Talk:The Google Book Search Settlement

From The Internet: Issues at the Frontier (course wiki)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Discussion of Guests

Invited Guests

  • Prue Adler (Associate Executive Director, ARL) -- nonresponsive
  • Professor Robert Darnton (Head of Harvard Libraries) -- unable to attend on Mar. 30
  • Jonathan Hulbert (member of Harvard's Office of General Counsel) -- unable to attend
  • Corey Williams (Associate Director, Office of Government Relations, ALA) -- nonresponsive

Proposed Guests

  • Google Book Search settlement
    • Google - Alex MacGillivray (chief in-house counsel for IP)
    • Authors
    • Publishing groups - Jeffrey Cunard (Debevoise, Berkman, one of the primary negotiators of the settlement for publishers (including the AAP))
    • Libraries
      • ALA - Corey Williams (Associate Director, Office of Government Relations)
      • ARL - Prue Adler (Associate Executive Director)
      • Harvard Libraries - Robert Darnton (director), John Palfrey, Jonathan Hulbert (lawyer in Harvard's Office of the General Counsel involved in the negotiations)
    • Other Commentators
      • Lessig? (he is probably more useful for a different topic)
  • Amazon Kindle people
  • People from publishing companies doing offering innovative services, products, or editing processes involving the internet. (Does anybody know of such companies?)
  • Someone who has studied self publication on the internet (names?)
  • Someone who has studied reading habits in conjunction with the shift away from printed media (names?)
The Big Think team might be able help secure some of these folks -- hit me up at if you'd like some assistance making contact. PeterH 07:11, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

Discussion of Readings

  • This is a recap of a conference that Grimmelmann and Vaidhyanathan attended.
  • This is a pretty comprehensive bibliography of articles and blog posts discussing the settlement, so i've removed most of the duplicated links that used to be below. Cooper 22:38, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
  • The ALA Washington Office is compiling all of its posts on the settlement here
  • Here's the link to articles by Darnton on Google Book Search in the New York Review of Books.
  • New York Times articles (here and here)
  • If we don't get a copy of the Libraries' report, we could use these initial thoughts from the ALA.
  • I just remembered a potentially relevant book I read as an undergrad, called Scrolling Forward. I'll peruse it over break looking for useful excerpts. Gwen 22:03, 18 December 2008 (UTC) Actually, I don't think this book will be helpful. It's a bit too philosophical and vague for our purposes; there isn't a particular chapter focused on one concrete problem. Gwen 19:49, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
  • The Association of Research Libraries and the American Library Association have released a neutral summary of the settlement that highlights the most relevant parts for libraries. Lbaker 17:51, 23 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Less specifically related to libraries, but this blog post outlines some potential problems with the settlement and proposes some tweaks that would better serve the public.
  • On February 9, the ARL, ACRL and ALA are hosting a session on the Google settlement agreement. It will not be webcast or archived (or even open to the public), but its conclusions regarding the implications of the agreement will be released in a report. The report should be drafted and available in time to be read before our session.Gwen 21:50, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
  • A statement from some public university libraries in support of the project.

Discussion of Technology Use (Including Unused Ideas)

Our subject will revolve around the particular challenges that the settlement, as it stands, presents for libraries, as well as the missed opportunities for the reading public. Given the "brain trust" present in the members of this seminar, as well as the experience of the guests who will be joining us, we believe we could collectively draft a list of recommendations for incorporation into a final, court-approved settlement, similar in format to the Laboratorium post (in the list of potential readings), but focused on libraries (and the reading public). This may then be sent to the court (if this is feasible or there is some mechanism for public input in the settlement-approval process) or just nailed to the proverbial church door (blog, Berkman site, wherever).

One potential worry is that it seems that the settlement is not modifiable -- it has to be voted up or down. If it's voted down, a modified proposal could be submitted, but it might not be accepted by the parties.

This list of recommendations will be seeded prior to the class with some of the proposals that are already floating around the internet, then projected, drafted, and edited dynamically throughout the session. There would be an opportunity for further editing of the list of recommendations after the class, for perhaps a week or two, and then deposited online and/or brought to the court's attention after a last round of "polishing" edits.

As for technology for simultaneous document editing, check out gobby (google it). Mchua 22:55, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

We will be using Gobby as a means of collaborating, as suggested by Mel (thanks Mel!).

  • For Windows users, download it here
  • For Mac users, follow the instructions here
  • For Unix users, the instructions are here

Discussion of Topic (Broadly, the Internet and Publication)

The internet has completely changed the meaning of publication, and the relationship between print and digital media is continually evolving. The advent of the personal computer and the internet have changed the way information is assembled, distributed, managed, and digested in ways at least as dramatic and consequential as the advent of the printing press. How are traditional publishers coping with these changes? What new forms of publishing are made possible by the internet, and what challenges do they entail? --Gwen 16:34, 1 December 2008 (EST)

Might be worth coordinating with the people doing media/press day -- could make them back to back and have them relate in some way. JZ 04:52, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

Since the "Future of News" group is focusing on news providers and how they are adapting to the disruption caused by the internet (and, hopefully, harnessing the advantages the internet provides), we could extend that discussion by looking at how other groups are handling that transition (ie. the open access publishing, effects on non-news-providing publishers). Alternatively, it would be a nice parallel if we focused on self-publishing - that is, part of the disruptive process that is causing the collapse of the traditional newspaper business model (depending on how much the other group covers this, and whether we'll have enough info on that topic to make a session out of it...I guess the question here would be how to commercialize/monetize it - or are there other ideas for good questions?).

In general, I think our first step is to decide whether we want to focus more on the open access/self-publishing aspect, or the Google Book Search/"death of paper" aspect. Which topic seems most promising/interesting/etc. to you guys? (directed at Gwen and Jon) Lbaker 17:18, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

I agree that that decision makes sense as a first step (unless we can split the session into two parts, perhaps with two different virtual visitors? but that would definitely risk sacrificing quality for quantity in trying to cover too much). Personally, I think I am a bit more interested in the Google Book Search / death of paper topic. I kind of like that that goes in a different direction from the news people, because it would add more variety to the class as a whole and carry less risk of redundancy. --Gwen 22:01, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

The Relationship Between Print and Digital Media

Google Book Search

What does the recent settlement between Google and the Authors Guild/American Association of Publishers regarding online accessibility of digitalized books mean? Many have hailed it for both improving access to knowledge by creating "the long dreamed of universal library" and for avoiding a judicial resolution that might have exposed antiquated aspects of US copyright law. But there may also be troubling aspects of having access to such a large and unique collection of content controlled by a single for-profit company (the agreement is non-exclusive to Google, but it may be difficult for a legitimate competitor to emerge, given Google's sizable first mover advantage).

Is this settlement optimal for all interested groups? Presumably it is for Google and the Authors Guild/AAP, but what about externalities for non-parties, such as the reading public? Is some sort of government intervention appropriate to ensure access to this "universal library"? What difference does it make, if any, that this "universal library" is operated by a private company reliant on many public university libraries?

We could also look at the costs/difficulties libraries (and hosts for the Research Corpus) would face under the deal, including the provided punishments, and the feasibility of implementation/problems libraries might have implementing them. To me, one part that seems particularly problematic is how Research Corpus would implement a means to restrict researchers to "non-consumptive research". Lbaker 17:21, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Once again Berkman Center alums and affiliates are all over this -- Alex MacGillivray for Google and Jeff Cunard for the publishers. We could pull together a great session on the deal, although it takes some time to absorb its parameters -- before getting to a place where we can have a cutting-edge discussion about it. JZ 04:52, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

The Shifting Role of Publishing Companies

As noted above under "Self Publication," the internet makes it very easy for individuals to make their work widely available. However, actually garnering a sizable audience or realizing a profit from one's work remains a greater challenge; it appears to be with respect to this step that the services of traditional publishers appear to retain some value. After all, publishing companies offer marketing channels and name recognition in addition to simply machines that print a books. Are traditional publishing companies threatened by the new forms of publishing that the internet makes possible? Are publishers better off battling the internet (for example, by emphasizing the superiority and reliability of their traditional services) or embracing it (for example, by offering digital and internet-based publication services)? --Gwen 16:16, 1 December 2008 (EST) Should the latter services and items -- such as ebooks, audiobooks in mp3 format, and Amazon Kindle -- be replacements for or compliments to printed books? --Gwen 07:32, 2 December 2008 (EST)

The Fate of Printed Materials

Will the internet cause the use of printed materials to decline to the point that printed materials become obsolete? Obsolescence is reality in my own experience with The Harvard Journal of Law and Technology (JOLT). JOLT publishes its articles online on its website, and it also publishes shorter and more timely posts online in its companion, the JOLT Digest. In addition to being available directly to any internet user, all JOLT articles are made available through legal research databases, including Westlaw and Lexis. Each semester, we order from our publisher (Hein) enormous boxes of the new issue in print, but we have no idea what to do with them. Even after giving away copies to our parents, there are still stacks and stacks of unwanted and unneeded paper copies, and a lighthearted dialogue about what to do with them has steadily taken over the dry erase board in our office. These printed copies of our journal are literally useless. --Gwen 16:32, 1 December 2008 (EST)

The way that readers encounter and digest information is vastly different in the context of printed materials and in the context of digital and online materials. These differences have consequences for both academic researchers and regular citizens in terms of both the kind of information an individual is exposed to and the way that the individual approaches those sources. If a dramatic shift away from printed media is happening, what other shifts does that entail for the way that people learn, synthesize, and evaluate information? --Gwen 16:45, 1 December 2008 (EST)

We talked about an interesting article relating to the topic of how digital media and the internet are affecting the way in which people read in JZ's 1L reading group. The article relates more to how the presentation of written material on the 'net (short and skimmable, links galore, etc.) is affecting the way we process information and our ability to read "long" pieces (ie. more than a page or so) without becoming distracted. It is a bit tangential to the specific discussion of the movement of print media onto digital form (since it mostly discusses the differences between the format of media in each of the forms), but is interesting regardless. Lbaker 08:55, 2 December 2008 (EST)

Distribution Channels

How is the internet changing the way printed materials are distributed? appears to be taking over the role of brick-and-mortar bookstores by offering a cheaper and more convenient way to purchase new printed books; their "look inside" feature makes the online shopping experience even more similar to being in a live bookstore. Similarly, and similar websites have made it possible for individuals to locate and purchase used, out-of-print, and rare books from one another without requiring the research services of specialized booksellers. Even if hard copy printed materials remain in demand, might bookstores become obsolete? --Gwen 19:41, 4 December 2008 (EST)

The Publication Process

Open Access Publishing

Addressing whether there actually seems to be a movement toward this model, and away from traditional science/tech publishing. What effects movement toward this model might have on quality, oversight, etc. of published articles. Also, discussion of business models/funding, problems with open access models, etc. And any copyright issues (to tie things back to law).

This can relate both to open access of full articles (as with PLoS) or single experiments/results (including Science Commons and like projects to both make the data available, and, perhaps more importantly, the technologies to make it available in usable form)

Would "open review" (instead of "peer review") work? Are there any models around? What about a Slashdot-style system of moderation and meta-moderation?

Yes, there is at least one example that I can think of. Lawrence Lessig published the first edition of his book Code in 1999. It came out in paper and ink. Several years later, in order to "translate" (his word) the book into a second edition, Lessig persuaded the publisher (Basic Books) to allow him to post the entire text of the first edition of the book on a wiki hosted by Jotspot. (The Wiki text was licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License.) Lessig explains, "a team of 'chapter captains' helped facilitate a conversation about the text. There were some edits to the text itself, and many more valuable comments and criticisms. I then took that text as of the end of 2005 and added my own edits to produce this book." (Preface to Code version 2.0, x.) Code version 2.0 is the result of this collaborative editing process. It is available for purchase in paper and ink, for free as a PDF download, and also on a wiki hosted by Socialtext. --Gwen 15:45, 1 December 2008 (EST)

Stevan Harnad put a suitable question on the ePrints site:

"Why did 34,000 researchers sign a threat in 2000 to boycott their journals unless those journals agreed to provide open access to their articles - when the researchers themselves could provide open access (OA) to their own articles by self-archiving them on their own institutional websites?"

More specifically, we can look at the pros/cons of open access journals (or open access controlled/granted via publishing companies) vs. self-archiving (ie. open access by academics themselves) if this is still a hot/open debate. Also, as the first commenter pointed out on this blog post, "open access doesn’t mean easy access." So perhaps we could also address the question of how to make open access publications as accessible as non-OA forms.

A further thought - does ownership/copyright of published articles pass to the journal in most cases? (I think this was the case for the Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, the only journal I've had direct experience with). If so, does that give the journal the power to determine where and to what degree the article could be published? That is, is this a (potential or real) barrier to self-archiving, and, if so, what can be done about it? Academics likely could not change this part of the publishing agreement unless they reach critical mass, especially for the better-known journals.

ePrints is apparently the leading software for academic self-archiving (according to the Wikipedia page), and Stevan Harnad (long interview here) is apparently one of the academics who has been leading the charge in open access to (scientific) academic journals/publications.

Peter Suber writes what is apparently "the most authoritative blog...on open access". Lbaker 18:24, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Harvard has been taking a leadership role on open access. We could definitely do a session on this -- Stuart Shieber, Terry Fisher, and John Palfrey would be natural guests or people to talk to to narrow down the questions. JZ 04:52, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

Collaborative and Customized Textbooks

Maybe also Harvard's new open access policy for academic work? (note that the Harvard Free Culture group is working on the matter - see The Wheeler Declaration)

JZ described an innovative publication option with which Foundation Press seems willing to experiment: essentially, individual chapters are available independently from one another, giving instructors the freedom to custom build a text book that contains exactly their desired materials (no more, and no less), in the desired sequence. Assuming this model is technologically, legally, and financially feasible, what benefits and drawbacks does it entail? Possible risks might include a lack of completeness and/or organization in the materials ultimately acquired by students as well as the possibility that pedagogical emphasis is dictated by sociologically driven group trends rather than deliberately thoughtful decision making. --Gwen 15:57, 1 December 2008 (EST)

Stumbled across a fledgling project that seems to be similar (in some respects) to this issue here. Doesn't look like it's actually operational at the moment, though. Lbaker 20:28, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Self Publication

One of the biggest and most obvious changes wrought by the advent of the internet and PCs the ability of individuals to self-publish; it is now cheap, quick, and easy to reach a mass audience with one's own text, images, and sounds. The rise of blogging, Youtube, and other developments have further increased the ease of self-publication. I know that several scholars have studied the rise and impact of self publication opportunities, but I'm not sure what conclusions they've drawn or which of them might be interesting to bring in as a guest. Suggestions? --Gwen 16:09, 1 December 2008 (EST)

Interested to hear what people might find. :) JZ 04:52, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

An embarrassment of riches -- great ideas here. Now to home in on one! JZ 04:52, 16 December 2008 (UTC)