Today in Tech News Digest, Google Books is ruled to be fair use in the eyes of the current copyright laws, Firefox OS is revealed as being more for developing countries than the U.S., the dual-screen YotaPhone gets a vague release date, the credit card-beating Coin is revealed to the world, new Airbnb apps are released, and a PlayStation 4 gets shot to pieces to commemorate its official launch.
Google Books Ruled “Fair Use”
Court finally rules Google scanning books for search purposes is fair use. And duh. 8 years of wasted time here http://t.co/rgpuwJeXwv
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) November 14, 2013
“If Google puts your book online for free, without asking, that doesn’t harm the market for the book.” Surreal. http://t.co/oD0MTSkbxc
— Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans) November 14, 2013
After eight long years of litigation, Federal Judge Denny Chin has ruled that Google Books does not infringe on the copyrights of the authors and publishers who own the works being digitized. Google Books is a project intended to scan 20 million books and make them available in digital form on the Internet. The key factors in determining the ruling were that Google does not sell the scans or make whole copies available. Which means there is little chance of the market for the original work being harmed in any way.
Google said of the verdict, “This has been a long road and we are absolutely delighted with today’s judgement. As we have long said Google Books is in compliance with copyright law and acts like a card catalog for the digital age – giving users the ability to find books to buy or borrow.”
Authors Guild Executive Director Paul Aiken said of the verdict, “We disagree with and are disappointed by the court’s decision today. Google made unauthorized digital editions of nearly all of the world’s valuable copyright-protected literature and profits from displaying those works. In our view, such mass digitization and exploitation far exceeds the bounds of the fair use defense.”
As you can see from these statements, and the tweets embedded above (just two of the many sent in the wake of this ruling) there is very little middle ground on this issue. On one side is Google and advocates of the existing fair use clause in copyright law. On the other side is the Authors Guild and those who feel this goes far beyond fair use and strays into outright theft.
Where do you stand on the issue of Google Books?
Firefox OS For Developing Countries
Firefox phones, that is handsets running on Firefox OS, are already available to buy in the U.S. on eBay, but they’re meant for developers rather than the general public. And according to CNET, Mozilla Executive Chair Mitchell Baker has suggested that U.S. customers shouldn’t hold their breath waiting for any other Firefox phones to go on sale. This is because Firefox OS is meant more for developing countries, where “price is really important.” Baker continued, “Currently, there are no plans to launch in the US.” Which sucks for those of us getting bored of Android and iOS.
YotaPhone Launching In December
The YotaPhone, an intriguing smartphone variant from Russia-based Yota Devices, is due to be launched internationally in December 2013. The YotaPhone features two screens, one being a traditional LCD screen, the other being an E Ink screen perfect for reading eBooks on. TechCrunch may have nailed down a release date for the YotaPhone but there’s still no word on a price. With a standalone Amazon Kindle being extremely affordable the price would have to be competitive to persuade people to buy a YotaPhone instead.
Coin: One Card To Rule Them All
Coin is the cleverly named electronic device that its creators hope will replace all of your existing credit cards, debit cards, gift cards, and membership cards. It works by storing all of your card information on the one device, as managed by its companion app. Coin is being crowdfunded in order to raise the money needed to bring this clever idea from concept through to reality. A single Coin card will retail at $100 once commercially available, but is $50 for those willing to gamble at this early stage of development.
New Airbnb Apps Arrive
Airbnb, the company which acts as the go-between for people looking to rent or rent out their properties, has released brand new apps built from the ground up. Both hosts and travelers have new features to play with, including a hosting mentor, dynamic images, and the chance to build communities with other users in the local area.
PS4 Shot To Pieces
And finally, on the day that the PlayStation 4 has finally launched after months of anticipation, YouTuber RatedRR, who we previously saw destroying a new iPad Air, can be seen shooting up the new Sony console. That PS4 is not going to be repairable, which is a shame as it could have gone to a good home (such as mine). Still, the experience of seeing a bullet wiping out the PS4 in super slow-motion will keep Xbox One fans entertained while they wait another week for their console of choice to turn up.
Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks
Image Credit: Brad Lindert