Google Print Library Violates Publishers' and Authors' Rights
WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The Association of American Publishers
(AAP) today announced the filing of a lawsuit against Google over its plans to
digitally copy and distribute copyrighted works without permission of the
copyright owners. The lawsuit was filed only after lengthy discussions broke
down between AAP and Google's top management regarding the copyright
infringement implications of the Google Print Library Project.
The suit, which seeks a declaration by the court that Google commits
infringement when it scans entire books covered by copyright and a court order
preventing it from doing so without permission of the copyright owner, was
filed on behalf of five major publisher members of AAP: The McGraw-Hill
Companies, Pearson Education, Penguin Group (USA), Simon & Schuster and John
Wiley & Sons.
The suit, which is being coordinated and funded by AAP, has the strong
backing of the publishing industry and was filed following an overwhelming
vote of support by the 20-member AAP Board which is elected by, and
represents, the Association's more than 300 member publishing houses.
"The publishing industry is united behind this lawsuit against Google and
united in the fight to defend their rights," said AAP President and former
Colorado Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder. "While authors and publishers know
how useful Google's search engine can be and think the Print Library could be
an excellent resource, the bottom line is that under its current plan Google
is seeking to make millions of dollars by freeloading on the talent and
property of authors and publishers."
Announced late last year, the Google Print Library Project involves the
scanning and digitization of millions of published books from the collections
of three major academic libraries -- Stanford University, Harvard University
and the University of Michigan -- from which Google plans to create an online,
searchable database. Oxford University and the New York Public Library are
also participating in the Library Project, but are only making available works
in the public domain.
Over the objections voiced by the publishers and in the face of a lawsuit
filed earlier by the Authors Guild on behalf of its 8,000 members, Google has
indicated its intention to go forward with the unauthorized copying of
copyrighted works beginning on November 1.
As a way of accomplishing the legal use of copyrighted works in the Print
Library Project, AAP proposed to Google that they utilize the well-known ISBN
numbering system to identify works under copyright and secure permission from
publishers and authors to scan these works. Since the inception of the ISBN
system in 1967, a unique ISBN number has been placed on every book,
identifying each book and linking it to a specific publisher. Google flatly
rejected this reasonable proposal.
Noting the existence of new online search initiatives that respect the
rights of creators, such as the "Open Content Alliance" involving Yahoo,
Hewlett-Packard, Adobe and the Internet Archive, Mrs. Schroeder said: "If
Google can scan every book in the English language, surely they can utilize
ISBNs. By rejecting the reasonable ISBN solution, Google left our members no
choice but to file this suit." As a twelve-term Member of Congress, Mrs.
Schroeder served as the Ranking Member on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on
Courts and Intellectual Property.
Mrs. Schroeder noted that while "Google Print Library could help many
authors get more exposure and maybe even sell more books, authors and
publishers should not be asked to waive their long-held rights so that Google
can profit from this venture."
The Association of American Publishers is the national trade association
of the U.S. book publishing industry. AAP's approximately 300 members include
most of the major commercial book publishers in the United States, as well as
smaller and non-profit publishers, university presses and scholarly societies.
The protection of intellectual property rights in all media, the defense of
intellectual freedom, and the promotion of reading and literacy are among the
Association's primary concerns.