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Google Print Continues Amid Controversy

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Google will resume scanning in-copyright works today at partner libraries as part of its Google Print for Libraries program. The project was temporarily suspended after author and publisher outrage over potential copyright infringement so the search company could negotiate the terms.

In the negotiations, Google reiterated that authors and publishers could “opt out” of the 10-year, $200 million project to scan and index all of the world’s printed words.

Negotiations broke down with the Association of American Publishers (AAP) after Google refused to utilize the widely adopted International Standard Book Number (ISBN) system at the AAP’s request.

The AAP later filed suit against Google for copyright infringement. This lawsuit joins another earlier lawsuit filed by the Authors Guild in late September.

Google has maintained that the project will not violate copyright infringement as only snippets of copyright text will be made available centered around search terms. Google believes authors and publishers will benefit from the program as links to where searchers can buy hard-to-find or relatively unknown works will be provided.

But critics have maintained from the beginning that scanning copyright works without author or publisher permission is unacceptable on principle, even if they stand to benefit.

In Japan, Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently downplayed the spate of lawsuits filed against his company over the project, which will include collections from Stanford, Harvard, Oxford, the University of Michigan, and the New York Public Library.

“Google has as its mission to organise all of the world’s information. Not everyone agrees with that and in the American legal system if you disagree you get sued, so we get sued every day,” he says. “[It's] probably not very common in Japan but it’s routine in the United States,” said Schmidt.

Routine or not, Google is taking the issue very seriously, hiring star international policy analyst Elliot Schrage to work with issues surrounding book search and user tracking. Schrage, as pointed out by Search Engine Journal’s Loren Baker, was Senior Vice President of Global Affairs at the Gap, where Schrage “worked to clean up the company’s image as a sweatshop tyrant.”

The Google Print project is getting deeper and deeper into tricky territories. Last Spring, France’s National Library president, Jean-Noel Jeanneney gathered up a long list of other European government officials against the project, saying that Google’s effort was too “Anglo-Saxon” in nature.

Also not so routine was last week’s letter to Congress from the National Consumers League (NCL) requesting a Congressional hearing on the project as, from the League’s estimation, it was a violation of federal law.

Google has not responded to requests for comments on the NCL’s correspondence with Senators Lamar Smith and Orrin Hatch.

Google Print Continues Amid Controversy
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  • http://www.seethrureviews.com/Sit-Stay-Fetch-Book-Reviews.html Secrets to Dog Training

    I think the Google Print is a great initiative to get all printed words available to the public. As long as it is only snippets that are being available in the SERPs then it shouldn’t be a problem. It will actually help authors get their works out to the public and make some extra sales.
    Peter