.

The company announced the suspension, effective until November, in a notice posted on its Web site just before midnight Thursday by Adam Smith, the manager of its ambitious program to convert millions of books into a digital format.

"We think most publishers and authors will choose to participate in the publisher program in order (to) introduce their work to countless readers around the world," Smith wrote. "But we know that not everyone agrees, and we want to do our best to respect their views too."

Google wants publishers to notify the company which copyrighted books they don't want scanned, effectively requiring the industry to opt out of the program instead of opting in.

That approach rankled the Association of American Publishers.

"Google's announcement does nothing to relieve the publishing industry's concerns," Patricia Schroeder, the trade group's president, said in a statement Friday. "Google's procedure shifts the responsibility for preventing infringement to the copyright owner rather than the user, turning every principle of copyright law on its ear."

Google wants to scan copyright-protected books from three major libraries - Harvard, Michigan and Stanford.

The company also is scanning books stored at the New York Public Library and Oxford University, but those two libraries so far are providing Google only with "public domain" works - material no longer protected by copyrights.

Google hasn't disclosed how many books it has scanned since it first announced the program eight months ago. The company expects to be scanning books for at least five years - and probably much longer if it can persuade other libraries around the world to participate.

The project troubles publishers because they fear making digital versions of copyrighted books available on the Internet could open the door to unauthorized duplication and distribution, similar to the rampant online pirating that has decimated the sales in the music industry.

Publishers are also upset that Google might be able to generate more advertising revenue by offering an index of copyrighted books and so far hasn't offered to pay any royalties for its potential financial gains. Mountain View, Calif.-based Google ranks among the Internet's most profitable companies, having earned $712 million on revenue of $2.6 billion during the first half of this year.

Google executives have positioned the scanning project as a largely altruistic endeavor that will make it easier for people around the world to read the valuable - and often rare - material stockpiled in libraries. The company hasn't disclosed how much the project will cost, but it's expected to require a substantial investment.

The attacks on Google's handling of copyrighted material extend beyond books.

One of Google's most popular features - a section that compiles news stories posted on thousands of Web sites - also has triggered claims of copyright infringement. Agence France-Presse, a French news agency, is suing for damages of at least $17.5 million, alleging "Google News" is illegally capitalizing on its copyrighted material.

By MICHAEL LIEDTKE
Associated Press

More in Tux Machines

Kernel Space/Linux

Red Hat News

openSUSE Tumbleweed: A Linux distribution on the leading edge

So, to summarize: openSUSE Tumbleweed is a good, solid, stable Linux distribution with a wide range of desktops available. It is not anything particularly exotic or unstable, and it does not require an unusual amount of Linux expertise to install and use on an everyday system. To make a very simple comparison, in my experience installing and using Tumbleweed is much less difficult and much less risky than using the Debian "testing" distribution, and it is kept much (much much) more up to date than openSUSE Leap, Debian "stable", Linux Mint or Ubuntu. I don't say that to demean any of those other distributions. As I said at the end of my recent post about point-release vs. rolling-release distributions, if your hardware is fully supported by one of those point-release distributions, and you are satisfied with the applications included in them, then they are certainly a good choice. But if you like staying on the leading edge, or if you have very new hardware which requires the latest Linux kernel and drivers, or you just want/need the latest version of some application (in my case this would be digiKam), then openSuSE could be just what you want. Read more Also: Google Summer of Code 2017

Graphics in Linux

  • 17 Fresh AMDGPU DC Patches Posted Today
    Seventeen more "DC" display code patches were published today for the AMDGPU DRM driver, but it's still not clear if it will be ready -- or accepted -- for Linux 4.12. AMD developers posted 17 new DC (formerly known as DAL) patches today to provide small fixes for Vega10/GFX9 hardware, various internal code changes, CP2520 DisplayPort compliance, and various small fixes.
  • libinput 1.7.0
  • Libinput 1.7 Released With Support For Lid Switches, Scroll Wheel Improvements
    Peter Hutterer has announced the new release of libinput 1.7.0 as the input handling library most commonly associated with Wayland systems but also with Ubuntu's Mir as well as the X.Org Server via the xf86-input-libinput driver.
  • Nouveau TGSI Shader Cache Enabled In Mesa 17.1 Git
    Building off the work laid by Timothy Arceri and others for enabling a TGSI (and hardware) shader cache in the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver as well as R600g TGSI shader cache due ot the common infrastructure work, the Nouveau driver is now leveraging it to enable the TGSI shader cache for Nouveau Gallium3D drivers.