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Amazon, Microsoft, and Yahoo Join Coalition Against Google Book Settlement

Can the collective weight of Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN), Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) and Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) help scuttle Google’s book settlement? The three companies are banding together to join an alliance that is urging the Justice Department — which has launched a formal inquiry into the deal — to oppose it under the grounds that it is anti-competitive, the NYT reports. (The WSJ has more here).

Microsoft and Yahoo both confirm their involvement to the NYT. Amazon is not commenting, although CEO Jeff Bezos has criticized the settlement very publicly before. “It doesn

2 Responses to “Amazon, Microsoft, and Yahoo Join Coalition Against Google Book Settlement”

  1. When states works that have only just been published with new ISBNs are ‘out of print’ because publishers and authors either can’t (because foreign company with no US bank account) or won’t do a deal with them (because Amazon demand 55% of the list price/rrp, which only encourages publishers to raise the list price artificially, working against the consumer interest), one wonders how long it would be before simply stating ‘out of print’ – when it is no such thing – would itself be enough to trigger a rights grab by Google, or some other online giant. The abuse of power is staggeringly virulent even among the most apparently forward-thinking and modern of companies. Not only should Google not be allowed to do this, for even suggesting such a wholesale rights-theft they should be shut down. They have gone beyond irresponsible and planted their giant jack-boots squarely in the scary zone of fascist dictatorships. That’s really not overstating the case. This is a hideous, hideous, hideous idea that could only spring from the imagination of the truly soulless. Go away Google. Your pretence as a force for good has now been well and truly exposed as the anti-human tool it really is. You care nothing for art, or talent, or human endeavour, or hopes and dreams. You care nothing for toil and sweat and diligence and individuality and imagination. Someone creates something? So what, let’s steal it and sell it. We get the picture. Screw them; screw anyone naive enough to think their individual effort should be respected in any way. There’s a book out called ‘The Attempted Murder of God: Hidden Science You Really Need To Know’ in which it touches on the rampant greed and callous disregard big business has shown for the ordinary folk of the world and one would never before this have imagined that anyone could reasonably name Google in such bad company. That, sadly, has now changed. We all believed in Google. We all believed it was something special. We viewed the way it treated its employees and championed disaster-relief and recognized noble thinkers and creators from the past on its home page. It was a business, sure it was, and it was about profits, of course it was, but it seemed itself to want to walk that same noble path through history as those it recognized on its site. What a difference a day makes. Google is now history.
    Let’s hope the next online giant doesn’t think they can be so cavalier with people’s talent.
    The only way out of this for Google – and I hope they take it – is to offer a massive apology for the unconscionable cheek and vow never to go near the topic again. Anything less and the damage to their reputation remains and anyone who continues to use Google to search online before they do so is complicit in this same ignoble enterprise. McG Productions Ltd for one is now moving to Microsoft’s Live Search. The vote with the feet is strongest protest of all.

  2. CS Clark

    'so-called “orphan works” that authors have abandoned.'

    No. Orphan works are ones where the copyright owner can not be located with a reasonably diligent search, because the owner can't be found or can't be determined. There is no abandonment, which implies that the copyright owner has chosen to give it up. Why is this so difficult for journalists to get right?