Spain Passes the Google Tax, And Makes Other Terrible Changes to Copyright Law

7027608495_daeb33feb7_b[1]A new amendment to Spanish copyright law passed the upper house of Spain’s Cortes Generales today, and it is due to become law next year. El Pais reports that the amendment makes a number of revisions to existing law, including the creation of a controversial tax on news aggregators.

The new law makes many problematic changes, including requiring universities to pay fees to a collection society for digital course materials which had otherwise been released under a CC license, but the one I am most interested in today is the tax on news aggregators.  (You can find a complete breakdown on the changes on Google en Espanol.) Continue reading

Google Play Books Updated with New Skim Mode, Better Support for Non Fiction

google play booksGoogle first got its start in ebooks with the often maligned book scanning project, and with the latest update to Google Play Books it is returning to its academic roots.

The tech giant announced a new version of Google Play Books today which features better support for non fiction ebooks. (The apps have not been released as of the time I published this post.) According to Google, the new apps will enable readers to  easily skim an entire book, browse all their notes and highlights, and quickly jump back and forth between different locations in the book. Continue reading

Want to Assemble Your Own eReading Device? Google Shows Off Project Ara Modular Phone Prototype

3[1]The idea of assembling a DIY mobile device has long since fallen out of the mainstream, but if Project Ara is successful then that could change.

For the past couple years Google has been working on, well, they’ve been working on many hardware projects, but the one that has me waiting with bated breath is Project Ara. Continue reading

German Publishers Cave, Grant Google Free Permission to Use Snippets in Search Results

google-germany-logo-06[1]Google’s 4-month-long fight with German news publishers over license fees for search result snippets came to a close today when the publishers threw in the towel.

VG Media, the rights management firm which 200 German publishers had intended to use to collect the fees, announced on Wednesday that they would be granting Google a free license to use the snippets, saying that they were “forced to this extraordinary step, given the overwhelming market power of Google”. Continue reading

Hands On With the Google Nexus 9

2615100_Tinhte-Google-Nexus9-15Google announced their latest Android tablet earlier this week, and while the English language blogosphere is still waiting to touch the winder-tablet a few lucky souls in Vietnam have gotten their hands on this 9″ tablet.

Sforum has posted a hands on video of the Nexus 9. It doesn’t exactly share a lot of the more intricate details, but the video does give a good idea how the Nexus 9 will look in the real world. Continue reading

Google Drive for Education Offers Unlimited Storage for Schools, Students

google_education[1]Google’s well-known for the personal and work services they provide and now they’re getting serious about the education sphere. Earlier today Google launched Drive for Education, expanding the Apps for Education program with unlimited cloud storage – and best of all, it’s free.  Continue reading

Google Launched Newsstand App for iPad, iPhone

google newsstandGoogle’s 10 month old Newsstand app finally made its way to iOS this week. It was released as an update to the Currents app, which is no more.

The new Newsstand app offers many of the same features found in its Android sibling, including a Flipboard-esque interface which combines features of that news aggregator with Pocket-like options to save articles to be read later, resulting in a very pretty app which is intended more to entertain than to inform (this news junky does not approve). Continue reading

Google Play Books Launches In Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, And the Ukraine

google play booksGoogle might not be expanding their ebookstore at quite the same pace as last year but they haven’t stopped. Following the June expansion into Luxembourg, Norway, and 11 Latin American countries, Google Play Books quietly launched in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the Ukraine today.

The expansion hasn’t been announced and in fact it technically has not happened yet, but Android Police noticed that the list of supported countries had been expanded by 4 names. Continue reading

Google Settles with Photographers over Google Books

google play booksGoogle has announced that they’ve settled a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by a group of photographers, rightsholder associations, and affiliated trade groups. The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, but Google’s announcement says that it does not include any admission of liability by Google. Continue reading

German Publishers Lose Antitrust Complaint Against Google

google-is-evil-300x270-1314103412[1]German publishers suffered a major defeat last week in their campaign to force Google to pay for the use of their snippets.

In addition to filing a copyright complaint which demanded 11% of Google’s revenues, in June 2014 a coalition of German publishers also filed an antitrust complaint against Google. That complaint was rejected last Friday by the Bundeskartellamt, the German Federal Cartel Office, which said in a statement (here, in German) that the German publishers had not offered sufficient basis to justify an investigation.
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