[conspire] Book Burning continues thanks to the Feds

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Mar 22 19:18:55 PDT 2011

Quoting Ruben Safir (ruben at mrbrklyn.com):

> http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704461304576216923562033348.html
> I'm sick of the fake rights to obstruct free society.  Google should
> stop wasting its time and lobby Congress for a change in the law.

One problem:  Any change Google, Inc. would want would, on the evidence,
not be one that you or I would.

Ruben, are you aware of the unique, _proprietary_, and perpetual rights
that the proposed 2008 settlement would have given to Google, Inc. --
automatically and to the copyright titles of every _single_ book author
who hasn't explicitly lodged an opt-out affidavit with Google, Inc.'s
legal team?

There's absolutely nothing in the US copyright statute that says Google,
Inc. should gain a monopoly right over millions of authors' books
without their permission:  While scanning and making available
out-of-print and other works certainly seems like, in the abstract, a
good idea, please explain to me why _only_ Google, Inc should have the
right to do so.  Why, if I write a book, should _only Google Inc._ 
automatically gain a proprietary right to sell individuals and
institutions subscriptions, at prices determined by them, that permit
access to digitised copies of my book and billions of others?

Why, if I write a book, should _only Google Inc._ automatically gain a 
proprietary right to decide in its sole discretion to remove my book
from its service as 'inappropriate' exactly the way it does with 
YouTube uploads?

Why, if I write a book, should _only Google Inc._ automatically gain a
proprietary right to keep and exploit a private database of information 
on who, when, and how users around the world gain access to my book,
all the way down to how many minutes they spend on each page?

If you say you think the proposed settlment -- which was between Google,
Inc. and the Authors Guild et alii but through some Mountain View
lawyerly magic was proposed to be binding on _everyone_ -- would have
been a good idea, then you are saying that you think all of those other
things would also have been a good idea.

You would be saying that, even though the settlement would have
outrageously overturned not only copyright law but also privacy
regulations _and_ the nation's antitrust laws.

You don't like copyright, fine.  However, handing a huge and permanent
bundle of proprietary rights to Google, Inc. -- over untold millions of
other people's creative work -- _and_ deliberately ignoring obvious 
privacy violations _and_ deliberately ignoring a gross breach of 
a hundred years of antitrust law would NOT have been a step forward.

As bad as the copyright barons are, this would have created a copyright
emperor -- indefinitely.

In short:

> Judge Denny Chin, in a ruling filed in U.S. district court in Manhattan,
> rejected a 2008 settlement that Google forged with author and publisher
> groups to make millions of books available online. 

Good.  Judge Chin isn't a sucker, then.

> In his decision, Judge Chin also noted antitrust concerns related to the
> settlement, including that "would arguably give Google control over the
> search market" for books.

Hell yeah.

> The judge denied the settlement between Google and the Authors Guild and
> the Association of American Publishers "without prejudice," meaning they
> could submit a revised pact that would better protect copyright owners.
> He also suggested a way to revise the deal: rather than let copyright
> owners of books "opt out" of the settlement, copyright owners should be
> given the choice to "opt in."

Which is _perfectly reasonable_!

Anyone who wants to have Google, Inc. as copyright emperor would be 
free to bow towards Mountain View and leave the rest of us alone.

> Google's lawyers had said in court last year that an "opt-in" structure
> wouldn't be viable.

Tant pis pour eux.

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