Google And The Digitization of The Planet's Books

by Lee Gesmer on November 27, 2005


    “Imagine the cultural impact of putting tens of millions of previously inaccessible [books] into one vast index, every word of which is search able by anyone, rich and poor, urban and rural, First World and Third, en tout langue — and all, of course, entirely for free.”

    Eric Schmidt, Google CEO
    “Mr Schmidt fails to mention that Google’s intent . . . is to make even more money. . . . Can it be so greedy that it seeks to bolster it profits by freely exploiting the rights of publishers and authors?”

    Patricia Schroeder, President, American Association of Publishers

The legal controversy over Google’s plan to use a proprietary high speed scanning process to copy (to start with) the entire book collections in the libraries at Michigan, Stanford, Oxford, the New York Public Library and Harvard, whether or not a particular book is under copyright, and to require copyright owners to notify Google if they wish to “opt out” of this program, has reached fever pitch.… Read the full article

Copyright Law and The Da Vinci Code

by Lee Gesmer on November 9, 2005

Copyright. Copyright law is often called the “metaphysics of the law,” as judges labor to decide whether one work is enough like another to constitute copyright infringement. Often this involves arcane legal tests that few people, beyond copyright lawyers, care to think about. But, most of us read novels, and when one writer says, “your novel is so similar to my novel that it infringes my copyright,” we think, “that’s not so hard, I can decide that!” And, when one of the books is The Da Vinci Code (ranked 44th in books at two and one-half years after publication), the chances are good that you, patient reader, have read one of the books that was the subject of just such a case. To see how a New York federal district judge decided the case in which Lewis Purdue, the author of Daughter of God and the Da Vinci Legacy, accused Dan Brown, the author of The Da Vinci Code, of copyright infringement, click here.… Read the full article

Copyright, DMCA. My partner Joe Laferrera has written a Client Advisory discussing the 8th Circuit’s decision in Blizzard Entertainment v. Jung, where the court held that the defendant’s efforts to reverse engineer Blizzard’s Internet gaming network in order to provide a competing, alternative network had (a) violated Blizzard’s shrink-wrap agreement, which prohibited reverse engineering, and (b) violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

This is an important case in the rapidly developing jurisprudence of the DMCA. As well, it demonstrates once again the courts’ apparent willingness to enforce shrink-wrap licenses, and to permit copyright owners to use those licenses to override rights otherwise permitted by the Copyright Act.

  • Read the case here.
  • Read the Advisory here.
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Copyright. Sexy: Internet file sharing systems, Grokster, sampling, The Wind Done Gone, fair use, the legal standard for non literal infringement of computer source code.

Not sexy: copyright protection for parts numbering systems.

Yet, believe it or not, from time to time clients do ask whether parts numbering systems are protected.

Lewis Clayton at Paul Weiss has written an article (published in the July 8, 2005 issue of the National Law Journal), discussing several recent cases dealing with parts-numbering systems and the “merger doctrine” under U.S. copyright law.

  • Read the article here
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