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