Author’s Guild Sues Google for Copyright Infringement – The Author’s Guild does NOT represent THIS Author

NOTE: We have more than a cursory interest in this matter as several of our book publications are found in the following libraries: Michigan (1 book), Stanford (6 books), Harvard (9 books), Oxford (1 book) and the New York Public Library (5 books).

Numerous reports have already appeared on the September 20, 2005 copyright suit brought by the Author’s Guild against Google because of its Google Print Project, known generally as “Google Print“.

We refer here to TVC Alert at The Virtual Chase (hat tip).

The Washington Post has a September 21, 2005 Reuters article by Eric Auchard titled “Google library push faces lawsuit by US authors“.

Edward Wyatt has a September 21, 2005 article at the New York Times, Writers Sue Google, Accusing It of Copyright Violation.

As reported there, the plaintiffs, the Author’s Guild and three associated authors, also suing “on behalf of all others similarly situated”, filed a class action complaint for copyright infringement against Google Inc. on September 20, 2005 in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

The copyright violation claimed applies to Google’s Google Print program, which seeks to scan the library holdings of the university libraries of Stanford, Harvard, Michigan, and Oxford as well as of the New York Public Library (see the first paragraph above) in an effort to create a searchable library of the world’s printed books.

The Official Google Blog has a statement on the suit by Susan Wojcicki, Vice President, Product Management Google, indicating that Google will raise the “fair use” defense.

The fair use exception to copyrights is found in Section 107 of Title 17 of the United States Code which encompasses the Copyright Law of the United States of America.

Google refers to an analysis of Google Print and copyright law by Jonathan Band at “The Google Print Library Project: A Copyright Analysis“.

As noted above, the LawPundit is the author of numerous copyrighted books and fully supports the Google Print project as a modern means of making information about those books more publicly available. As can be seen at the page Stars Stones and Scholars of Trafford Publishing, what Google seeks to do is already being done by some publishing companies. Star Stones and Scholars is also one of my books and I can confirm that although potential readers are able to read a sizeable excerpt out of that book for free, the online-presence of free material from this book has definitely increased sales of the book, not only at Trafford, but also at Amazon.

This lawsuit by the Author’s Guild represents the reactionary, anti-competitive and antiquated side of the publishing industry of yesteryear, representing the vested, monied publishing interests of a very small minority of authors, and it can only be hoped that the courts will so find. If the plaintiffs in this case do not want their copyrighted works to be included on Google, they can do this easily by so notifying Google. Their not being listed would only serve them right. Requiring Google to personally contact all the world’s copyright holders would just be silly since 99% are not going to complain if their works are indexed by Google. We, the vast majority of book authors, should not have to suffer because of the selfish 1%.

Seeking a class action here runs counter to the right of copyright which is an individual right, not a right of groups or multiple plaintiffs. A copyright class action is a contradiction in terms. This is also precisely the kind of lawsuit that the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 was intended in spirit to stop. I neither need nor want – nor have I authorized – the Author’s Guild to bring this action on my behalf, nor do I support its claim that the Google Print project constitutes copyright infringement. The ultimate profit that Google could possibly make from MY work is miniscule. The ultimate gain that I could possibly obtain from my publications being listed in Google Print is substantial.

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Proprietary File Formats vs. State Sovereignty

The IT blog Between the Lines has a September 22, 2005 report on the recent, highly significant tussle between Microsoft and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts concerning proprietary rights to file formats vs. state sovereignty. Massachusetts won in a precedential battle of potentially long- and broad-ranging impact. As noted by David Berlind at Between the Lines:

“Mass. officials also gave their definition of an open specification as one that meets the following three criteria:

– It must have no or absolutely minimal legal restrictions attached to it.
– It must be published and subject to peer review
– It must be subject to joint stewardship”

Microsoft had no choice but to give in or lose the Massachusetts business and thus “[made] the license to the Office file formats perpetual and royalty-free.

The (Arianna) Huffington Post Blog and Birds of a Feather

Birds of a feather…flock together.

As a political centrist and multi-professional my day-to-day is filled with a lot of solid content. As a result, I am a great fan of the world of pseudo-glamour and its lack of that content – which creates a nice balance between the the two. Actually, that last phrase is redundant.

Arianna Huffington has a nice posting on a just clebrated party of the “the Vanguard…and the Old Guard“. And you have to hand it to Arianna for having the chutzpah (audacity) to call her blog The Blog. But then again you have to know how to market yourself, and Arianna does, who doubts this?

Those deluded ones who think that the blogging movement is a collection of lone wolfs hacking away their bleary-eyed nights at their computers in the basements of tenement buildings (there are of course a few of those) should read this from Arianna on partying with the birds of the feather:

“Nick Denton of Gawker Media threw a party Wednesday night welcoming the Huffington Post to the neighborhood — both to the Soho neighborhood, where our office is, and to the online neighborhood….

The media-centric crowd was mostly new media with a sprinkling of old — and more than a few who straddle both….

There was much obsessive talk about the surging growth in online traffic and advertising. And the way old media moguls like Rupert Murdoch are set on becoming online media moguls as well. And the growing newspaper troubles — including more layoffs at the New York Times and circulation drops at the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and San Francisco Chronicle.”

So who are these feathery birds and their digital nests who were at this party?

Blogs and bloggers represented at the party….


Jessica Coen (show biz gossip and news)
– At Gawker (New York gossip and news) we were flabbergasted to read that Ronald McDonald had become a female in Japan.
Defamer (L.A. gossip and news)
Wonkette (Washington D.C. gossip)
Sploid (tabloid news)

Social Networking

We were particularly intrigued by the mention of a site previously unknown to us, Dodgeball, a real-time mobile social networking system that we see as being a pioneering forerunner of wireless communciation for fun and business, home and work.

Avantgarde Media and Media Blogs

Megnut in the person of Pyra-Labs (Blogger forerunner) co-founder Meg Hourihan
Elizabeth Spiers (MediaBistro)
John Batelle
– Jake Dobkin of the Big Apple oriented Gothamist
College Humor
The Onion

Representatives of Big Mainstream Media

AOL in the persons of Jim Bankoff and Michael Wolfson

– Arianne writes:
“MSM representatives included Kit Seelye of the New York Times; Serena Torrey of New York magazine; Lloyd Grove of the Daily News; Peter Maass of the New York Times Magazine; Julia Rothwax and Josh Green of The Atlantic; and Lawrence O’Donnell of The McLaughlin Group and West Wing; with Jason Rapp of; Eric Alterman; Joe Conason; Rufus Griscom of Nerve; Remy Stern and Maer Roshan of Radar; Nathan Richardson of WSJ Online; and Jeremy Phillips of News Corp among the straddlers.”

Political Blogs

Talking Points Memo

Erotica Blogs

Fleshbot (“politically correct” erotica as long as you don’t follow the links too far – if you do, make sure you have a strong anti-spy program or you may find your computer overrun with spyware and worse – you are warned)

Media Conclusion

So basically, blogging is taking off where other media may be fading. The message is the same, but only the media are changing. Marshall McLuhan of “the media is the message” would be pleased.

We were not invited, but then again, consider who else was NOT at the party.

The Importance of Evidence

One area in which the legal community is lax is in inculcating a proper appreciation of EVIDENCE in the other arts and sciences.

Roger Schank of Carnegie-Mellon University writes the following, inter alia, at Edge 168 regarding the teaching of evolution or intelligent design in the schools.

“Here is what we should teach our children: how to think; how to look at evidence and determine reasonable conclusions that can be derived from the evidence; how to know what constitutes evidence; how to interpret evidence.

Stop telling children facts. Do that in church or wherever religious indoctrination takes place. School should not be about indoctrination but reasoned thought. Teach children to come to their own conclusions. Stop confusing religion with thought.”

Krauthammer on Roberts

Charles Krauthammer has a beautifully written September 16, 2005 op-ed at the Washington Post which he titles Roe v. Roberts.

What we like about Krauthammer is his no-nonsense approach to commenting on current events.

As for Roberts, we agree when Krauthammer writes:

“[Roberts] is a perfectly reasonable traditional conservative, who will be an outstanding chief justice. He is just not a judicial revolutionary. If you’re a conservative looking for a return to the good old days, you’ll be disappointed. And if you’re a liberal who lives for the good old days because that’s all that liberalism has left, tell Chuck Schumer to relax.”

By the way, even though Schumer has recently done some stupid things in his excerise of office, we think that he has done a good job – on balance – as Senator from New York. Nevertheless, we definitely oppose his “war stand” against Roberts. There are more important things for Congressmen to do than wage constant battle against judicial appointments and political nominations. A Senator should be a lawmaker and should be busy writing the laws that are necessary for the 21st century. There, the Senate and the House are way behind schedule.

Convert Websites to Text Only – The Lift Text Transcoder

It may sometimes be useful and necessary – in law particularly – to convert website pages from a graphic-based to a text-based form.

The freeware LIFT Text Transcoder makes it possible to convert web pages to text-only versions. The manual states:

“LIFT Text Transcoder (or transcoder) is a web application that converts a web page into its text-only version on-the-fly by eliminating all page layout that is present in the original page and by hiding many accessibility defects.
The transcoder is useful for the website visitor, since it removes some accessibility issues and small defects like missing image ALTs or forms that are not properly linearized or flash objects. It can be used also by the web developer to determine if the reading order of the information presented in the page makes sense when read in the order that would be followed by a screen reader or speech browser.

The LIFT Text Transcoderenter a URL at that link page to try it out – is useful for people and situations where:

– graphics cannot be seen (e.g. blind persons, text-only browsers, …);
– sizes of the page elements have to changed (e.g. a low-vision persons that maximizes the browser windows to enlarge its contents; a PDA user who has to fit everything on a small screen);
– size of text that has to be changed (e.g. a low-vision person; a presenter that has to project a web page to an audience via a projector);
-links and buttons have to be easily located and operated (e.g. a person with motor disabilities that cannot move his/her hand with precision, like somebody with a broken arm);
-form fields need to be easily layed out to be used (e.g. a low vision person using a screen magnifier that restricts his/her field of vision).”

The options that are available for each text-only page so produced are:

“Change the current font size: larger | default | smaller
Current color mode is Black on White, other available modes: Yellow on Black | Black on Cream
Show textual links as buttons
Do not move navbars
Open not handled documents directly
Hide the Text/Graphical View Panel
Hide Text Only Options
Open the original version of this page.”


Internet Archiving and the Law – UK, EU, USA, Australia

Is Internet Archiving Legal? See Legal issues reating to the archiving of Internet resources in the UK, EU, USA and Australia, a study undertaken for the JISC and Wellcome Trust, by Andrew Charlesworth, University of Bristol, Centre for IT and Law, Version 1. – 25 February 2003.

See also the International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC)
which writes about the consortium:

“Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Sweden, The British Library (UK), The Library of Congress (USA) and the Internet Archive (USA) acknowledged the importance of international collaboration for preserving Internet content for future generations and therefore decided to form a consortium called the International Internet Preservation Consortium.

The goals of the consortium are:
To enable the collection of a rich body of Internet content from around the world to be preserved in a way that it can be archived, secured and accessed over time.
To foster the development and use of common tools, techniques and standards that enable the creation of international archives.
To encourage and support national libraries everywhere to address Internet archiving and preservation.”

Members of IIPC are:

Bibliothèque nationale de France
(National Library of France)
Quai François Mauriac
75706 Paris cedex 13 France

Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze
(National Library of Italy, Florence)
Piazza dei Cavalleggeri, 1
50122 Firenze Italy

Det Kongelige Bibliotek
(The Royal Library, Denmark)
Postbox 2149
DK-1016 Copenhagen Denmark

Helsingin yliopiston kirjasto –
Suomen Kansalliskirjasto
(Helsinki University Library,
The National Library of Finland)
PL 15 (Unioninkatu 36)

Internet Archive
The Presidio of San Francisco
116 Sheridan Avenue
Box 29244
San Francisco, CA 94129 United States of America

Kungliga biblioteket Sveriges nationalbibliotek
(The Royal Library, National Library of Sweden)
Box 5039
S-102 41 Stockholm Sweden

Landsbokasafn Islands – Haskolabokasafn
(National and University Library of Iceland)
Arngrimsgata 3
IS-107 Reykjavik Iceland

Library and Archives Canada
395, Wellington Street
Ottawa (Ontario) K1A 0N4Canada

(The National Library of Norway)
P.O. Box 2674 Solli
NO-0203 Oslo Norway

National Library of Australia
Parkes Place
Canberra, ACT 2600 Australia

The British Library
96 Euston Road
London NW1 2DB United Kingdom

The Library of Congress
LM 637
Washington, D.C. 20540 United States of America