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Why buy a cookbook if Google makes it free?


pounce
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I wanted to share something cool and interesting, but also sort of disturbing. The new Google Print search is very cool. This search engine allows you to seach through thousands of books for certain words or phrases and then presents the info in page fomat. A cool thing you can do is search by ISBN number to get a specific book. Once you have the book you can search the specific book for words or phrases. Now the disturbing part...If you are an author of say "Cooking books" and your books are indexed by Google people can very easily read your entire recipe's.

Here is how you do it...

  1. Go to http://print.google.com
  2. Enter an ISBN number. For this example lets use "0898159970" - Kitchen Sessions With Charlie Trotter (I had to pick a victim)
  3. Click the search button.
  4. Now that you have the search result (the book) click on the link.
  5. On the next page look for the "Search within this book" box and enter "salt" and click the GO button.
  6. Now what you have is a list of links to pages. Pick "Page 28" and click on it.
  7. What do you see? You see the pages from the book for "Warm asparagus soup with goat cheese" including ingredients and instructions. Scary or cool depending on who you are.

If you are an author of cooking books you should be concerned and your publishers should be concerned. If you want to do something about your book being searchable go here: Google Print Library Project Exclusion Registration and Information for Publishers about the Library Project

Why buy a book if you can easily scrape the contents from Google Print?

My soup looked like an above ground pool in a bad neighborhood.

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That is the same argument that was used against lending libraries, records, radio, television, and video casettes when they were introduced. The critics said they would cause the death of books, live music, cinema etc. Who would buy a book if you can borrow it from a library? Who would go to a live band if you can hear the music on record?

In practice the opposite happened. Making the content available online actually increases sales.

If you are a cookbook author you should complain if the contents are NOT available online...

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The recipe for most anything you can imagine is already available for free online. People don't buy cookbooks because they have no other way of getting recipes. People buy them because they are objects that have many kinds of value -- a unique package that no other medium can reproduce completely.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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There are many agurments going on right now on the Google Print topic. There are a number of lawsuits as well. The Authors Guild representing 8000 authors is suing Google for copyrite infringement. I think there is a lot of grey area personally. I like the feature. I like being able to read the recipes or portions of books. I personally don't know if it will effect my buying habbits or not. I buy used most of the time anyway ;) But take for instance the rules on this site. We can post ingedients, but cannot post the methods verbatim. Google is showing you enough information that many authors think it's a copyrite infringment. The biggest issue I have with it is that you don't opt into the program. You have to tell Google you don't want your books in the database. They force you to go to the effort to request removal.

For the record you can also sign up to have your books added to the search index so like Jackal10 says if you are an author that wants your books available in all detail you can do that too.....

I'll keep scraping the recipes :)

Edited by pounce (log)

My soup looked like an above ground pool in a bad neighborhood.

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You can make a lot of convoluted arguments as to why things like this, file sharing of copyrighted material, etc., are legal but, well, they aren't. I do think it's unlawful and that Amazon is going to lose or settle on a much more restrictive opt-in-type arrangement. That, however, is not necessarily the solution that serves the interests of authors, publishers or the public. Right now there's a gap -- at least I think there is -- between what the intellectual property laws require and what actually makes sense. (eGullet Society management takes the position that we need to follow the law even when there are honest differences of opinion about the law's appropriateness in particular instances).

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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In practice the opposite happened. Making the content available online actually increases sales.

During one of the many Napster hearings, a mother testified that her son downloaded a bunch of Beatles tunes, then asked for the complete CD collection for Christmas, and she fulfilled the request.

S. Cue

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Which of course doesn't make it one iota more legal. But it is still an important point, which may lead to refinement of the current legislation (or lack thereof) regarding "fair use."

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Interesting albeit short analysis by Electronic Frontier Foundation's Fred von Lohmann.

He basically points out that under the traditional four fair use factors, 3 favor google and one favors neither side.

there's a further link to a paper by Jonathan Bland, which I haven't read yet.

Edited by Silly Disciple (log)

We''ve opened Pazzta 920, a fresh pasta stall in the Boqueria Market. follow the thread here.

My blog, the Adventures of A Silly Disciple.

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I have hundreds of cookboods, magazines, and online access to thousands of recipes. And yet I just ordered 6 more cookbooks. Having online access to those books would not have kept me from buying them.

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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I often think that no electronic medium, no matter how flashy or easy to access, will ever take the place of a book you can curl up with. To some degree, I like the idea that you can peruse a few pages of a book before you purchase. A very few.

Unfortunately, the internet has made it incredibly easy to pilfer information. Since copyright laws differ around the world (please correct me if I'm wrong, Steven), there is barely any way to track it, and little that can be done when it does happen. When I see our recipes and photos pilfered, my blood boils (is a link so difficult?).

Gray area or no, I agree that the law is the law. Just because it's easily accessible does not mean someone should feel free to take it.

Jennifer L. Iannolo

Founder, Editor-in-Chief

The Gilded Fork

Food Philosophy. Sensuality. Sass.

Home of the Culinary Podcast Network

Never trust a woman who doesn't like to eat. She is probably lousy in bed. (attributed to Federico Fellini)

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Google's best argument will be that they're only going to let people see a few sentences of copyrighted works. If so, maybe it's fair use, maybe it isn't -- there's something to argue about there. But if it can easily be hacked, or if later the information is utilized differently, it starts to look a lot more like just scanning a copyrighted book and putting it online.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Google's best argument will be that they're only going to let people see a few sentences of copyrighted works. If so, maybe it's fair use, maybe it isn't -- there's something to argue about there. But if it can easily be hacked, or if later the information is utilized differently, it starts to look a lot more like just scanning a copyrighted book and putting it online.

Yeah, I agree. It will at least be (yet another) interesting test of copyright law. Google is indeed taking steps to protect the material from being easily copied/printed, and while any fairly savvy user will find ways to scrap it, it seems it does put it out of reach for a big chunk of the audience.

Edited by Silly Disciple (log)

We''ve opened Pazzta 920, a fresh pasta stall in the Boqueria Market. follow the thread here.

My blog, the Adventures of A Silly Disciple.

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Google's best argument will be that they're only going to let people see a few sentences of copyrighted works. If so, maybe it's fair use, maybe it isn't -- there's something to argue about there. But if it can easily be hacked, or if later the information is utilized differently, it starts to look a lot more like just scanning a copyrighted book and putting it online.

Yeah, I agree. It will at least be (yet another) interesting test of copyright law. Google is indeed taking steps to protect the material from being easily copied/printed, and while any fairly savvy user will find ways to scrap it, it seems it does put it out of reach for a big chunk of the audience.

Actually, I don't think that recipes can be copyrighted. In Martha Stewart's first book Entertaining, she ripped off a bunch of recipes from Julia Child and that Chinese lady (sorry, cannot remember her name) for the Chinese cocktail party. When confronted with this (I am paraphrasing Just Desserts and Martha Inc), she told her publisher that recipes cannot be copyrighted and that her husband, Andy (a lawyer), had double-checked that, but to be on the safe side, Martha changed some of the wording. :wacko:

S. Cue

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From the US Copyright Office:

A mere listing of ingredients is not protected under copyright law. However, where a recipe or formula is accompanied by substantial literary expression in the form of an explanation or directions, or when there is a collection of recipes as in a cookbook, there may be a basis for copyright protection. Note that if you have secret ingredients to a recipe that you do not wish to be revealed, you should not submit your recipe for registration, because applications and deposit copies are public records. See FL 122, Recipes.

I guess that means that technically, with the changes to her recipes, Martha was correct.

Jennifer L. Iannolo

Founder, Editor-in-Chief

The Gilded Fork

Food Philosophy. Sensuality. Sass.

Home of the Culinary Podcast Network

Never trust a woman who doesn't like to eat. She is probably lousy in bed. (attributed to Federico Fellini)

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The Copyright office of the US Government says specifically "A mere listing of ingredients is not protected under copyright law. However, where a recipe or formula is accompanied by substantial literary expression in the form of an explanation or directions, or when there is a collection of recipes as in a cookbook, there may be a basis for copyright protection."
That's from recipezaar.com and may be a bit self serving, but it's pretty much the basis for the policy we've adopted here as well.
You can make a lot of convoluted arguments as to why things like this, file sharing of copyrighted material, etc., are legal but, well, they aren't. I do think it's unlawful and that Amazon is going to lose or settle on a much more restrictive opt-in-type arrangement.  That, however, is not necessarily the solution that serves the interests of authors, publishers or the public. Right now there's a gap -- at least I think there is -- between what the intellectual property laws require and what actually makes sense. (eGullet Society management takes the position that we need to follow the law even when there are honest differences of opinion about the law's appropriateness in particular instances).

We also take the ethical position that the creator and the copyright holder of the work are entitled to decide how it's used and when and where it's published. Many good arguments are made that it would be in the author's or publisher's best interest to allow free republication of work on a site such as the eG forums. That may be, but we feel it's the author's right to decide how and where his work may be used, or what's in his best interest.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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We also take the ethical position that the creator and the copyright holder of the work are entitled to decide how it's used and when and where it's published. Many good arguments are made that it would be in the author's or publisher's best interest to allow free republication of work on a site such as the eG forums. That may be, but we feel it's the author's right to decide how and where his work may be used, or what's in his best interest.

Also, if I understood the EFF's article, eGullet would not be in the same position as google is regarding the strength of their "fair use" claim.

We''ve opened Pazzta 920, a fresh pasta stall in the Boqueria Market. follow the thread here.

My blog, the Adventures of A Silly Disciple.

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The quote from the US copyright office is explicit; list of ingredients are not copyright but thre text is.

An analogous case to the Google one, which I believe would be both fair use and useful, would be to construct a master index of recipies accross all cookbooks, together with short descriptive extract, For example (this is one of my own recipies in Recipegullet)

English Cheese and Onion Pie..................................r915 Recipegullet

While pissaldiere is excellent, an English cheese and onion pie is the other way up, with the pastry on top. Sometimes a plate pie with pastry and bottom, or even a cheese and onion pastie, with the pastry folded round the filling and crimped

I often wish I had a complete listing of all recipes in my cookbook library ("where did I see that recipe for green tomato ketchup?")

How about this for a community project eG?

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I tried to print a page from Charlie Trotter's cookbook but couldn't. Maybe I was doing something wrong, or maybe Google is set up to not allow this. I'm sure there are many people that would rather buy the book than to have to copy each recipe by hand.

I'm not sure how I feel about this service. Amazon allows you to preview a few pages before buying a book and I think that's a great service. But it is different to have access to the whole book from the comfort of your home.

I don't compare it to libraries because libraries account for thousands of book sales for an author as every library wanting to offer the book has to buy it. Google will give access to billions of people worldwide without contributing to author sales (unless a customer decides to buy the book).

Also, in some countries every time a library patron borrows a book authors are paid for the royalties they did not get because the person didn't buy the book. Although this doesn't affect US writers, this Google service will be available worldwide and eventually could affect writers in those countries.

In the grand scheme of things, this may not have a huge impact on sales. I think a much bigger threat is bargain bookstores because people know if they wait a while, they'll be able to pick up that book for $8 at a bargain bin instead of $25 at the bookstore. Bargain store sales rarely count towards an author's sales or royalties, and while this may not affect the Charlie Trotters of the world, it impacts a lot of other authors.

On the other hand, if I started photocopying Charlie Trotter's book and handing it out free to everyone I met, I don't think it would take long before his attorney would be knocking on my door.

And, of course, any controversy would be avoided if Google obtained a license for the books before putting them on the internet.

Edited by TPO (log)

Tammy Olson aka "TPO"

The Practical Pantry

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I tried to print a page from Charlie Trotter's cookbook but couldn't. Maybe I was doing something wrong, or maybe Google is set up to not allow this. I'm sure there are many people that would rather buy the book than to have to copy each recipe by hand.

<snip>

And, of course, any controversy would be avoided if Google obtained a license for the books before putting them on the internet.

a) They explicitly disable printing and copying

b) The library service has two parts. The part you are using, where the whole page is displayed is explicitly opt-in; the publishers have to give permission. That is not contreversial since the copyright owners (for example the publishers of Trotter's book) have given permission.

There is a seperate search service based on the content of various libraries that displays only a few sentences around the search phrase. Since this is not an opt in service it has generated some controvesy, but in my view it is fair use.

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I tried to print a page from Charlie Trotter's cookbook but couldn't. Maybe I was doing something wrong, or maybe Google is set up to not allow this. I'm sure there are many people that would rather buy the book than to have to copy each recipe by hand.

<snip>

And, of course, any controversy would be avoided if Google obtained a license for the books before putting them on the internet.

a) They explicitly disable printing and copying

b) The library service has two parts. The part you are using, where the whole page is displayed is explicitly opt-in; the publishers have to give permission. That is not contreversial since the copyright owners (for example the publishers of Trotter's book) have given permission.

There is a seperate search service based on the content of various libraries that displays only a few sentences around the search phrase. Since this is not an opt in service it has generated some controvesy, but in my view it is fair use.

Thanks for the clarification. I can't believe how many publishers signed on to this, even the tiniest little publishers have whole books on there. Even my little publisher has my books on there. But it looks like Google makes it very easy for publishers to sign on.

I haven't seen any of the ones with only a few sentences, so I'm not sure how much of an excerpt they offer. I think this would service could make researching a lot easier, but on the other hand, if I wanted to use an excerpt of a book I would have to get the publisher's permission, so I don't see anything wrong with making Google follow the same rules.

Tammy Olson aka "TPO"

The Practical Pantry

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It's trivial to enable prining of the Google Print pages. If you run Firefox for your browser installing an extension like GreaseMonkey along with a user script like Google Butler (which is useful in removing adds and whatnot from Google search results) enables printing of the pages. I was already running this so I didn't notice the printing was disabled for other browsers.

One has to wonder about what precident publishers are setting by making the pages of their books available this way. If 85-90% of a books scanned pages are viewable and generally printable (nothing is secure on the web once you have it on the client), what claim might these same publishers have for copyright if I start handing out the pages or putting them on MY website? Because Google is large they are the only ones to reap the benifits of being able to publish copyrited material without paying? I suppose Google will say they are providing a service to the publishers that opted in for full book scans and search results. If there was truely a way to secure the pages when viewing on the web that would be no different say than viewing a book at the book store. You can sit in a book store all day and read the book if you wanted. But Google is not completely protecting the works from duplication like a book store or library does by not allowing duplication. Kinko's even enforces copyrite a lot of the time. One of the reason people aren't copying a lot of book is that it's expensive and time consuming to make a few hundred copies. Now that Google has taken the care to do the scanning and put a useful interface on the content how easy is it for a person to duplicate a fair amount of useful content without paying? Easy.

Restrictions on Use of Authorized Content. Google will use commercially reasonable efforts to (a) limit the total number of pages of each Authorized Work viewed by any end user in connection with Google's search services to 20% of the Authorized Content of any Authorized Work per 30 day period and (b) disable "right-click" cut, copy and paste functions, and printing of Authorized Content; provided, however, that Google does not guarantee that its efforts to prevent or limit the actions stated above will in every instance be effective.

Am I violating the copyrite of a work if I store the image of book page on my computer? If I view a page on Google print the file goes into my browser cache and lives on my computer. If I view all the available pages of book on Google print these pages are on my computer. Did I violate the copyrite of the book by duplicating the book to my computer by simply viewing the pages? If I print the pages is that a violation? I don't know. I haven't found where Google is telling the user they can't print or don't have the right to print what they are viewing.

I applogize if this is getting off the topic of food etc. I really think that cooking books are impacted due to the nature of having a recipe in only a few pages that are returned by the search..

Edited by pounce (log)

My soup looked like an above ground pool in a bad neighborhood.

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Cookbooks are also beautiful physical objects which some people actually like to own...

On the copyright side of things, all of this is quite caught up in the indefinite-ness of the fair use rules. While there have been court cases (though not the Supreme Court) that have held that even a copying of a computer program into RAM (e.g. to run it) implicates the monopolies granted to a copyright owner, there is a lot of uncertainty that lawyers can argue about for a long time to come as to how the statutory grant of fair use must play out. So to your question about viewing pages of a book on Google, the answer is probably both you and Google have violated the publisher's copyright, unless it is fair use.

Google has the resources and the will to experiment and push at the boundaries. Good for them. The copyright system is quite out of balance as it is and needs some renovation... maybe this will instigate that. After all, it's not quite just that you could be slapped with a six-figure judgment for looking up a recipe on Google, is it? Under current law, that's possible...

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Why buy a book if you can easily scrape the contents from Google Print?

I work with computers all day. The very last thing that I want to do when I get home is turn on another computer. I sincerely hope that we never go to electronics books in my lifetime or, god forbid, online cookbooks. I wouldn't be able to do it. Physically. But I love my paper cookbooks and scanning their pages for recipes is restful after a long work day.

M. Thomas

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