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Sunday, September 25, 2005

Google Print - digitization gone awry?

Google thought it had a great idea when it decided to digitally index millions of scanned library books for its project, Google Print. After all, the plan would not only be a service to online researchers but would help authors and publishers by raising awareness of their books. Unfortunately, for Google, the authors and publishers do not appreciate this altruism. As a matter of fact, they believe that Google is being self-serving in creating another venue to increase its web presence. But what has really gotten Google in trouble is that it began this project without first getting permission from said publishers and authors to scan the copyrighted text. The oversight has earned a lawsuit against the number one search engine.

On September 20, the 8,000-member Authors Guild filed a complaint in a federal New York court to enjoin Google from scanning copyrighted material without permission as well as recover damages. Google's policy giving authors and publishers the chance to opt out of the project didn't go over well, either; authors complain that the policy puts the onus on the copyright owner rather than the user.

The publishing industry is paying particular interest to the case. There still may be a chance that Google can reach an amicable settlement with the complainants. Still again, it might wend a long road to the Supreme Court, which might take years. A lengthy case could derail Google's plans.

In its defense, attorneys for Google argue that its project falls under the "fair use" law as users can only see portions of the copyrighted material. No matter, some say. Even given Google's good intentions and the argument of fair use, they believe the project will set a dangerous precedent regarding copyright protections.

This case is just one of several against the giant. In March, France-Presse filed a suit seeking copyright damages arising from pictures and story summaries on Google's News Search. And in August, Perfect 10, an adult entertainment company, filed an infringement suit because Google's Photo Search had photos from Perfect 10's website. Also, TV networks have expressed their displeasure about Google Video which records and stores TV programs.

Here is a screenshot of a Google Print search I found. The book is David Weaver's Black Diva of the Thirties: The Life of Ruby Elzy. (click pic for a larger view)

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Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 9/25/2005 03:31:00 PM Permanent Link     | | Home


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