Schmidt Defends Google Print

    October 27, 2005

Google is currently embroiled in a bitter battle with publishers over their Google Print entity. A lawsuit filed last week by the Author’s Guild and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) challenged Google over their Print plans. During a speech in Tokyo, Google CEO Eric Schmidt called the lawsuit a “routine part of doing business.”

Computerworld quoted Schmidt’s speech, “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. “[It’s] probably not very common in Japan but it’s routine in the United States.”

The lawsuit is over copyright infringements. The two groups are seeking to stop Google’s Print program. The goal of the program is to put as many of the world’s books in a searchable database as possible. Schmidt claims the all their trying to do is to catalog all the books and make them available for purchase.

Schmidt went on to discuss other lawsuits tied to Google Print, including their construction of a digital card catalog of sorts. These all seem a bit excessive but Schmidt is right about the cost of doing business. When a company makes big moves like Google does, good or bad, they attract attention. People start looking and may have real problems with the entire process and that’s what Google is running into now.

In the end though, this is as much about self-determination for intellectual property as anything. Google has an admirable goal of making books more available to the masses and at the very least increasing awareness of those volumes but authors and publishers have the right to determine the future of their works. They have the right to tell Google or any other company or group or individual no if they don’t want their words to be counted. It’s pure self-determination. In the end, Google should back off and respect that.

John Stith is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.