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Amazon files objection to Google subpoena

Internet retailer says it won't provide "highly confidential" information on book search tools to aid Google in copyright suit. has declined to hand over information on its book search tools to Google for use in a copyright lawsuit.

The Internet retailer on Friday filed the response and objection to a subpoena Google had filed concerning Amazon's searching and indexing functions for book texts. In the filing at U.S. District Court in Seattle, the company stated that the requested information is "highly confidential, proprietary and constitutes trade secrets."

Amazon also objected on the grounds that the request was "overly broad" and "unduly burdensome," essentially requiring the company to produce "millions of documents."

Amazon directed Google to a list of Web pages where it could find publicly available information on Amazon's book search methods. It included pages like "Search Inside the Book, How It Works" and a news release titled " Works with Publishers to Make Millions of Book Pages Available for Customers to Flip Through."

The subpoenas are part of Google's defense strategy in a lawsuit by the Authors Guild, a group of publishers and authors that includes McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education, Penguin Group, Simon and Schuster, and John Wiley & Sons. Google has also sent . Amazon, however, is the first to file a response on the matter.

Google has decided to scan and index entire libraries of books, regardless of their copyright status, as part of its Google Book Search Library Project. That puts the onus on publishers to opt out if they do not want their books included.

The Authors Guild, which filed the lawsuit in September 2005, objects to Google's method of handling copyrighted information. "The complaint seeks damages and an injunction to halt further infringements," the guild said in a statement when the suit was filed.

Google has argued that it allows only excerpts of copyrighted material to be viewed if it doesn't have the express permission of the publisher, and public domain books are the only ones that can be viewed in their entirety on Google Book Search.

The tool is similar to Amazon's Search Inside and Look Inside the Book features, which allow users to search text or read an excerpt from a book. Amazon, however, has been doing this in conjunction with publisher request or approval.