October 19, 2005 9:37 AM PDT

Publishers sue Google over book search project

The Association of American Publishers has filed a lawsuit against Google, alleging the Internet company's plans to scan and digitally distribute the text of major library collections would violate copyright protections.

The group filed suit after lengthy discussions with Google's management about the company's Print Library Project broke down, the AAP said on Wednesday.

As part of the project, Google is working to scan all or parts of the book collections of the University of Michigan, Harvard University, Stanford University, the New York Public Library and Oxford University. It plans to let people search the texts. The company also intends to sell advertisements related to such searches.

"The publishing industry is united behind this lawsuit against Google and united in the fight to defend their rights," AAP President and former Colorado Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder said in a statement. "While authors and publishers know how useful Google's search engine can be and think the Print Library could be an excellent resource, the bottom line is that under its current plan, Google is seeking to make millions of dollars by freeloading on the talent and property of authors and publishers."

The AAP suit follows a similar action by the Authors Guild, which sued Google last month over the library project. Other groups, including the Association of American University Presses, have also criticized the book-scanning plan.

Google has defended itself, saying the project is fully consistent with the fair-use doctrine under U.S. copyright law, which allows for excerpts in book reviews. The company said in August, however, that it would temporarily halt the project to respond to concerns. It plans to resume the project on Nov. 1, AAP said.

The AAP suit seeks a declaration by the court that Google commits infringement when it scans entire books covered by copyright and a court order preventing Google from doing so without permission from copyright owners. The group filed the suit on behalf of McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education, Penguin Group, Simon & Schuster, and John Wiley & Sons.

"Google Print is a historic effort to make millions of books easier for people to find and buy. Creating an easy-to-use index of books is fair use under copyright law and supports the purpose of copyright: to increase the awareness and sales of books directly benefiting copyright holders," said David Drummond, Google's vice president of corporate development and general counsel. "This short-sighted attempt to block Google Print works counter to the interests of not just the world's readers, but also the world's authors and publishers."


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The Real Fact about publishers
This is a ridiculous set of lawsuits. The whole premise of the book industry, much like the RIAA, is that they get one good snippet from a book or a CD out there and then someone buys the whole rest of the item only to be absolutely dissappointed. (Especially now that the brick and mortar stores are giving way to the internet shops.)

This action by Google makes these people work harder to make a quality product and truly earn their millions.

This is a capitalist economy, so why is it so difficult for the publishers of media to accept that users have a right to be fully informed of what they are buying? The only answer I can come up with is laziness and greed.
Posted by (5 comments )
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bet you download music for free too so you can preview them before you never buy them
Posted by circpro (3 comments )
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Drummod said it best
Book publishers are complaining because they think they are going to loose money if anyone can just go online and read a book... Come on people, I am a very tech savvy person, but that doesnt mean that I want to sit in front of my computer screen to read a book. Granted, Google is a public company which needs to make money too. But, not only are they going to foot the bill for the massive scanning project, plus the server, storage, and bandwidth fees, but what they are doing is making knowledge publicly available to all. I know that if I can see exactly what a books about, and if I like the literary style, I am going to be buying more.

Bottom line, this is a good project that Google is undertaking, so why shouldnt they be able to make some cash by doing it?
Posted by Jake Mertel (2 comments )
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It isn't legal to steal for a greater good
No doubt what Google is doing is going to benefit some people. But if you boil this down, the simple fact is that Google is violating copyright law.

Why is that so hard for people to understand?

Let's say you are a painter, and Google sees your work in a gallery. They take a picture of it and put it online, and make money selling ads when people view your work that Google had no right to reproduce.

By your arguments, this is ok, simply because Google made your work accessible to more people.

Posted by NickEP (11 comments )
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So they're upset Google will make money off advertising their works?

So if say, Best Buy sells lots of iPods and takes out a full page ad to advertise them, but makes an agreement with Griffin or Belkin for $$ to put their product pictures next to their iPod premium advert - that that is illegal? I think not. Or a $$ marketing deal that puts their products in premium space next to the iPod on the sales floor?

These guys should join the RIAA *****-fest about getting money from iPod sales since their content makes iPods popular.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
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not posting the work online...
Google is not posting the work online for anyone to download, it is simply letting you search the content to locate the work.
Just like searching for a website, all you see is a minor random and/or splintered fragment of the website to determine it's relevance to you.

Now if Google plans to open the works up to members of the libraries which have the books - I think that could be a big issue - but then I just see Google as a service provider, and the library who is asking them to index/replicate -- the issue should be taken up with the library if their proposed use is infringing. (plus the library probably has less legal resources than Google)

I don't know where authors draw the line, but libraries even providing copy machines in the library encourages copying.
What if you had a music library, people can listen to music in the library or check it out for a few days... but then you provide CD-burners in the same facility?
Sounds like they've been looking the other way for awhile.

Perhaps this all leads to subscription-type licensing for material and the death of physical libraries. Usage of materials merits a pass-through payout to publishers.
Library cards pay for the library and the 1-time cost of books. If you go all-online, no need for physical documents or the facility - turn those library fees into subscription/license fees...

This should be the end goal of Google - just a lot of legal stuff in between, and tricking the libraries along the way.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
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All Publishers should embrace Google and others.
For the publishers, who have vision of seeing future potential of Searching Technology, should embrace what Google is doing on digitizing the contents of "all available" published materials. Such vision involves capability of seeing beyond keyword search technology, namely, "Future Concept Searching Technology".

Concept searching is, somewhat like what Bill Gates put it, to get instant and direct "Answer(s), not web link(s)".

IBM's UIMA (Unstructured Information Management Architectures) is somewhat the first giant step to test the uncharted territories. However, its immediate public release is becoming immediate start of "suicidal process" due to its obvious "conceptual" flaw on understanding the key element, "Concept". To simply put, IBM does not have critically needed in-depth view on What a concept is. Nonetheless, such defectiveness may teach an unprecedented lesson for IBM, and serve as a necessary stepping stone for other company like Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft, which, without doubt, will mightily explore such ever-attracting frontier of Concept Searching Technology.

Now, back to digitizing the contents. Let's assume that we already have had all the contents digitized. Next big step is "structuring into meaning", not just leave them in text format(Natural Language). Getting "meaning" or "concept" from the contents existing in digital format may make a possibly plausible phenomenon, named "Direct Understanding Exchange" ("DUE" in short), happen. If it happens, internet searching experience will be revolutionized to a new level. Upon such achievement, slow and confusing "words to words" traditional human communication will be replaced (gradually) with more efficient manner of "Direct Understanding Exchange". You may speak less and write but understand more.

Regarding the future publishing business, we know that same "meaning" or "concept" can be imbedded in many different contents, including different languages. As a publisher embracing future "Concept Searching" technology, the first and most important thing you do NOT want to do is BLOCKING any intentions and actions of digitization of the published contents.

For the future, of yourself and your company, think again and think hard.

For the readers, who are interested in my personal thought or theory on such matter, please go to my web side: www.Codonology.com

Regard & Good Future,

Hua Fang, MD
Posted by Codonology (27 comments )
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Google Book Search got me to buy a book just last week. I was searching for a particular philosophical phrase that had meaning to me, and the phrase came up in a google book link. The book was so rare that it was not available at my local bookstore (independent nor chain) so I ordered it on Amazon. Everyone wins.
Posted by jorellel (1 comment )
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