Google Loses in Court; Expert Weighs in
Google’s plan to make millions of books available on the information highway hit a major roadblock yesterday. A federal judge in New York rejected a sweeping $125 million legal settlement that Google had worked out with groups representing authors and publishers, saying it would give the company the ability to “exploit” books without the permission of copyright owners.
“Google clearly flew too close to the sun on this one,” said Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor of Media Studies and Law at the University of Virginia and the author of “The Googlization of Everything: and Why We Should Worry” (University of California Press, 2011). “The judge agreed with many influential legal scholars that this settlement gave Google too much power over this area of the market for books.”
It seems that an important obstacle involves the case of “orphan works”—books whose rights holders are unknown or can’t be found. Google wants to publish those; critics say that would give them too much power. The judge agreed and said that if Google sticks to books where they could get author “opt-in,” most objections would vanish. But Google has previously balked at that suggestion.
“Google had used a class-action settlement to make major changes in how copyright works and how books are distributed. This is not what class-action suits and settlements are supposed to do. Google now has a choice: It can fold and scale back its plans for creating a digital used bookstore, or it can fight the copyright lawsuits in court, where it is sure to lose. If Google decides to take the modest way out, it can still ask Congress to make the needed changes to copyright law that would let Google and other companies and libraries compete to provide the best information to the most people. Congress should have been the place to start this in the first place.”
Wrote The New York Times: “ ‘Opt-in doesn’t look all that different from ordinary licensing deals that publishers do all the time,’ said James Grimmelmann, a professor at New York Law School who has studied the legal aspects of the agreement. ‘That’s why this has been such a big deal — the settlement could have meant orphan books being made available again. This is basically going back to status quo, and orphan books won’t be available.’ ”
Information Highway Leads to SIPA 2011
Google and topics surrounding it will be a major area of discussion at SIPA 2011, June 5-7 in Washington, D.C. Keynote speaker David Meerman Scott, author of “Real-Time Marketing and PR: How to Instantly Engage Your Market, Connect with Customers and Create Products that Grow Your Business Now,” will certainly address some of these issues. I have watched him speak and he is dynamic, to say the least. Real-time means news breaks over minutes, not days. Ideas percolate, then go viral to a global audience. It’s when companies develop (or refine) products or services instantly, based on feedback from customers or events in the marketplace. And it’s when businesses see an opportunity and are the first to act on it.
Another keynote speaker will be Perry Hewitt, director, Digital Communications and Communications Services at Harvard University. She will give a case study of how Harvard University has not only embraced the digital age but also made some amazing decisions allowing it to stay at the forefront of knowledge-building and creation.
Other Internet savvy-building sessions at SIPA 2011 include:
– Getting Social: How Your Content Should Be Leveraged on Social Media
– Digital Communications: The Next Frontier for Monetization
– How to Build Your Online Visibility so that Getting New Customers is as Easy as 1-2-3
– Organic Search vs. Paid/Pay-Per-Click: What’s the Difference, and Which Will Work Best for You (delivered by two speakers from The Motley Fool)
– How to Develop a Keyword Phrase Universe…and Why it Matters
– Moving into the Next Information Frontier: How to Launch an E-Learning Business
– Marketing Live & Online Events, Training and e-Leaning Using All Channels
To stay up on the latest trends and “real-time” strategies you need to know, don’t miss SIPA 2011: Cashing in on Content. Register now and save $100 off the registration fee. Be among colleagues who want to talk about—and share information on—the issues that can make or break your company. Check out all the sessions and sign up today!
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