Sued for scanning books
David A. Vise

FIVE major publishers sued Google Inc. recently, alleging that the search engine's plans to scan millions of library books so they can be viewed on the Internet is a blatant violation of copyright law.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan, the publishers asked a federal judge to block Google from resuming its scanning of books on Nov. 1. Google had temporarily stopped digitising books while it sought a compromise with publishers.

"If they are allowed to unilaterally change the copyright law and copy anything unless somebody tells you ‘no,’ it will be impossible for people in the intellectual property community to operate," said Patricia Schroeder, president of the American Association of Publishers. "They keep talking about doing this because it is going to be good for the world. That has never been a principle in law. They ‘do no evil’ except they are stealing people's property."

In a statement, Google defended its approach, saying the scanning of millions of library books from the collections of Harvard University, Stanford University, the University of Michigan, the New York Public Library and Oxford University is legal. The search engine said its program will make library books more widely available to readers online. — LAT/WP