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Google Working to Revise Digital Books Settlement

The Justice Department’s filing on Friday, echoing other critics, said that the settlement could give Google a virtually exclusive license to millions of out-of-print “orphan books,” whose rights holders were unknown or cannot be found, making it impossible for anyone else to build a comparable digital library; the interests of some class members, including authors of orphan works and foreign authors, might not have been adequately represented; and the efforts to notify class members about the settlement might have been inadequate.

But unlike some of the more strident opponents, who have argued that the settlement is so flawed that it must be rejected, the Justice Department said it hoped the accord could be fixed so that its benefits — most notable the unprecedented access to millions of out-of-print books it would offer — could be achieved. And it said the parties appeared willing to make changes to address such concerns.

Laying out a path forward, the department said some of its antitrust concerns could be mitigated by “some mechanism by which Google’s competitors’ could gain comparable access to orphan works.” And it said that concerns about the fair representation of some authors could be addressed if some rights for Google to profit from out-of-print books were granted only if their authors agreed, rather than by default.

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Google developing a micropayment platform and pitching newspapers: “‘Open’ need not mean free”

More
‘no evil’ play by overgrown toddlers?!

Google is developing a micropayment platform that will be “available to both Google and non-Google properties within the next year,” according to a document the company submitted to the Newspaper Association of America. The system, an extension of Google Checkout, would be a new and unexpected option for the news industry as it considers how to charge for content online.

The revelation comes in an eight-page response to the NAA’s request for paid-content proposals, which it extended to several major technology companies and startups. It’s surprising, given the newspaper industry’s tenuous relationship with Google, that the company was involved at all.

In the document, which you can download here, Google outlines its “vision of a premium content ecosystem” that includes subscriptions across multiple news sites, syndication on third-party sites, accessibility to search, and various payment options, including small fees for access to individual pieces of content (known as micropayments). ()

I skipped to the end of the document curious to check the business model –Wow! any traslators of Evil-english to English around?

Business Model
Software and support services are typically provided at no charge. Google will be happy to host content and supply the bandwidth necessary to serve content. There may be a charge for additional professional services, depending on the extent of the support necessary and thevolume of views anticipated. Current models on revenue sharing for the selling of content typically involve a percentage of each sale to Google in order to cover maintenance, bandwidth, processing charges, and profit margin. The Android Marketplace is the most prominent example of this model. The revenue split is comparable to Apple’s models on iTunes and AppStore and consonant with experiments being currently conducted on YouTube.

I wouldn’t trust Google with my personal info

When I read in the pages of this newspaper this month that the Conservative Party was planning to transfer people’s health data to Google, my heart sank. The policy described was so naive I could only hope that it was an unapproved kite-flying exercise by a young researcher in Conservative HQ. If not, what was proposed was both dangerous in its own right, and hazardous to the public acceptability of necessary reforms to the state’s handling of our private information.

There are powerful arguments for people owning their own information and having rights to control it. There are massive weaknesses in the NHS’s bloated central database and there are benefits from using the private sector. But there are also enormous risks, so we are still a long step from being able to give personal data to any company, let alone Google.

Google is the last company I would trust with data belonging to me. In the words of human rights watchdog Privacy International, Google has “a history of ignoring privacy concerns. Every corporate announcement has some new practice involving surveillance”. It gave Google the lowest possible assessment rating: “hostile to privacy”. It was the only company of the 20 assessed to get this rating. It also said Google was leading a “race to the bottom” among internet firms, many of which did little to protect their users.

This highlights how careful we must be in using private companies to handle personal data. Actual and potential misuse of such data will be a recurrent public concern of the next several decades. This is because of the huge commercial value of a near-monopoly internet presence, combined with legally unfettered use of personal data. This is what gives Google a market capitalisation of $130 billion (£79 billion). It represents the value of exploiting its customers’ private data for commercial ends.

There is little the state can do about this. It cannot cut back Google’s monopoly, because it arises properly from the fact that Google provides a service people want. The state should impose some limits on how personal data is managed, anonymised and used, but that is a slow, technically difficult and international process. We should not disapprove of the profitability of Google, but we should recognise that the size of its profits have a dramatic effect on corporate behaviour.

It was the prospect of huge profits that pushed Google into its amoral deal with China and drove its high- handed approach to the intrusion on people’s privacy with Streetview. ()

(via Paul Gilroy)


Google One-Ups Bing With Creative Commons Image Search (GOOG, MSFT)

Take a chill pill readers –this blog still adheres to the time-honoured concepts of traditional copyright and fair use. =) But as Bruno would have said ‘I just found ze photo zo-o-o-Fire-Exit!':

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Google launched a Creative Commons search feature on its image search service, the company said in a blog post today.

Specifically, Google added a “Usage Rights” filter to its advanced image search feature. Search results can be filtered by “labeled for reuse,” “commercial” reuse,” “reuse with modification,” and “commercial reuse with modification.”

Until now, bloggers used Flickr and other image sites to find content they could re-post under Creative Commons licenses. Google’s new feature, in theory, adds much more inventory.

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Google Drops a Bomb: Its Own Operating System

Mere hours ago, Google did something that’s pretty surprising, and that will impact the netbook, and maybe PC market: It announced its own operating system, Chrome. It’s open source.

Google announced the news on its blog, setting a clear agenda for all to see. “The operating systems that browsers run on were designed in an era where there was no web,” it said in the post, noting that Google Chrome OS–which will be based on the pretty successful Chrome browser–will be Google’s “attempt to re-think what operating systems should be.”

That sounds bold, but Google has a lot of brain power available to make it true. The OS will be open source, lightweight and have “speed, simplicity and security” at its core.

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Priced to sell

Malcolm Gladwell on Chris Anderson’s “Free”:

The digital age, Anderson argues, is exerting an inexorable downward pressure on the prices of all things “made of ideas.” Anderson does not consider this a passing trend. Rather, he seems to think of it as an iron law: “In the digital realm you can try to keep Free at bay with laws and locks, but eventually the force of economic gravity will win.” To musicians who believe that their music is being pirated, Anderson is blunt. They should stop complaining, and capitalize on the added exposure that piracy provides by making money through touring, merchandise sales, and “yes, the sale of some of [their] music to people who still want CDs or prefer to buy their music online.” To the Dallas Morning News, he would say the same thing. Newspapers need to accept that content is never again going to be worth what they want it to be worth, and reinvent their business. “Out of the bloodbath will come a new role for professional journalists,” he predicts, and he goes on:

There may be more of them, not fewer, as the ability to participate in journalism extends beyond the credentialed halls of traditional media. But they may be paid far less, and for many it won’t be a full time job at all. Journalism as a profession will share the stage with journalism as an avocation. Meanwhile, others may use their skills to teach and organize amateurs to do a better job covering their own communities, becoming more editor/coach than writer. If so, leveraging the Free—paying people to get other people to write for non-monetary rewards—may not be the enemy of professional journalists. Instead, it may be their salvation.

Anderson is very good at paragraphs like this—with its reassuring arc from “bloodbath” to “salvation.” His advice is pithy, his tone uncompromising, and his subject matter perfectly timed for a moment when old-line content providers are desperate for answers. That said, it is not entirely clear what distinction is being marked between “paying people to get other people to write” and paying people to write. If you can afford to pay someone to get other people to write, why can’t you pay people to write? It would be nice to know, as well, just how a business goes about reorganizing itself around getting people to work for “non-monetary rewards.” Does he mean that the New York Times should be staffed by volunteers, like Meals on Wheels?

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*Free: The Future of a Radical Price (Hardcover) by Chris Anderson

“Beyond Google”

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Situer Google pour mieux le critiquer

Google a pris trop d’importance dans notre quotidien pour ne pas le prendre au sérieux, c’est-à-dire avec autant de lucidité que d’humour, sans s’arrêter aux clichés de tous bords et auscultant toutes les faces de son ” être “. Google, aussi paradoxal que cela puisse paraître, a une réalité politique. Trop capitaliste pour être libertaire, et trop libertaire pour être bêtement capitaliste. Google est-il donc libertarien ? Mais alors, de quel côté penche-t-il ? Google est devenu le parfait modèle du management post-fordiste, y compris en Europe. Travailler dans le Googleplex de Mountain View ? Aux Etats-Unis, les étudiants en rêvent, et savent à quel point il est compliqué d’y être embauché. Larry Page lui-même, l’un des deux fondateurs de l’entreprise, veille à ne pas laisser passer une embauche sans son imprematur, au final d’un parcours de gladiateur tant pour les ingénieurs et programmeurs que pour les gens du marketing. Google, encore et surtout, c’est une ” nouvelle ” nouvelle économie, qui déplace la question de l’accumulation du capital fixe au capital intellectuel. C’est le plus brillant des avatars de l’économie de la contribution, reposant sur la connaissance vivante et volontiers critique de chacun bien plus que sur son porte-monnaie. Google, enfin, c’est un imaginaire en actes. C’est un monstre souriant, de l’ordre de la machine pensante, qui cherche sans cache misère à réaliser les rêves de ses fondateurs. Google, peu le voient, est un héritier de l’intelligence artificielle forte de la fin des années 1950. Fi des ordinateurs !, le monde de Google est déjà ” post-PC “. Internet sera partout, invisible et omniprésent comme l’électricité ? Alors Google sera partout, comme Internet, et son IA robotique sera votre meilleure amie.[

” Beyond Google “…

Comment ne pas préférer Google, cet ami trop gentil pour être honnête mais d’une belle subtilité, aux pesants patrimonialistes de ladite loi Hadopi ? Le premier nous est utile, là où il ne vaut mieux rien dire des seconds (pour rester poli). Sur ce registre de la lutte contre la ringardise (elle aussi en actes), Google peut être un allié, certes terriblement dangereux, mais tactiquement intéressant. Ne serait-ce qu’à cause de sa puissance et de ses indéniables visées tentaculaires, Google mérite une critique radicale, mais à sa hauteur. Lui-même l’a compris, et accepte sans (trop) sourciller les volontés de régulation d’organismes comme la Cnil. Il a trop besoin des internautes pour les vendre sous forme de bases de données. Dès lors, ne serait-il pas réjouissant de répondre à l’imaginaire démiurgique de Google par un imaginaire se nourrissant de nos pratiques de programmation, de nos détournements et autres sauvageries artistiques ? Pour mesurer à quel point les miroirs Google ou Facebook nous déforment, et passer, comme Alice, au-delà, il nous faudrait sans doute des sages, et surtout des fous de Google, de Facebook et des vrais ou faux amis du Web 2.0. Enfin, n’oublions jamais la fugacité des technologies et de leur domination. Qui se souvient de Netscape, de Napster ou de Kazaa ? ” Beyond Google “, il n’y a peut-être déjà plus Google, promis, qui sait ?, à tomber dans la botte de Noël de nos équipements communs, simple annexe d’un Internet ayant appris à coder le sens bien au-delà des mots.

Bezos: We’ve got issues with Google Book Search
(Just like the rest of us, dear!)

“There are many forces of work looking at that and saying it doesn’t seem right that you should do something, kind of get a prize for violating a large series of copyrights,” Bezos said.

Bezos was speaking at the conference, which had the subtitle “Disruptive by Design,” to talk about Amazon’s legacy of shaking up the retail industry and now potentially the publishing industry with its Kindle e-reader device. Most of his talk was focused on the sort of business advice that one might expect a tech company to provide to a room full of big-business and old-media types (“be stubborn on the big things and very flexible on the details,” “you have to be willing to be misunderstood for long periods of time”), but he did get a few minutes to talk about how he thinks the Kindle is changing things.

Use Their Work Free? Some Artists Say No to Google

While some online publications, like Salon and Slate, hire illustrators, many rely on free or cheap stock illustrations, so illustrators are on tenterhooks about making a living online.

The fact that print publications are shrinking or folding also troubles illustrators.

“There’s a lot of concern that newspapers and all of print is becoming a bit of an endangered species,” said Brian Stauffer, an illustrator based in Miami whose work has appeared in publications including Rolling Stone, Esquire and Entertainment Weekly, and who also rejected Google’s offer. “When a company like Google comes out very publicly and expects that the market would just give them free artwork, it sets a very dangerous precedent.”

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Searching for a levy

Advertisements aired on television and radio, or run on billboards or in print products, are regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and advertisers pay a levy – typically 0.1% of their annual marketing budgets – to fund the ASA’s system. However, while the ASA regulates all paid-for online search advertising – the sponsored links that pop up on the right-hand side of a browser window on Google, for example – no levy is paid on the cost of that advertising. And that has become a sticking point.

The ASA is keen to widen its remit to allow it to regulate the content of company websites that consumers are finding through search engines. But it needs search advertisers to begin paying into the levy system in order to fund such an extension.

Now Google and the rest of the £2bn UK search-marketing industry stand accused of not working to develop the broader code of online self-regulation demanded by the government, or exploring ways of funding it. For Google, which made a staggering $21bn in global revenues last year, the latest row only adds to the increasing scrutiny and criticism it is getting from other media organisations for its expansionist activity.