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Google vs. the Authors Guild

The Authors Guild on Tuesday filed suit against Google, charging that the Google Print Library program constitutes massive copyright infringement.

Google Print

The program involves scanning books from libraries and universities to make the texts searchable through Google's engine. Google intends to sell advertisements on those pages.

The Guild, and others, had previously criticized the program, and Google last month said would halt the initiative temporarily and make changes to its Google Print Publisher Program, in which books are scanned at the request of the publisher so people can view excerpts.

The search leviathan defended its program in a company blog posting, saying that it "respects copyright" and arguing that the program is protected under the "fair use" doctrine.

While Google has taken some recently from the blogging community, the "information wants to be free" attitude seemed to be winning the day, with most commenters backing the search engine.


Blog community response:

"This post - defending Google's position on Google Print against yesterday's lawsuit - is damn refreshing. Google makes its case clearly, and the writing seems to be driven by conviction and passion."
--John Battelle's Searchblog

"Seems to me that not only common sense, but the law, is likely on Google's side."
--O'Reilly Radar

"Google would be performing a great service if they could pull this off. The information they would put online would benefit researchers, schools and even the authors of the books (by building up public awareness of their books). The Authors Guild is seriously misguided here."
--Key Words

"Seems like we've seen very recently the two sides of Google: The one that obsessively wants to collect information on the end user, privacy be damned, and the one that obsessively wants to collect the world's information, copyright be damned. If you haven't figured it out already, only one of those can be called noble, and its still got its own set of problems."