Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 25th Apr 2017 19:41 UTC
Google

It was strange to me, the idea that somewhere at Google there is a database containing 25-million books and nobody is allowed to read them. It's like that scene at the end of the first Indiana Jones movie where they put the Ark of the Covenant back on a shelf somewhere, lost in the chaos of a vast warehouse. It's there. The books are there. People have been trying to build a library like this for ages - to do so, they've said, would be to erect one of the great humanitarian artifacts of all time - and here we've done the work to make it real and we were about to give it to the world and now, instead, it's 50 or 60 petabytes on disk, and the only people who can see it are half a dozen engineers on the project who happen to have access because they’re the ones responsible for locking it up.

I asked someone who used to have that job, what would it take to make the books viewable in full to everybody? I wanted to know how hard it would have been to unlock them. What's standing between us and a digital public library of 25 million volumes?

You'd get in a lot of trouble, they said, but all you'd have to do, more or less, is write a single database query. You'd flip some access control bits from off to on. It might take a few minutes for the command to propagate.

You know those moments, when reading about history, where you think "how could these people have been so stupid? Why didn't drinking from, defecating in and washing in the same body of water raise a red flag? Why did people think slavery was an a-ok thing to do? Why did they sacrifice children to make sure the sun would rise in the morning? Were these people really that stupid?"

A hundred years from now, people are going to look back upon the greatest library of mankind, filled with countless priceless works that nobody has access to, fully indexed, ready to go at a push of a button - this invaluable, irreplaceable treasure trove of human culture, and think, "how could these people have been so stupid?"

Order by: Score:
Sacrificing to keep the sun going....
by leech on Tue 25th Apr 2017 19:57 UTC
leech
Member since:
2006-01-10

Well, maybe if we'd kept up that practice, we wouldn't have global warming now!!

Reply Score: 2

Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

Sacrificing involved something really really valuable. Something like your first son, a maiden, your healthier live stock.

Nowadays, what do we have of really really "valuable" ?

Big corporations and their over potent CEOs (ie. Marissa Mayer will get 186 millions out of getting fired after selling Yahoo to Verizon) and corrupt politics that drives our lives crazy.

Bet that getting rid of them would, as a side effect, already lessen the stress in our daily life. And perhaps them take their responsibilities a little bit more seriously.

And for the global warming, less pollution would also help a bit, local markets and trades without implying transporting products all around the world. Do you know what fuels ships ? You'd be surprised to know.

http://www.businessinsider.com/yahoo-employees-get-big-payout-if-fi...

Edited 2017-04-26 04:17 UTC

Reply Score: 5

Gopher
by Ibrahim on Tue 25th Apr 2017 20:15 UTC
Ibrahim
Member since:
2016-11-03

Thom, I had the same sentiment. When the gopher servers started disappearing. Although, Gutenberg and Archive, took up the slack. I often wonder, how much was lost, between the last gopher and when Gutenberg and Archive.org came on the scene.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by tidux
by tidux on Tue 25th Apr 2017 20:31 UTC
tidux
Member since:
2011-08-13

This isn't wholly Google's fault. They'd get DMCA'd out of existence if they made 25 million copyrighted books globally available on purpose. The real problem, as usual with computing, comes back to the copyright cartel. It's this same cartel that published that shrieking Op-Ed in the NYT bemoaning lost profits to Google.

Reply Score: 8

RE: Comment by tidux
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Thu 27th Apr 2017 15:20 UTC in reply to "Comment by tidux"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Yeah Copyright should work like patents. You have to submit the work in entirety which is preserved until copyright expires. Then its free for all uses.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by tidux
by tidux on Thu 27th Apr 2017 18:04 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by tidux"
tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

The same 20 year span would also be good.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by tidux
by Alfman on Thu 27th Apr 2017 18:24 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by tidux"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Bill Shooter of Bul,

Yeah Copyright should work like patents. You have to submit the work in entirety which is preserved until copyright expires. Then its free for all uses.


You know, in a way I think the copyright lobby motivation to keep works out of public domain is the exact same motivation manufacturers have to bar recycling centers from reusing working components. It has absolutely nothing to do with what's good for society and everything to do with getting consumers to spend more by reducing supply.


What I find ridiculous is that the original purpose of copyright had nothing to do with profit, rather it was an incentive for creators to make their works. In terms of copyright theory, profit was a means to an end but not a goal. But now that contract is continually being rewritten in the name of profits even for works that were already incentivized under the previous "contract". It just makes no sense other than pure greed by corporations. Many people go around blaming "the government" for everything but completely overlook the roles corporations have played in making government what it is.

With either political party you've got tons of corporate executives schmoozing with politicians and even giving them some official governmental roles. At the whitehouse it happened with Obama, it's happening even more with Trump, this is all corruption. I don't think the public interests can be properly represented until you kick corporations out of politics. It's people, and not corporations that are supposed to be represented. Unfortunately money has changed that and corporate interests have become more important to lawmakers than social ones. ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by tidux
by dionicio on Fri 28th Apr 2017 13:52 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by tidux"
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

Remembering an old book on social anthropology: The general was assigned to build in a hurry an airway at the island. But many weeks and couldn't convince natives to build it. Being Western and not the classical Asian gorilla, used all the tricks, from chocolate to fantasy jewelry [No, no blue jeans aboard]. Money totally out of the question. Until he abducted their gods made of rock. Strip done in two weeks. SCARCITY -as a deliberate industry- is at the foundation of Capitalism.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by tidux
by dionicio on Fri 28th Apr 2017 14:01 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by tidux"
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

The lobby/industrial effort is to diminish driving abilities among population. Or to render it useless by continuous changes on related technologies and regulations. Scarcity.

Reply Score: 2

jonsmirl
Member since:
2005-07-06

Right now the life of a copyright is somewhere between 120 years and life of the author plus 50 years. During this period you can't do anything to the book without the copyright owner's permission.

Now consider the orphan works problem. Let's say all of the copyright holders are dead and the last copy of the book is rotting away. You still can't legally copy this book until the 120 years is up even if all of the owners are dead! Since they are dead they can't give you permission to make the copy.

You have Sony Bono and the Disney Corp to thank for this. This law was put into place to prevent Mickey Mouse (created in 1928) from going into the public domain. Now Mickey is protected until some time around 2050. And rest assured lobbyists will extend copyright again.

Giving free more or less perpetual copyright to everything is a truly awful idea. This stuff is what culture is made out of and we are losing our culture because of this. The correct solution was to give the first 20 years or so automatically for free and then start charging escalating renewal fees.

Reply Score: 7

Sabon Member since:
2005-07-06

There should be some way to separate people that are dead vs corporations that are continuing to use the subject matter.

For instance, is anyone running a Jules Vern (my favorite author) theme park? No? I think it used to be 50 years after someone was dead. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Since Jules Vern has been dead since the early 1900s it is more than 50 years. So his books should be public domain.

Meanwhile Disney, the creator of Mickey Mouse, is a corporation that is continuing to use the likeness of Mickey Mouse on a day to day business so the Disney Characters that ---are--- being used shouldn't be in Public Domain.

I'm sure there are examples that make this a lot harder. But can't there be something that differentiates like this?

Reply Score: 4

FlyingJester Member since:
2016-05-11

Too bad that corporations are people too.

Reply Score: 4

amrothery Member since:
2011-08-26

I always laugh at Disney's paranoia about what might happen when or if Mickey Mouse might enter the public domain. Mostly because at least one cartoon's already there--"Mickey's Surprise Party," a 1939 short made as a theatrical commercial for Nabisco. It was up to Nabisco to renew the copyright when the time came, and guess what didn't happen? We didn't get a big Mouse-pocalypse, either.

The other reason I laugh is because there are a lot of old Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons in the public domain (including some featuring Bugs, Daffy, and Porky), and it doesn't seen to have hurt Time Warner's ability to make money off of those characters.

Personally, I'm a big fan of both copyright protection for a limited time (the person who comes up with an idea should have the right to earn as much profit from it as he or she can while it's still fresh) and the public domain (because once everyone's heard of something, it should be free for the taking). Also, trademark protection, so that when something like Mickey or Sherlock Holmes turns out to be perpetually popular there's some way to distinguish the "official" new works from someone else's derivative stuff.

Reply Score: 3

JMcCarthy Member since:
2005-08-12

So much has changed since 1939 -- the exposure, the market, it's historical impact, a ton of other factors that that example is borderline farcical.

Reply Score: 2

Adurbe Member since:
2005-07-06

Watch this film and you would wish there was control over the Sherlock Name!
http://m.imdb.com/title/tt1522835/

Reply Score: 2

jonsmirl Member since:
2005-07-06


I'm sure there are examples that make this a lot harder. But can't there be something that differentiates like this?


There is a simple solution for this. After the initial 20 years require that the works be registered and pay an increasing fee with each renewal.

Copyright hoarders respond to this by saying that they have too many individual works to track. Paying the fees and maintaining the registrations is too much of a burden. But they seem to be able to sell copies and collect those fees without a burden, I'm confused?

Note that you don't have to be dead for these rules to apply. Many works can't be copied since all of the joint owners can't be located. Google is doing everyone a service by trying to preserve these books, can we really expect them to track down millions of people fifty years later and ask them for permission?

This is abused all of the time in the music industry. People in the music industry don't bother keeping a correct address on file as to where to send their royalty checks. Then years later they come back with large lawsuits demanding huge penalties for failure to pay royalties. That's because the person using the copyright is supposed to legally track the person down and ask permission first. Spotify even puts these royalties into escrow accounts waiting for the owner, but they still sue anyway.

Reply Score: 2

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

For instance, is anyone running a Jules Vern (my favorite author) theme park? No?


Damn, there should be. I'd go.

Reply Score: 2

dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

Schools shouldn't waste a minute teaching on ANY reserved support material.

Edited 2017-04-26 14:47 UTC

Reply Score: 3

leech Member since:
2006-01-10

I always thought it was 70 years after the author died.

But yeah when there are <Author's name> Foundation that then controls the source material... it's utterly crap.

I think once an author kicks it, books should be 100% free for digital copies, and print copies should be really cheap.

Instead we have digital copies mostly being slightly less in price than the physical one, which is silly.

At least with Project Gutenberg there are some real classics that are no longer under copyright. It's also amazing to see the differences in language from something written by HG Wells vs something written now.

Reply Score: 2

The solution...?
by codifies on Tue 25th Apr 2017 22:18 UTC
codifies
Member since:
2014-02-14

On one hand you want to protect the hard work of authors, on the other hand you don't want it abused by large organisations who want to do as little as possible and charge as much as possible in perpetuity.

Not as bad as but almost the same as the highly abused patent laws.

Although radical some musicians are able to make a decent living just giving away their stuff while asking for a donation, the "true" fans being honest enough to make them a living.

But would this really work with a university text book?

Reply Score: 1

relevant ?
by Lennie on Wed 26th Apr 2017 07:20 UTC
Lennie
Member since:
2007-09-22

I'll be the devils advocate and just ask the question:

How relevant is this information which is kept in these books today ? Does it need to be made available now ? Or will this end up being a similar effort as archive.org ?

"The data volumes are exploding, more data has been created in the past two years than in the entire previous history of the human race."

And a large bunch of it went online, on the web. Freely available to everyone.

What would be a lot more useful is actually being able to point to facts. There is a lot of BS going on.

Reply Score: 4

RE: relevant ?
by alec on Wed 26th Apr 2017 12:17 UTC in reply to "relevant ?"
alec Member since:
2005-09-23

True, most of these "works" are utter rubbish, perhaps useful only to some future anthropologists. And percentage of the junk is getting higher every day.

But it's a separate issue, though an important one.

The premise still stands - the valuable books and scientific papers are not generally accessible. The fact that the numbers may be in hundreds of thousands rather than billions does not make it any less appalling.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: relevant ?
by Lennie on Wed 26th Apr 2017 12:44 UTC in reply to "RE: relevant ?"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

The rights of the scientific papers are not with Google, so nothing Google can do about that.

Reply Score: 2

RE: relevant ?
by dionicio on Wed 26th Apr 2017 14:40 UTC in reply to "relevant ?"
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

Completely. As teaching tools. Almost nothing of what's being written now Will survive the 100 years test, on relevancy. Present is full of future irrelevance.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: relevant ?
by Kochise on Wed 26th Apr 2017 16:10 UTC in reply to "RE: relevant ?"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

Nope, mathematics and physics shouldn't change much, only improves, but the basics might remains.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: relevant ?
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Thu 27th Apr 2017 17:10 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: relevant ?"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Well, depends on the physics. Some of the more bleeding edge stuff hasn't been tested yet. Might not be right, but requires like 100 Billion to test right now, so its still studied and taught.

Edit: In school we had text books with obsolete chapters that we skipped because they were wrong.

Edited 2017-04-27 17:10 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: relevant ?
by Kochise on Thu 27th Apr 2017 21:38 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: relevant ?"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

Yeah, that flat earth stuff and creationism craze. I know your pain.

Reply Score: 2

Your Library is missing books?
by number9 on Wed 26th Apr 2017 11:31 UTC
number9
Member since:
2005-10-25

Knowing someone that works at a library, I think 25 million books is no Library of Alexandria.

https://www.google.com/#q=how+many+books+are+in+the+world+today

They seem to be short at least 100 million books.

Not only that, there are plenty of libraries with more books.

https://www.google.com/#q=largest+libraries+in+the+world

Your point is taken, how about all of them in one place, accessible to all... but 25 million is hardly all of them.

Tangent, here are some beautiful libraries at colleges, some of the libraries are public.

http://www.collegerank.net/amazing-college-libraries/

Reply Score: 2

Not About Money...
by dionicio on Wed 26th Apr 2017 13:57 UTC
dionicio
Member since:
2006-07-12

Oligopolies and Monopolies get to a point where global politics are the reasons. Books use to contain a little more "non-alternative" reality.

Reply Score: 2

Capitalism vs fuedalsim vs slavery
by CaptainN- on Wed 26th Apr 2017 16:14 UTC
CaptainN-
Member since:
2005-07-07

Slavery is just an older economic system than fuedalsim which is an older economic system than capitalism. Yet here we are in 2017 still doing exploitive capitalism. Maybe it's better than slavery and fuedalsim, but surely we can do better. Do you think future us will ask similar questions about why we all tolerated capitalism with all it injustices and exploitations? I hope so.

Reply Score: 3

kriston
Member since:
2007-04-11

The only reason Google is scanning books is to build a corpus for its real goal: the commoditization of Artificial Intelligence.

Reply Score: 1

dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

Welcome To Corporative Reasoning: Is Usually a Network of Them. Those orange peelings from juices, good for "coffee" products. Pulp good for fiber added beverages.

Reply Score: 2

Stupid?
by allanregistos on Thu 27th Apr 2017 00:33 UTC
allanregistos
Member since:
2011-02-10

where you think "how could these people have been so stupid?

You have to learn the culture of the ancient Egyptians why they would have to do this and that, yes sacrificing children is evil, even the Biblical narrative strictly prohibits the Hebrews from marrying the nearby tribes since doing so would enable to them to do those evil things. In ancient times, there are evil sacrifices, rituals like witchcraft(fire walking) idolatry, incense, sexual perversion, child sacrifices etc. So, it is for this reason that the ancient Hebrews settling in Canaan are prohibited for intermarrying those people. The Canaanites dwarfs Egyptians in terms of wickedness.

Reply Score: 3

No reprint or revision for, say, 10 years ..
by acobar on Thu 27th Apr 2017 23:38 UTC
acobar
Member since:
2005-11-15

and it would be granted a right to reproduce to anyone interested, automatically.

It seems reasonable to me.

Reply Score: 2