August 12, 2005 5:26 AM PDT

Google pauses library project

Google will temporarily stop scanning copyright-protected books from libraries into its database, the company said late Thursday.

The company's library project, launched in December, involves the scanning of out-of-print and copyright works so that their text can be found through the search engine's database. Google is working on the project with libraries at Stanford University, Harvard University and other schools.

The plan has come under fire from several groups, including publishers, who object to what they claim are violations of their copyrights.

Google said on its blog late Thursday that, following discussions with "publishers, publishing industry organizations and authors," it will stop scanning in copyright-protected until November, while it makes changes to its Google Print Publisher Program.

The publisher program also involves scanning copyright books. In that program, books are scanned--at the publisher's request--to let Web searchers view excerpts from books, critics' reviews and other book data, with links back to publishers' Web sites or other places where the books are for sale.

Google said it is adding new features that will let publishers submit a list of books that, when scanned through the library project, will be added to the publisher program. It is also adding a feature that lets publishers present a list of books that should not be scanned through the library project.

"We think most publishers and authors will choose to participate in the publisher program in order (to) introduce their work to countless readers around the world. But we know that not everyone agrees, and we want to do our best to respect their views too," Google said on its blog.

Google declined to comment. (Google representatives have instituted a policy of not talking with CNET News.com reporters until July 2006 in response to privacy issues raised by a previous story.)

But Google's move apparently did not satisfy all publishers' concerns regarding the project.

"Google's procedure shifts the responsibility for preventing infringement to the copyright owner rather than the user, turning every principle of copyright law on its ear," Patricia Schroeder, CEO of the Association of American Publishers, said in a statement.

"Many AAP members have partnered with Google in its Print for Publishers Program, allowing selected titles to be digitized and searchable on a limited basis pursuant to licenses or permission from publishers," she said. "We were confident that by working together, Google and publishers could have produced a system that would work for everyone, and regret that Google has decided not to work with us on our alternative proposal."

6 comments

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Stop playing these silly kid's games
Stop with the "Google representatives have instituted a policy of not talking with CNET News.com reporters until July 2006 in response to privacy issues raised by a previous story." thing aleady. You make yourself sound like little kids. I am not saying Google is right, but how are businesses supposed to take you seriously when you play these games.
Posted by wwhit710 (22 comments )
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On the Contrary
I appreciate CNET shining a bright light on Google's absurd behavior.

Keep rubbing it in.
Posted by (6 comments )
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opt out!
The 'opt in' works great in a society where people publish more than they read.

The public domain is poluted. There is no way to know what is fair game unless you buy it and there is no possible way a person could become literate if they had to buy everything they read.

Has the public domain been reduced to freely viewable advertisements?

Thank good for newspapers. Being able to preview ~40 articles and read ~5 selected articles for 50 cents or a buck is as much as a literate person should have to pay when they are paying.

Literature is to be read, not bought and sold like the deeds of mansions.
Posted by (1 comment )
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Too Funny
I think that Google has hit every avenue possible in the copyright realm. They need to check with everyone before continuing this things, they wonder why they always have these issues?

I also love how "Google declined to comment." It is hilarious how immature their acting about that ordeal.
Posted by lowter (21 comments )
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Why?
Why was what Google did funny or wrong? They posted confidential information about the guy in public. Yes, this was found through Google. But just because Google has the ability to find such information, doesn't mean it's right to do so. An illustration: Just because a gun can be used to kill someone, doesn't mean it's right to.
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