Google Book Search Draws More Legal Action
Google’s controversial campaign to scan and digitalize library collections for online viewing on its Internet search engine continues to raise objections and claims of piracy from the publishing world.
According to the Agence France-Presse news agency, another publishing group--this time French publisher La Martiniere--filed suit Tuesday against the Internet giant for indexing the company’s titles without first obtaining permission. La Martiniere, owner of France’s Le Seuil, Switzerland’s Delachaux and Niestle, and the United States’ Harry N. Abrams, contends that even if the company is only showing portions of a work online, it still constitutes an infringement of copyright.
More than 100 La Martiniere books have been digitized by Google, the publisher stated.
The project in question--Google Book Search, known until November as Google Print--has taken heat since its introduction in October 2004. At issue is Google’s mission to make two or three pages of millions of copyright-protected text and the full text of books in the public domain available for viewing by its users. While Google already pulls excerpts from copyright-protected Web sites to preview their content in Web searches, book publishers have criticized and condemned the book project.
The Association of American University Presses has repeatedly raised objections to the project since its inception.
“We disagree with their case, which we will contest in court,” Google said in a company-issued statement. “Google Book Search helps users find and buy books--not read or download them for free.”
This most recent copyright-related suit against Google France and its parent U.S. company, Google Inc. is just one of several currently in litigation against the Mountain View, Calif.-based company. The Association of American Publishers (AAP) filed a lawsuit--on behalf of McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education, Penguin Group USA, Simon & Schuster and Wiley--in October claiming infringement of copyright. In September, the Authors Guild and three authors filed their own copyright infringement suit.
According to Google representatives, its company policy is to exclude items publishers do not want as part of the search if Google is told to exclude them. That policy--issued in August 2005--has also come under fire.
La Martiniere’s suit is not the first time Google has caught flak for its project in France. France’s National Publishers’ Union (SNE), an organization which represents 400 publishers, has threatened legal action as well.
Yahoo! and MSN also have begun scanning projects, but have not received the criticism Google’s has because those projects focus on only using sources of public domain and works where permission has been granted.