E-books going mainstream? Getting “Napsterized?” and “Advantage Google”

Really eye-opening (to me, anyway) article in the Sunday Business section of today’s New York Times:

DIGITAL DOMAIN
Will Books Be Napsterized?
By RANDALL STROSS
As the hardware for electronic books moves closer to the
mainstream, publishers wonder whether their industry can be
spared the potential problems of piracy.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/04/business/04digi.html?th&emc=th

From the story:

Free file-sharing of e-books will most likely come to be associated with RapidShare, a file-hosting company based in Switzerland. It says its customers have uploaded onto its servers more than 10 petabytes of files — that’s more than 10 million gigabytes — and can handle up to three million users simultaneously. Anyone can upload, and anyone can download; for light users, the service is free. RapidShare does not list the files — a user must know the impossible-to-guess U.R.L. in order to download one.

This has significance, according to Mr. Stross, because e-books are going mainstream:

. . . E-book hardware is on the verge of going mainstream. More dedicated e-readers are coming, with ever larger screens. So, too, are computer tablets that can serve as giant e-readers, and hardware that will not be very hard at all: a thin display flexible enough to roll up into a tube.

And be sure to read Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society fellow Lewis Hyde’s essay in the New York Times Book Review today, “Advantage Google.”

Nothing in the history of copyright permits the treatment of ‘orphan’ works spelled out in the proposed settlement.

E-book advocates highlight content evolution

Story in today’s Financial Times:

E-book advocates highlight conent evolution

By Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson

From the story:

But the technology and pricing of e-readers is changing fast, as devices from Interead, Hearst and Plastic Logic, backed by retailer Barnes & Noble, join Amazon and Sony’s brands.  Forrester Research expects the US e-reader market to grow from 1m units to 12m by 2012 as new devices offer wireless connections, touch screens and, in time, colour displays.

Changing fast, but not fast enough.  Today classes begin for 1Ls here at Stanford, and already one professor is reporting that the bookstore does not have sufficient copies of the casebook available.

There’s also a related front-page story from today’s paper:  “French book publisher warns of Google-Amazon pricing threat.  Deep cuts being forced,” says Hachette chief.  By Ben Hall in Paris.

For more www.ft.com/mediachallenge

Buyer’s E-Morse: ‘Owning’ Digital Books

From today’s Wall Street Journal:

The Wall Street Journal, Thursday, July 23, 2009, p. A11

CURRENTS

Buyer’s E-Morse: ‘Owning’ Digital Books

Purchasing Electronic Tomes Online Gives Readers Fewer Legal Rights to Share and Resell Than Hard-Copy Customers Enjoy

By Geoffrey A. Fowler

. . .

Sharing e-books puts libraries in a particular pickle. The Seattle Public Library has purchased 30,000 e-books and digital-audio books for its patrons to borrow. But those e-books don’t reside anywhere at the library. Instead, it has a continuing license to them provided by a company. In exchange for maintenance fees and a full purchase price for each e-book, Overdrive Inc. runs lending systems for Seattle and 9,000 other libraries.

When a patron wants to check out an e-book, Overdrive allows them to download a copy with software that causes the file to become unreadable after a due date — after which another patron can check out that “copy.”

. . .

But there are strings attached: Overdrive’s books can be read on computer screens and on Sony’s Reader device, yet aren’t compatible with Amazon’s Kindle — . . .
And should Overdrive ever go out of business — or should something happen to its centralized collection — the Seattle library’s huge e-book collection could theoretically disappear . . .

Google Books in the News

European Union to scrutinize Google Books settlement; Congress may hold hearing

“The European Union said today that it would scrutinize Google’s settlement with authors and publishers and hold a hearing Sept. 7 to determine whether there would be any adverse impact on the European book market. “What’s currently planned is a fact-finding exercise by the [European] Commission — not an investigation — and we’re looking forward to taking part,” said Jennie Johnson, a Google spokeswoman. Under scrutiny will be Google’s agreement, reached last year with the Authors Guild and the American Association of Publishers, to make out-of-print books searchable online.”

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2009/07/european-union-to-scrutinize-google-books-settlement.html

 

University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Texas expand Google Books agreements

“In May, the University of Michigan announced an expanded agreement with Google that will take advantage of our settlement agreement to make millions of works from its library collection accessible to readers, researchers, and book lovers across the United States. Today, two more longstanding library partners–the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Texas–have also expanded their partnerships with Google. That means that if the agreement is approved by the court, anyone in the US will be able to find, preview and buy online access to books from these two libraries as well.”

http://booksearch.blogspot.com/2009/07/university-of-wisconsin-madison-and.html

 

Google Library Project Settlement: What It Means for Publishers

SPONSORED BY: Google, The Association of American Publishers, and Publishers Weekly 

EVENT DATE: Wednesday, July 29, 2 pm ET Time — 60 minutes 

“In a webinar first, the leaders involved with the crafting of the Google Library Project Settlement will share with the publishing industry the benefits of the agreement for publishers and authors. If approved by the Court in October, the agreement will create one of the most far-reaching intellectual, cultural, and commercial platforms for access to digital books for the reading public, while granting publishers unprecedented opportunities and protections. Presented in collaboration with Google, The Association of American Publishers, and Publishers Weekly, the web session is a must-attend event for publishers everywhere.”

https://event.on24.com/eventRegistration/EventLobbyServlet?target=registration.jsp&eventid=156420&sessionid=1&key=7EF08275BD027B4FA08C48D022C8087D&sourcepage=register

 

Copyfraud: Poisoning the public domain

“The public domain is the greatest resource in human history: eventually all knowledge will become part of it. Its riches serve all mankind, but it faces a new threat. Vast libraries of public domain works are being plundered by claims of “copyright”. It’s called copyfraud – and we’ll discover how large corporations like Google, Yahoo, and Amazon have structured their businesses to assist it and profit from it.”

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/06/26/copyfraud/

 

Give Your Input On the Google Book Search Settlement

“Publishers Weekly would like your input on the Google Book Search Settlement (from PW) and they are conducting a survey designed to gather a broad view of how the Settlement is being viewed.. . . . If you’re interested, take a few minutes to answer this brief, targeted questionnaire to help gauge industry opinion on whether the settlement should be approved, modified or rejected. Note that you do not have to have standing in the suit to participate in the survey. Please click on this link when you are ready to take the survey.”

http://lisnews.org/give_your_input_google_book_search_settlement

 


 
Source:  The always excellent Intersect Alert.
The Intersect Alert is a newsletter of the Government Relations Committee, San Francisco Bay Region Chapter, Special Libraries Association

http://units.sla.org/chapter/csfo/csfo.html

E-books in the news

The Wall Street Journal, Tuesday, July 21, 2009, p. B1, Barnes & Noble Challenges Amazon’s Kindle, by Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg and Geoffrey A. Fowler.

“The biggest news here is the multi-channel integration of [Barnes& Noble’s] physical store and e-book store via the iPhone ,” said Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst with Forrester Research Inc. “It makes use of B&N’s biggest asset: the brick-and-mortar store.”

. . .

Mountain View, Calif.-based Plastic Logic is targeting its e-book reader for the business audience, . . .

 

The New York Times, Tuesday, July 21, 2009, p. B1, “Barnes & Noble Plans An Extensive E-Bookstore,” by Motoko Rich.

. . . Barnes & Noble said that it would offer more than 700,000 books that could be read on a wide range of devices, including Apple’s iPhone, the BlackBerry and various . . .  computers. . . .

More than 500,000 of the books now offered electronically on BN.com can be downloaded free, through an agreement with Google to provide electronic versions of public domain books that Google has scanned from university libraries. Sony announced a similar deal in March to offer the public domain books on its Reader device.

Why won’t Amazon let us share eBooks?

Larry Magid in his “Digital Crossroads” column in today’s San Jose Mercury News (p. c3) asks “Why won’t Amazon let us share eBooks?” and he reports on a couple of library efforts to circulate books via the Kindle.

I’m bothered that Kindle books can’t be loaned out or sold, but that is a solvable problem. The Northern California Digital Library (http://ncdl.lib.overdrive.com) has solved the lending problem for books that can be read on PCs and Macs, or audio books that can be listened to on computers or iPods.

. . .

As far as I know there’s no way to lend a Kindle book, although Brigham Young University experimented with lending out Kindle book readers with books on them. Unfortunately, BYU suspended the program until it hears from Amazon as to whether that’s OK. “Being a library, we will follow the rules and until the rules are clear we will wait,” university spokesman Rogen Layden told the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The University of Nebraska at Omaha has nine Kindles that it loans out to patrons. For awhile, there were funds to purchase books for patrons but the money ran out. Patrons can still borrow Kindles, but if the title they want isn’t on it, they’re out of luck.

. . .

It seems to me that libraries should be able to buy licenses for Kindle books and loan those out to patrons to read on borrowed Kindles or their own devices. . . .

. . .

 

Law Books on Kindle

“Amazon will sell continuing education legal books from the Practising Law Institute on Kindle . . . ”

The Wall Street Journal, Friday, July 10, 2009, p. B6

Amazon’s Kindle to Sell Law Books

By Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg

 . . . the three-volume “Art Law,” by Ralph E. Lerner and Judith Bresler, carries a Kindle price of $220 instead of the $275 print list price, while the Kindle edition of “Copyright Law: A Practitioner’s Guide,” by Bruce P. Keller and Jeffrey P. Cunard, is priced at $236, a 20% discount from the $295 print price.

. . .

The PLI said 67 of its 90 titles are now available in the Kindle format. “Our average book is easily over 1,000 pages, and a number are multivolume sets, . . .

. . .

Traditionally, lawyers buy PLI books whose binders allow them to insert new material and discard the old. PLI customers typically receive annual supplements priced at $125. With the Kindle, users will be able to delete old versions of their texts and substitute new books. The digital editions are also searchable.

. . .

Digital Statutory Supplements for Legal Education

 

“Digital Statutory Supplements for Legal Education” 

 

C. STEVEN BRADFORD, University of Nebraska College of Law

MARK HAUTZINGER, affiliation not provided to SSRN

Law students spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year on statute books or statutory supplements for their courses. These statutory supplements, notorious for their weight and bulkiness, are compilations of subject-specific statutes and regulations, most of which are publicly available at no charge. This article discusses the advantages of digital statute books, details how the authors created a digital statute book that was used in two securities regulation courses, and evaluates the result of that experiment.

 

Source:  LSN Law Educator: Courses, Materials & Teaching Vol. 5 No. 12, 06/19/2009

ICTY Manual on Developed Practices

The United Nations has published the “International Criminal Trinunal for the Former Yugoslavia Manual on Developed Practices.”  The manual is a synthesis of best practices for prosecuting individuals for human rights violations.  The text includes the following chapters: 

Investigation

Indictment

Arrest Warrants

Pre-Trial

Trial Managementl

Trial Judgement Drafting

Appeals

Enforcement of Sentences

Referral of Cases to Domestic Jurisdictions

Judicial Support Services

Legal Aid and Defence Counsel Issues

 

ICTY Manual on Developed Practices

http://www.icty.org/x/file/About/Reports%20and%20Publications/manual_developed_practices/icty_manual_on_developed_practices.pdf

From the Introduction to the Manual:

As the ICTY proceedings draw to a close, it has become increasingly important to emphasize the shared responsibility of international and national jurisdictions in the prosecution and prevention of war crimes, and crimes against humanity and genocide. The close cooperation between international and domestic courts is essential to maintaining the radical departure from a culture of impunity and to fostering a culture of accountability. In this perspective, one should view the completion of the ICTY’s mandate as a strategy devised to allow the continuation by domestic actors of the activities that were initiated by the ICTY. The ICTY’s pioneering role and its unprecedented body of practice and case law will be its most significant achievement, and the continuation of its work through the local prosecution of war crimes by courts in the region its real legacy.

However, criminal proceedings for violations of IHL at the domestic level will only succeed if domestic institutions have sufficient resources and adequate capacity to handle complex criminal trials of this nature. The purpose of this Manual is to contribute to this process of capacity-building by sharing the ICTY experiences and established practices in the prosecution and adjudication of complex cases. Other international and mixed jurisdictions will also benefit from this work, so that the know-how developed by the ICTY may provide some guidance on the challenges of delivering justice.

The Mediated Book

“The Mediated Book”

U of Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 463

RANDAL C. PICKER, University of Chicago – Law School

Text in hand, we have read books by candlelight, oil lamp and Edison’s incandescent bulb, maybe even the occasional CFL. But even as light itself has changed, the book has remained constant. Until now. With the rise of Google Book Search and ebook readers like Amazon’s Kindle, we have entered the era of the mediated book. We will still browse and read books, but we will do so through a screen.

This is more than just a change in medium. Digital texts are inherently on-demand works, that is, works that can be produced at the instant that a consumer wishes to interact with the text. Physical books historically have been printed in batched runs in advance of demand. This fact of production matters relatively little for the texts themselves, as we typically want books to be fixed, reliable artifacts.

This changes matters for how we finance books. On-demand texts can be financed through advertising. Printing in advance means that embedded advertising has little chance of being relevant at the point of reading. Mediated texts can be updated instantly with new, continuously timely advertising. That advertising also can be personalized for individual readers as the interaction between the mediating device and the reader will create a rich information stream to enhance the relevance of this advertising. That process of course will raise standard privacy issues.

The short history of 20th Century advertising expenditures in the United States is characterized by two facts. First, overall expenditures as a percentage of GDP are relatively constant over time, bouncing around over the last sixty years between 1.5% and 2.5%. The emergence of new advertising platforms – say radio in 1927; broadcast TV in 1949; cable TV in 1980; and the Internet in 1997 – hasn?t altered that essential fact. The emergence of another new platform – advertising-supported books – isn’t likely to expand overall advertising expenditures much if at all. Second, print?s advertising market share has declined steadily, from roughly 55% of advertising dollars in 1935 to a little under 21% in 2007.

Mediated content accounts for a large chunk of that decline. Now books and of course print more generally will be mediated too. And we will get a nice test. Does the decline in the role of print as seen in advertising dollars reflect the decline of words relative to images and sounds? Or is this a story not of content but of technology, in which a mediated platform is a better advertising platform? The rise of the new mediated books will change how we finance books and will change our understanding of the relative roles of content and technology in driving advertising.

 

Source:  LSN Cyberspace Law Vol. 14 No. 32,  05/26/2009