Monthly Archives: February 2011

Rothman on the National Digital Library


By [Friday, February 25th, 2011] at 1:20 pm

Rothman on the National Digital Library

David H. Rothman, It’s Time for a National Digital-Library System, Chronicle Review (Feb. 24, 2011);

Not every library item can go online tomorrow with patrons charged no fees for access. Still, we can at least work toward that goal in a reasonable way. A compromise might be for best sellers and other popular offerings not to appear in the national digital-library system for a year or more after publication (at least not unless local and state systems pay extra to shorten or eliminate their patrons’ waiting time for desired e-titles, or unless those systems drastically reduce the actual loan durations on the most-sought items and offer links to stores and publishers to encourage borrowers to buy library-offered books and other content).

As a library user, I hate time windows and other access restrictions. But a realistic approach would preserve opportunities for bookstores and commercial rental services and help protect publishers’ income, a must no matter what the library system’s business model, if the system is to be affordable in the near future and include copyrighted material from major sources. For their part, both librarians and content providers will need to show more flexibility than they have so far. Today libraries own paper books with which they can more or less do as they please, short of, for example, copying them in ways that go beyond fair use. They may need to bend somewhat and accept some restrictions, as long as the public’s right to continual access is preserved.

But publishers will have to yield, too, by making more e-titles available to public libraries. Furthermore, publishers should be less zealous in their use of digital-rights management, technologies that limit access to digital content. Ideally, they will also spend less time lobbying for Draconian copyright laws, and more time working with libraries to create and promote cost-effective strategies to help libraries and themselves survive, with more revenue for all and less temptation for cash-strapped students and others to pirate books. A well-stocked national digital-library system could make content more easily available both legally and—for publishers—profitably.

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1PlusV Complaint Adds Google Books


By [Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011] at 10:29 pm

1PlusV Complaint Adds Google Books

Aoife White, Google Blocks Smaller Ad Rivals, Competitor Says in EU Antitrust Complaint, Bloomberg, Feb. 22, 2011:

1PlusV sent a complaint to the European Commission today claiming Google refused to allow so-called vertical search sites to use its advertising service, the French web publisher said.

Google also appears to give preferential treatment to its Google Books pages in searches and includes some websites in its search results without their consent, 1PlusV said in a statement. …

By showing Google Books pages in its search results, the company may be violating the search engine’s own anti-spam rules, 1PlusV said.

I have not seen the complaint itself. I am curious about the connection between Google Books results and Google’s anti-spam rules.

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Google Scans Millionth CIC Book


By [Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011] at 10:26 pm

Google Scans Millionth CIC Book

Paul Wood, Millionth book scanned to digital in project, News-Gazette (Champaign), Feb. 22, 2011:

Google Books is working with the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, the Big Ten schools plus University of Chicago, with a goal (for now) of 10 million volumes from member libraries, and passed the million mark just this month.

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ASMP Reply Deadline Extended Again


By [Friday, February 18th, 2011] at 8:13 pm

ASMP Reply Deadline Extended Again

Judge Chin also just signed another order extending the deadline for a reply in the photographers’ case. My understanding is now that the plaintiffs are granting these extensions in exchange for Google’s acquiescence in voluntary discovery, which makes tactical sense for all concerned. The new deadline is February 25, which is only a week away.

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Cash Payment Deadline Extension


By [Friday, February 18th, 2011] at 8:10 pm

Cash Payment Deadline Extension

As I predicted, Judge Chin signed the order extending the cash payment deadline until one year after settlement approval. (Of course, if the settlement is rejected, the deadline is irrelevant, as there would be no cash payments.)

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Open Book Alliance One-Year Roundup


By [Thursday, February 17th, 2011] at 5:48 pm

Open Book Alliance One-Year Roundup

Friday the 18th will be the one-year anniversary of the fairness hearing in the Google Books case. To mark the date, the Open Book Alliance has a roundup of what’s happened since then, The Google Book Settlement – One Year and Still Waiting.

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John Wilkin’s Orphan Books Analysis: 2.5 Million So Far


By [Thursday, February 17th, 2011] at 5:41 pm

John Wilkin’s Orphan Books Analysis: 2.5 Million So Far

John Wilkin is the Executive Director of the HathiTrust, the consortium that many of Google’s partner libraries are using to store and index their digital copies of books scanned by Google. He’s written and posted a thoughtful attempt to use HathiTrust data to answer the perennial question of how many orphan books there are. Previous efforts have relied on data from WorldCat and Bowker. In addition to being a new and substantially indpendent dataset, the HathiTrust data is relatively clean and also, for obvious reasons, tracks reasonably well the collections of major research libraries.

The resulting study, Bibliographic Indeterminacy and the Scale of Problems and Opportunities of “Rights” in Digital Collection Building, then takes HathiTRust’s information on publication years and US/non-U.S. status and combines it with estimates from previous studies on public-domain status and the ability to find (or not) copyright owners. Some of the numbers are guesses, and Wilkin is quite open about it, but he also supplies reasons for the guesses he makes. His conclusion:

Our data spotlight the likely scope of the public domain and the probable large role of orphans in our bibliographic landscape. The following are some key findings of our preliminary analysis:

  1. The percentage of public domain books in the collective collection—not simply the current 5+ million books, but the collection as it expands—is unlikely to grow to more than 33% of the total number of books we will put online. Using the numbers assembled here, the percentage of public domain materials, not including government documents, will be 28%.
  2. The body of orphan works—works whose rights holders we cannot locate—is likely to be extremely large, and perhaps the largest body of materials. If the guesses made here are right, 50% of the volumes will be orphan works. This 50% is comprised as follows: 12.6% will come from the years 1923-1963, 13.6% from 1964-1977, and 23.8% from 1978 and years that follow. (The percentage of orphan works relative to all works decreases as time passes; the number of orphan works increases in more recent years because more works are published in later years.) Indeed, if this speculation is right, our incomplete collection today includes more 2.5 million orphan works, of which more than 800,000 are US orphans.
  3. The likely size of the corpus of in-copyright publications for which we are able to identify a known rights holder will be roughly the same size as, or slightly smaller than, the body of public domain materials. Again, using these speculative numbers, they may comprise as little as 22% of the total number of books.

Even before we are finished digitizing our collections, the potential numbers are significant and surprising: more than 800,000 US orphans and nearly 2 million non-US orphans.

Worth reading for the charts alone.

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Berkman Center Roundup of Orphan Books Efforts Worldwide


By [Thursday, February 17th, 2011] at 5:05 pm

Berkman Center Roundup of Orphan Books Efforts Worldwide

From Harvard’s Berkman Center, What models already exist in other national initiatives with regard to copyrighted and orphan works, a list of digitization efforts underway in various countries. We learn, for example, that in the Netherlands:

KB signed archiving agreements with Dutch publishers for national digital publications and with major international scientific publishers for permanent storage of e-journals. KB obtained permissions from the rights holder organizations and the publishers for the newspaper digitization program (the KB provides the publishers with a digital copy and the publishers provide the KB with the right to publish the newspaper article on the Web). There are no approved plans to digitize in-copyright books or undisclosed orphan works; however, KB is interested in tools that assess whether items are in copyright (fall into the 70-year mark after an author’s death) or not. (Hans Jansen, KB Deputy Director General, Phone Interview (Sept. 17, 2010))

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Google OnePass Payment System to Compete with Apple


By [Thursday, February 17th, 2011] at 4:57 pm

Google OnePass Payment System to Compete with Apple

Amir Efrati et al., Google Elbows Apple, Woos Publishers, Wall St. Journal, Feb. 17, 2011:

Google’s new One Pass service allows consumers to use one account to pay for access to multiple publications on the Web and across a range of mobile devices.

The move comes one day after Apple laid out a subscription service for content sold through its iPhone and iPad devices, an offering that some publishers greeted skeptically. Apple would take a 30% cut on sales of subscriptions in its iTunes App Store. …

On the websites of publishers participating in Google One Pass, readers who wish to pay for content will be prompted to sign up through Google Checkout, the Internet company’s online payment service.

Customers can then make payments on the websites of any participating publisher as long as they are signed in to their Google accounts. The system can be used to view individual articles or for subscriptions and other payment plans.

The system also lets publishers sell subscriptions for their mobile applications, including on devices powered by Google’s Android software, but it likely won’t be allowed on apps for the iPad or iPhone due to Apple’s new rules. Google’s hope is that publishers will opt to use its technology and payment system rather than handle such tasks themselves.

I would note three key differences between the Google and Apple approaches:

  • Google’s cut is smaller: 10% instead of 30%.
  • Google isn’t insisting on most-favored-nation prices, the way Apple is.
  • Google will share customer information with publishers; Apple won’t.
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Parties Ask for Extension of Cash Payment Claiming Deadline


By [Saturday, February 12th, 2011] at 6:05 pm

Parties Ask for Extension of Cash Payment Claiming Deadline

As followers of the settlement know, the case hasn’t moved significantly in the year since the fairness hearing on February 18, 2010. As particularly close followers of the settlement know, the deadline for claiming the $60 one-time cash payment for already-scanned works is March 31, 2011. These two facts are about to collide. Accordingly, the Authors Guild has announced that the parties have agreed to ask the Court to change the Cash Payment deadline to one year after settlement approval. Their joint letter to the court is not yet available on the court’s docket, but we will post it here as soon as it is, and the same goes for whatever Judge Chin does in response. (No matter what he is planning to do with the settlement, or when, I can see no particular reason for him to do anything other than grant this uncontroversial motion.)

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