Google’s Book Scanning and Copyright Laws

As you may know, Google is making an effort to scan every book in the world. The goal is to create a giant online database of every book that can be searched. One small problem is the fact that Google is violating copyright laws.

Copyright

Google argues its book database doesn’t violate copyright laws. The company suggests it only shows short passages and accompanies the text with ads showcasing where the full books can be purchased. Of course, the ads are Google Adwords from which the company makes a tidy profit.

On Tuesday, the search goliath rolled out stand-alone book search services in 14 countries. The same day, the Text and Academic Authors Association (TAA) became the latest publishers’ organization to call Google’s opt-out strategy backwards.

Authors, Publishers and publishing associations are not happy. While Google only publishes the full text of books in the public domain, it is still copying entire books for which it has no permission. Google claims it can do this because the books are being scanned from versions owned by public libraries. Fearing an avalanche of lawsuits, Google backed off.

In August, Google stopped scanning copyrighted books in public library collections. At the same time, it gave publishers the right to submit lists of books the publishers didn’t want scanned. As you can image, publishers still aren’t happy.

The Arrogance of Google

Once viewed as the underdog to giants such as Microsoft, Google continues to act like the local school bully. In this case, the company has taken such an arrogant approach that lawsuits are inevitable. Google is going to take a beating in the lawsuits and here is why.

Consider the neighborhood you live in. What if a local crime syndicate informed every household it was going to steal everything in each household. Undoubtedly, there would be calls of outrage. In response, what if the crime syndicate then suggested you could send a list of items in your house that you didn’t want stolen? This is exactly what Google is doing.

Google’s decision to scan every book in the world is idealistic, but laughably simple minded. At a time when the recording industry is suing teenagers for file swapping, one would think Google would get a clue.

Richard A. Chapo is a San Diego business lawyer with http://www.sandiegobusinesslawfirm.com – providing legal services and legal advice to businesses in San Diego, California.

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