Google Print Halted Amid Publisher Copyright Concerns
Google Print, Google’s ambitious drive to scan the text of all books and make those books available to Google searchers worldwide, has run into a lot of flak from various publishers and has stopped its scanning of copyrighted books. Google announced their change of plans Thursday on the Google Blog and that Google Print will continue its pause of scanning copyrighted material until November.
Adam Smith, Google Print’s Product Manager writes “We think most publishers and authors will choose to participate in the publisher program in order to introduce their work to countless readers around the world. But we know that not everyone agrees, and we want to do our best to respect their views too. So now, any and all copyright holders – both Google Print partners and non-partners – can tell us which books they’d prefer that we not scan if we find them in a library. To allow plenty of time to review these new options, we won’t scan any in-copyright books from now until this November.”
Simply stated, Google is asking publishers to “opt-out” of the Google Print program during the next 3 months if the publishers do not want their books indexed in Google Print. Interesting tactic, especially since the whole idea behind copyrighting is to be legally opted out of anyone copying your works – even Google. Brad Hill of The Unofficial Google Blog explains “Gracious as this gesture might be, it makes Google appear to be completely unaware of how copyright works. Copyright is the opting out of allowing others to make copies. Nothing more is needed. The responsibility for not copying lies with Google. Exemptions and licenses to copy are granted upon request on an opt-in basis. It’s inconceivable that Google is unaware of this, so the real message from Google is this: ‘We’re going to copy the damn books unless you stop us.'”
It seems that Google’s heart is in the right place with the Google Print project, as its mission is to make literature and research material available to the masses, while helping the publishers and copyright owners of this material by directing potential buyers to publisher websites, providing reports about user interest in specific books, and creating an additional revenue stream via Google’s contextual advertising – which in theroy sounds like a good trade off.
Google’s new opt-out approach is addressing the concerns of publishers while it is possibly covering Google’s potential legal problems with the Google Print program. “We think most publishers and authors will choose to participate in the publisher program in order (to) introduce their work to countless readers around the world,” Smith added on the Google Blog, “But we know that not everyone agrees, and we want to do our best to respect their views too.”
Patricia Schroeder, President and CEO of the Association of American Publishers rebutts “Google’s announcement does nothing to relieve the publishing industry’s concerns. Google’s procedure shifts the responsibility for preventing infringement to the copyright owner rather than the user, turning every principle of copyright law on its ear.”
The AAP’s view is as follows : While publishers are eager to explore initiatives that promise to bring books to a vastly expanded audience through the innovative use of technology, the Google Print Library Project is digitally reproducing copyrighted works to support Google’s sale of advertising in connection with its online search business operations without corresponding participation or approval by the copyright holders.
“Many AAP members have partnered with Google in its Print for Publishers Program, allowing selected titles to be digitized and searchable on a limited basis pursuant to licenses or permission from publishers. We were confident that by working together, Google and publishers could have produced a system that would work for everyone, and regret that Google has decided not to work with us on our alternative proposal,” Mrs. Schroeder added.