Google’s plan to digitize copyrighted books is under legal attack.******But the Internet giant is stepping up its PR offensive to convince consumers of the benefits wrought by its broader book scanning project.******Exhibit A: the Espresso Book Machine.******The contraption pictured here can produce bound paperback books, from hard-to-find works of literature to little-known cookbooks, in a matter of minutes.****** The machine itself is not Google’s; it’s the creation of On Demand Books. On Wednesday, the companies announced a deal giving On Demand and its Espresso Machine access to Google’s digital library of 2 million public domain titles.******Until now, the works digitized by Google were available only as digital files for reading on computer screens or electronic readers. With the Espresso machine, the companies say, consumers will be able to bury their noses in old-fashioned, hardcopy versions of their desired books – many of which have been have been out of print for years.******On Demand Books says it currently has 16 of its book-making machines at bookstores, libraries and other locations and plans to have 34 of the machines (which are priced starting at $75,000) next year.******The machine will only crank out books from Google’s archive with expired copyrights, which in the United States means they were published before 1923. Google is currently seeking court approval of a settlement with groups representing publishers and authors regarding its use of scanned copyrighted books.
Here’s an idea: Everyone, or at least whoever wants to, gives up their books. The books are taken to a warehouse and stored there. In return the the book owner gets access to scanned copies on Google.
A federal judge has given permission for The Media Exchange Company, Inc. to put that proposal forward, as part of a settlement in Google’s deal with publishers to make millions of books available online.
The Media Exchange Company, represented by the St. Louis, Missouri, law firm of Riezman Berger, says it is putting forward the idea on behalf of book owners.
from Shop Talk:
Amazon's hotly anticipated Kindle e-reader got even more press on Wednesday, but not the good variety.
In an op-ed titled "The Kindle Swindle" that appeared in the New York Times Wednesday, the president of the Author's Guild, Roy Blount Jr., took Amazon to task for its text-to-speech function on the new Kindle that began shipping this week.
The new Kindle can read books aloud -- but unlike audio books, royalties are not paid to authors. Blount argues the technology Amazon uses to turn text into a human voice is quickly improving, and authors need to be "duly vigilant" about this new means of transmitting their work.