Google Issues Subpoenas to Rivals

Google has issued subpoenas to some of its biggest competitors, including Yahoo!, Microsoft, and Amazon, as part of its defense against the copyright lawsuit it faces over its library project. Earlier, McGraw Hill and the Authors Guild, along with other publishers and authors, had slapped a copyright lawsuit against Google over its project to digitize libraries of four major US universities, as also parts of the New York Public Library, and the Oxford University libraries. These publishers allege that Google is violating copyrights in the course of completion of its library project, and that the only thing driving the company is economic self interest.

Meanwhile, a separate project dubbed "Open Content Alliance" enjoys the whole-hearted support of these very publishers who dragged Google to court. Conceived by Yahoo! and backed by Microsoft, the Open Content Alliance also seeks to digitize content from all over and make it available to readers online, the only difference being they claim to have explicit permission from copyright holders for doing so. While the group of publishers claims Google has no right to copy literature without explicit permission, Google vehemently denies any kind of copyright violation, saying that only "snippets" of books are being made available to the public, and that publishers can opt-out if and when they want to.

And now, it looks like Google has managed to turn the tables around... According to latest reports, Google has issued subpoenas to Yahoo!, Microsoft, Amazon, etc, asking them to provide descriptions of their projects, plus documents to prove that they have legal rights to the books included in their projects. The papers have been reportedly filed in the US District Court in New York. Going a step further, Google says the information will be used for the purpose of litigation only since the company needs descriptions of all book projects by competitors, besides proof the competitors own rights to reproduce this content. Also, the company assures competitors about the safety and confidentiality of their information.

News source: Techtree

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4 Comments

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Libraries are usually more keen on academic advancement than other for-profit organizations, so even if there's no direct benefit to a library it's still very reasonable that they will help Google, seeing that cooperation as a indirect benefit to the library and its goals in promoting books and knowledge.

As to whether Google is wrong. No they are not. There is fair use exemptions to copyrights and Google is well within the fair use limits.

The problem is that libraries pay liscences and stuff so that the public doesnt have to buy the book .

What google is doing is wrong. Why should your tax dollars go to pay for the books when google can do it for free.

Also Libraries do not make that much money from fines at late fees.

My library is only projected to make $48,000 in 2007 from late fees, That isnt even enough to pay my salary let alone anybody elses.

Yes I work in a library and I know these things.

It is up to the libraries if they wish to cooperate with the Google Library Project though, not Google that rips the books out of their hands and scans them. How do these agreements look like anyway? Do libraries get something in return for cooperating? I can't see many libraries helping out Google with this if there wasn't something in for them.

Here's what some people in the same business as you think about this:
http://books.google.com/googlebooks/partners.html

Also note that Google's library partners are almost exclusively university libraries.

Individual authors can opt-in for the Book Search services for book promotion.

this is awesome i love that google is starting to fight this kinda crap... get off it, i can go to a lirbrary and get access tot he same copyrighted material for free.. if i lived in any city that google has scanned, i would be allowed to read MORE then google is giving me.. In fact google is just allowing me to search those resources, and makes me GO there or buy it to make nay real use of the content they have..

This is a VERY smart move on there part.

Bassically saying hey, if what we are doing is illegal, those others BETTER be doing it VERY legally!

Thank you google!
And keep up the good work.

I mean common... 1 paragraph, from a 300 page novel ISNT copyrigth infringment.. Librarys make money on late fees and other services, not on loaning out the book

google doees the same.. they arent charging YOU

they are charging someone to sponser the server space BASSICALLY

And thats fine