After more than a decade of legal back-and-forth, the issue of whether or not Google Books — which allows users to search the texts of millions of scanned books — violates copyright law has been settled (for now), as the U.S. Supreme Court today refused to hear an appeal from the nation’s largest trade group for professional writers. [More]
Last week, a federal appeals court upheld a district court ruling that Google Books — the search engine that uses scans of actual books for its results — is a legal “fair use” under U.S. copyright laws. This decision is not sitting well with the professional authors trade group that sued Google, and which intends to take its argument before the U.S. Supreme Court. [More]
Authors, Booksellers Call For Investigation Into Amazon’s Alleged Anti-Competitive Business Practices
Last year, Amazon and book publisher Hachette engaged in a contentious feud that at times saw the online retailer use its considerable clout to make it difficult for consumers to purchase books by Hachette-published authors. Now, eight months after the two companies came to an undisclosed agreement, groups representing thousands of authors and booksellers are pointing to the online book retailer’s actions as reason for the Department of Justice to open an antitrust investigation into Amazon. [More]
Is Google Books a useful tool for finding exactly the book that you need and driving sales, or a copyright infringement on a massive scale? That’s been the longtime argument (in court) between Google and some of the authors whose work appears in the search engine. At stake are billions of dollars that Google would owe the Authors Guild and individual authors who are parties to the suit. [More]
When the Authors Guild successfully agitated for the right to selectively remove the text-to-speech feature from books read on Amazon’s Kindle 2, they alienated an entire group of potential consumers: people who have trouble reading normal printed works. Now a group called the Reading Rights Coalition is going to storm the Authors Guild’s NYC office tomorrow at noon to protest.
The 8,000 member Authors Guild—the RIAA of the publishing world—has complained about the text to speech feature on the Amazon Kindle 2, which can read aloud your ebook in a computerized voice (something text to speech programs have been doing for years). The Guild says that’s equivalent to an audio book, and that Amazon can’t just allow it without paying extra, so last Friday Amazon caved in and announced they’ll let writers and publishers disable the feature on a title by title basis moving forward.