October 25, 2005 9:01 PM PDT

Microsoft to offer book search

In the wake of lawsuits filed against Google, Microsoft said on Tuesday that it would join a competing and less controversial library book digitization project sponsored by Yahoo and Internet Archive.

"Given the copyright issues going on right now, it's a dicey time," said Danielle Tiedt, general manager of search content acquisition at MSN.

Google faces two lawsuits alleging that the search giant is violating copyright law by scanning and digitizing all or parts of the collections at the libraries at universities such as Harvard, Stanford, Oxford and Michigan, plus The New York Public Library. Last month, the Authors Guild filed suit against Google, and last week, the Association of American Publishers also sued.

Although Google says it will offer only a few sentences from books that are copyright-protected, unless the copyright holder gives permission to show more, the lawsuits allege that making copies by scanning the entire works violates the copyright law.

To avoid such problems, the Yahoo-Internet Archive project, to be run by the Open Content Alliance, will digitize only texts in the public domain, except where the copyright holder has expressly given permission. The project also will make the index of digitized works searchable by any Web search engine, unlike Google, which will be the only search engine for the books it digitizes.

"Principally and philosophically, we are aligning with the notion that intellectual property should not be proprietarily owned by any commercial company," Tiedt said.

Microsoft has committed to paying for the digitization of 150,000 books in the first year, which will be about $5 million, assuming costs of about 10 cents a page and 300 pages, on average, per book, she said. Yahoo has said it will pay for digitization of 18,000 books, according to Tiedt.

Internet Archive, a nonprofit formed to offer access to historical collections that exist in digital format, will digitize the material.

Microsoft's MSN Web site will launch its MSN Book Search service next year and will experiment with different business models, such as pay per page, monthly subscriptions, selling e-books and advertisements, Tiedt said. "The business model will change, depending on whether (the book) is out of copyright or in copyright," she said.

MSN will offer more than the simple search of the books. For instance, the company may offer services such as allowing people to annotate works, create discussion groups and move text into productivity applications, Tiedt said.

Microsoft and Yahoo may or may not share books with each other that have been digitized, she said. "We are working on global collections."

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Project Gutenberg
Hasn't anyone heard of Project Gutenberg and Bartelby.com? Hungary offers two (at least) digitized book sites one MEK offers classics of Hungarian and world literature as well as outstanding non-fiction, and irodalakademia.hu offers a great collection of contempoprary Hungarian literature. I guess with so few people reading Hungarian they are more concerned with people reading than with copyrighting. There's a big difference between reading on a computer and holding a book in your hands--and it's quite possible that having started a book in computer mode you will actually want to buy it.
Posted by irwinbarry (3 comments )
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Good move! A Sign of Moving Toward Future Concept Search Technology
This news, including Yahoo's timely action on digitizing published contents (books etc.), echos my voice which was posted on C/net not long ago (<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.cbsi.com/5208-1024-0.html?forumID=1&#38;threadID=10289&#38;messageID=75550&#38;start=-174" target="_newWindow">http://news.cbsi.com/5208-1024-0.html?forumID=1&#38;threadID=10289&#38;messageID=75550&#38;start=-174</a>) . It is about a sign of first wave on Search Technology moving toward to more deeper layer, which is Concept Searching. If you JUST think that it is the only goal to make "grabbing the words out of every book" much more efficiently by digitizing all of them, you need think again. Remember, here's the Law No.1: Everybody has only 24 four hours a day, 7 days a week; and has limited life-span (100 years)". Law No.2: Everybody has limited reading speed and comprehension capability. Therefore, human do not need too many to read and comprehend by him or herself; however, everybody wants understand much enough to have a balanced life. Balanced life means that being educated but not overwhelmed by knowledge; being productive but not over stressed; so on and so forth....
What does this has anything to do with "Concept Search Technology"? The quick answer is that if you can get answers (not just web link, and not just those hazy wording from the books etc.), do you choose to get answers by lengthy reading on your own, or pick Concept Searching. I believe that you will choose the latter, unless you take reading only a joy, not a way of communication. It sounds absurd already.

For more in-depth discussion, please visit my web site: www.Condonology.com

Good Future!

Hua Fang, MD
Posted by Codonology (27 comments )
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OK here is our business plan
Microsofts business plan:
Do what Google does, but try to do it better.

(Q) So where does all of Microsofts research and development billions go?

(A) Probably in implimenting their copycat products and bloating them out in order to spend the research budget and to keep those tubby Microsofties employed.

The conclusion is that Google is lean, light, and efficient and Microsoft is synonymous bloat.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
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