The Authors Guild, the Australian Society of Authors, the Union Des Écrivaines et des Écrivains Québécois (UNEQ) along with 8 individual authors (including Fay Weldon) has sued the university consortium HathiTrust over its plans to allow internal institutional access to book scans that HathiTrust members received from Google which HathiTrust believes to be orphaned works. As usual, MeFi's own James Grimmelmann has the best analysis of the suit.
Only weeks after Judge Denny Chin extended the filing deadline, and presumably a final decision, and reflecting the Department of Justice’s own opinion, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected the landmark class-action lawsuit settlement between the Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers, and Google. And offers some advice for a revised resubmission.
The overall effect is like listening to an erudite gentleman employing $20 words while he screams at a bunch of punk kids to get off his front lawn. A review of Mark Helprin's Digital Barbarism : A Writer's Manifesto. [more inside]
"It would be naïve to identify the Internet with the Enlightenment. It has the potential to diffuse knowledge beyond anything imagined by Jefferson; but while it was being constructed, link by hyperlink, commercial interests did not sit idly on the sidelines. They want to control the game, to take it over, to own it. They compete among themselves, of course, but so ferociously that they kill each other off. Their struggle for survival is leading toward an oligopoly; and whoever may win, the victory could mean a defeat for the public good. ...We could have created a National Digital Library—the twenty-first-century equivalent of the Library of Alexandria. It is too late now. Not only have we failed to realize that possibility, but, even worse, we are allowing a question of public policy—the control of access to information—to be determined by private lawsuit."—Robert Darnton on what the proposed Google Book Settlement could mean for the pursuit of knowledge—Google and the Future of Books
"The [textbook] industry charges outrageous prices for new textbooks while simultaneously doing everything it can to make older versions unusable or obsolete. There is simply no reason that a new calulus textbook should cost $157. The study of calculus, at least the type of calculus that most of us need to study in high school or undergraduate programs, has not changed significantly in decades." - Textbook Revolution.
World eBook Fair - Project Gutenberg opens the door to even more books online for free (through Aug 4). Not just public domain stuff, but copyrighted works like Ulysses (PDF), T.S. Eliot (500 pp. PDF), and Neal Stephenson (PDF). Over 300,000 additional works online.