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ECT News Community   »   E-Commerce Times Talkback   »   Re: There's a New Fair Use Law in Town

Re: There's a New Fair Use Law in Town
Posted by: Peter S. Vogel 2013-12-16 12:33:06
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More than eight years ago, the Authors Guild filed a class action against Google on behalf of thousands of authors, claiming that Google infringed the authors' copyrights. The Authors Guild recently lost its case based on the fair use doctrine that's generally reserved for nonprofit use by academic institutions, libraries and the press. The larger impact for Internet users seems to be that search engines have received a legal blessing to make digital copies of materials owned by others.

Re: There's a New Fair Use Law in Town
Posted by: rowenacherry 2013-12-22 17:54:52 In reply to: Peter S. Vogel
Judge Denny Chin ought to have tried using Google Search and Google Books to see whether he could do a student's homework reading without purchasing the text book.

I did. If a ninth grade student's homework assignment is to read six pages, Google Books allows anyone to read at least 4 consecutive pages, then a page is censored, and the next four are available.

In some cases, more of the book is available, such as the entire index and contents.

A search using a different keyword may turn up at least part of the missing pages. A Google Search based on a key phrase from there may turn up a link to the .pdf of the entire work on a pirate site.

Based on a test such as I conducted (looking for a book I had legally purchased in hardback because my purpose was to test the judgement), I have to conclude that the wool was pulled over Judge Denny Chin's eyes, and the Google Books project gives away far too much of textbooks for it to be in any way "Fair" to authors, publishers, honest students and their parents.

Google Books appears to me to give away 4 to 6 pages for every 1 withheld, which is the inverse of what Fair Use ought to be. As I see it, a publisher's only recourse would be either to change editions every year, which will increase their costs, and the cost to honest students of buying the text, while destroying the honest resale market for gently used physical textbooks, or else to put the ebook on Amazon for rental.

This is not in my view "Fair Use" pursuant to at least two of the criteria for what Fair Use is.
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