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Service provider > Digital content services > Accessibility/Conversion/Preservation/Archiving > Copyrights/Data Integrity/Ethical issues> General Information - Google Books
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Google to spend EUR150 million in Europe on grants for digital journalism experimentation
- 04 May 2015

Amid increasing tensions with EU regulators and publishers, internet giant Google announced that it will spend EUR150 million ($164 million) in Europe on grants for digital journalism experimentation.

Additionally, the organisation said it will work with European newspapers and journalism organisations to create items and expand income, critical for a cash-strapped newspaper industry that has attempted to stay afloat in the Internet age.

The pledge is the latest attempt by Google to present a friendlier front in Europe, where it is confronting antitrust charges and has experienced harsh criticism from some publishers over its strategies.

In the last few years, Google has faced challenges from European newspapers over the search giant's use of headlines and other content on its Google News site. Google has refused to pay publishers for the content, instead choosing to forego linking to stories or content. After seeing a drop in traffic, publishers often relent.

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Authors Guild appeals to US court to reinstate case against Google and its book digitisation project
- 14 Apr 2014

The Authors Guild asked a federal appeals court on April 11th to reinstate its lawsuit contending that the Internet giant is violating copyright laws with its massive book digitisation project. According to the Guild, Google Inc. is stealing business from online book retailers.

The Guild filed papers with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, saying that Google's effort to create the world's largest digital library was violating the rights of authors and stifling competition in the busy Internet book sales market.

Google declined to comment on the Authors Guild's effort to reverse a November ruling in favour of the Mountain View, Calif.-based company.

The Guild has asked the court to hold Google liable and to return the case to the lower court for remedies. Its lawsuit has sought $750 for each of the more than 20 million copyright books that Google has already copied.

In appeals arguments, Guild lawyers argued Google was also unfairly boosting its advertising revenues and stifling competition.

Further, the Guild's lawyers said that Google shocked the literary community in December 2004 when it launched its library project by partnering with some of the world's largest libraries "to gain free access to millions of copyright-protected books."

"Google emptied the shelves of libraries and delivered truckloads of printed books to scanning centers, where the books were converted into digital format," the Guild's lawyers said. They wrote that the library project was designed to lure potential book purchasers away from online retailers like Amazon.com and drive them to Google.

Judge Denny Chin however concluded Google did not run afoul of copyright laws because it only shows snippets from the books in its database. He said it would be difficult for anyone to read any of the works in their entirety by repeatedly entering different search requests.

He also said the company's library project provided a "transformative purpose" by giving new life to out-of-print and old books that had been forgotten.

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Authors Guild appeals to US court to reinstate case against Google and its book digitisation project
- 07 Apr 2014

The Authors Guild asked a federal appeals court on April 11th to reinstate its lawsuit contending that the Internet giant is violating copyright laws with its massive book digitisation project. According to the Guild, Google Inc. is stealing business from online book retailers.

The Guild filed papers with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, saying that Google's effort to create the world's largest digital library was violating the rights of authors and stifling competition in the busy Internet book sales market.

Google declined to comment on the Authors Guild's effort to reverse a November ruling in favour of the Mountain View, Calif.-based company.

The Guild has asked the court to hold Google liable and to return the case to the lower court for remedies. Its lawsuit has sought $750 for each of the more than 20 million copyright books that Google has already copied.

In appeals arguments, Guild lawyers argued Google was also unfairly boosting its advertising revenues and stifling competition.

Further, the Guild's lawyers said that Google shocked the literary community in December 2004 when it launched its library project by partnering with some of the world's largest libraries "to gain free access to millions of copyright-protected books."

"Google emptied the shelves of libraries and delivered truckloads of printed books to scanning centers, where the books were converted into digital format," the Guild's lawyers said. They wrote that the library project was designed to lure potential book purchasers away from online retailers like Amazon.com and drive them to Google.

Judge Denny Chin however concluded Google did not run afoul of copyright laws because it only shows snippets from the books in its database. He said it would be difficult for anyone to read any of the works in their entirety by repeatedly entering different search requests.

He also said the company's library project provided a "transformative purpose" by giving new life to out-of-print and old books that had been forgotten.

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Authors Guild appeals to US court to reinstate case against Google and its book digitisation project
- 07 Apr 2014

The Authors Guild asked a federal appeals court on April 11th to reinstate its lawsuit contending that the Internet giant is violating copyright laws with its massive book digitisation project. According to the Guild, Google Inc. is stealing business from online book retailers.

The Guild filed papers with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, saying that Google's effort to create the world's largest digital library was violating the rights of authors and stifling competition in the busy Internet book sales market.

Google declined to comment on the Authors Guild's effort to reverse a November ruling in favour of the Mountain View, Calif.-based company.

The Guild has asked the court to hold Google liable and to return the case to the lower court for remedies. Its lawsuit has sought $750 for each of the more than 20 million copyright books that Google has already copied.

In appeals arguments, Guild lawyers argued Google was also unfairly boosting its advertising revenues and stifling competition.

Further, the Guild's lawyers said that Google shocked the literary community in December 2004 when it launched its library project by partnering with some of the world's largest libraries "to gain free access to millions of copyright-protected books."

"Google emptied the shelves of libraries and delivered truckloads of printed books to scanning centers, where the books were converted into digital format," the Guild's lawyers said. They wrote that the library project was designed to lure potential book purchasers away from online retailers like Amazon.com and drive them to Google.

Judge Denny Chin however concluded Google did not run afoul of copyright laws because it only shows snippets from the books in its database. He said it would be difficult for anyone to read any of the works in their entirety by repeatedly entering different search requests.

He also said the company's library project provided a "transformative purpose" by giving new life to out-of-print and old books that had been forgotten.

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Authors Guild case against Google and its Library Project dismissed
- 26 Nov 2013

On November 14, Judge Denny Chin of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the digitisation of millions of books from research library collections was a fair use and dismissed the Authors Guild case against Google and its Library Project, saying that the project "advances the progress of the arts and sciences, while maintaining respectful consideration of the rights of authors and other creative individuals, and without adversely impacting the rights of copyright holders." In his decision, Judge Chin cited a November 2012 amicus brief submitted by the Library Copyright Alliance (comprising the Association of Research Libraries, the American Library Association, and the Association of College and Research Libraries). The Authors Guild has stated that they disagree with the decision and plan to appeal.

This ruling examined whether Google's digitisation of copyrighted works constituted fair use under copyright law. Chin cited benefits for librarians, researchers, students, teachers, scholars, data scientists, and underserved populations, such as disabled individuals who cannot read print books or those in remote places without libraries.

The District Court ruling bodes well for libraries, scholars, and researchers in the pending appeal of Authors Guild v. HathiTrust. Judge Chin agreed with Judge Baer's fair use analysis in the HathiTrust case, indicating that the result in the Google case is compatible with the Authors Guild v. HathiTrust decision and suggesting the possibility of a favourable decision for HathiTrust on appeal.

Google's book digitisation project, the Library Project, started in 2004. The purpose of the digitisation project was to create a searchable index of books that would allow key word searching of the collections of major research libraries. Snippets of the books are accessible to the public who would not otherwise have access to the library collections. The company did not acquire permission from copyright holders, and so in 2005, individuals and the Authors Guild sued Google for copyright infringement.

Google currently has a collection of more than 20 million digitised books, mostly out-of-print titles. While titles are searchable, the Google Books website only returns snippets from the digitised texts, not full texts.

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US judge weighs Google book copyright case
- 24 Sep 2013

A federal judge on September 23, 2013, pointedly questioned attorneys for the Authors Guild in a long-running case on whether Google's book-scanning project violates copyright law. The two sides presented oral arguments in a hearing on whether the case should be dismissed, or whether the authors can maintain their challenge to the massive digitisation project.

US District Judge Denny Chin said a core question in determining the case is whether there is 'benefit to society' in helping users find information from books, facilitating inter-library loans or permitting data mining. All of these functions have been cited by proponents of Google's 'Library Project' in legal briefs, Chin said.

An attorney for the guild said that while some uses may benefit society in some instances, it should not override authors' rights to control the content they created. "Then there's a question of whether Google has to pay for it," Edward Rosenthal, an attorney representing the Authors Guild, told the court. The back-and-forth between Rosenthal and Chin dominated a 45-minute hearing on the eight-year old proceeding.

Google has asked the court for summary judgement, a ruling that would gut the heart of the guild's case. The authors' group, in turn, has asked the court to deny Google's defence that copying is a 'fair use' that allows a deviation from normal copyright protections.

Google has scanned more than 20 million books so far in the project. Books in the public domain - without current copyrights - are made available online to the public for free. For copyrighted books Google offers a searchable database that displays snippets of text.

The guild has argued that content creators should control their work and that Google's display of the excerpts violates copyright norms. The guild argues further that Google's objectives are purely commercial since Google's main goal in the endeavour is to boost use of its search engine, which generates advertising revenue. While some users of Google's project may have worthy aims, Google's use of the material are not fair use, the guild argues.

Google counters that its book-scanning program provides a valuable societal benefit that can provide much sought-after information to users, permit innovative ways to analyze texts and generally enhance knowledge. Google argues its use of the material is only 'indirectly commercial.'

Chin focused most of his questions on the guild's contentions about Google's objectives. Chin said Google's use of the material can be fair use, even if there are commercial benefits to the company.

Another question Chin fixated on was the guild's argument that the Google service harms authors by diverting business away from Amazon and other booksellers once consumers realise they can find excerpts on the Google site for free.

Chin conceded that it is possible that a reader might decide to abandon a possible purchase because of the Google site, but questioned whether such an outcome was a 'reasonable' possibility.

Rosenthal told the court readers will stop buying books on Amazon because of the Google site. Excerpts available on Amazon's site differ from the Google snippets because authors get to decide, he said. "Authors have a right to decide whether they want their books not only displayed, but also stored," Rosenthal said.

Google meanwhile contends that there is no evidence the service harms book sales. Daralyn Durie, an attorney representing the tech giant, said there was only the tiniest of chances of a user could cobble together enough content from the snippets to avoid buying a book. "There's no reason to think Google Books is being used for a purpose other than what it was designed for," Durie said.

The two sides reached a tentative $125 million settlement in the case in 2008, but Chin rejected the agreement in a March 2011 ruling, concluding it was not "fair, adequate and reasonable." That opened up the litigation to a new phase, culminating in a one-day hearing on September 23.

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Authors Guild disputes Google’s fair use claim
- 03 Sep 2013

Internet search services provider Google’s scanning of books does not meet the legal definition of 'transformative,' creates potential harm to authors and other copyright holders, and is not protected as fair use under the law, the Authors Guild argues in a brief recently filed in the New York federal court.

The only thing 'transformative' about Google's display of snippets of in-print books is that it transforms online browsers of book retailers to online users of Google's search engine. According to the brief, Google 'transforms' Amazon customers into Google ad-clickers.

Whether Google's mass digitisation of copyrighted material qualifies as fair use is the central issue now facing the court in the long-running legal dispute between the search engine giant and the Guild. A decision on fair use issues will influence whether the case should proceed as a class action lawsuit.

In a brief also filed last week, Google maintains that its scanning of copyrighted material is transformative, and actually helps authors by making their books easier to find and benefits the public by rendering information more accessible.

The Guild rejects the characterisation of Google's library-scanning project as anything other than a commercial enterprise intended to give it an advantage over other search engines and increase ad revenue–all while putting authors' valuable property at risk.

The Guild's brief points out the threat of piracy created by Google's online distribution of book content. The current focus on fair use resulted from an appeals court decision in July. The judge vacated a class certification ruling in The Authors Guild vs. Google, saying issues of fair use had to be decided before determining whether authors should be treated as a class in the case. If Google's fair use defence requires a book-by-book analysis, then this would weigh against class certification. If a fair use ruling can be made more broadly, then judicial economy is more likely to weigh on the side of class certification.

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UC Davis Library joins Google Book Digitisation project
- 30 Jul 2013

The UC Davis Library has become the 6th UC site to participate in the Google project, joining NRLF, UCSC, UCSD, UCLA, and UCSF. In June 2013, the UC Davis Library began sending public domain (out-of- copyright) books and journals to be digitised as part of UC's partnership in the Google Books Library Project.

During the course of the project, UC Davis expects to digitise approximately 45,000 volumes, from regular and special collections, including the Viticulture & Enology Collection. Public domain materials digitised from the UC Davis collections will be available in full view within HathiTrust, several months after scanning. These materials will also be fully viewable in Google Books.

More information about the UC Davis project can be found on the UC Davis University Library site.

The California Digital Library (CDL) provides project planning, coordination, and technical leadership for the UC Libraries' participation in the Google Books partnership. This work continues to benefit the UC community, as well as researchers and readers throughout the world. Amongst all of its projects collectively, the UC Libraries have digitised over 3.7 million volumes. Over 500,000 of those volumes are in the public domain and available to all via Google Book Search, the Internet Archive, and HathiTrust.

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Google to digitise books from Michigan State University Libraries
- 11 Feb 2013

Books from the Michigan State University (MSU) Libraries will soon be digitised by Google to become part of the Google Books website.

Google Books has digitized millions of titles from university libraries and indexed the contents so users can search across the entire set. MSU's participation is part of Google's contract with the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), a consortium of Midwestern universities.

Google will reportedly be digitising about 50,000 titles from the MSU collection. The first batch will be officially handed over to Google on February 12, and digitisation will take about four weeks. MSU shipments will continue until the summer of 2014.

Books that are in the public domain – generally those published before 1923 – are available in full text so the user can read the book online. For titles still protected by copyright, the user is shown a few lines before and after their search term, with links to purchase the book or find it in a library.

The books digitized from CIC libraries are also available through the HathiTrust Digital Library, a partnership among 71 university libraries.

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Association of American Publishers and Google announce settlement agreement
- 05 Oct 2012

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) and Internet search services provider Google have announced a settlement agreement that will provide access to publishers' in-copyright books and journals digitised by Google for its Google Library Project. The dismissal of the lawsuit will end seven years of litigation.

The agreement settles a copyright infringement lawsuit filed against Google on October 19, 2005 by five AAP member publishers. As the settlement is between the parties to the litigation, the court is not required to approve its terms.

The settlement acknowledges the rights and interests of copyright-holders. US publishers can choose to make available or choose to remove their books and journals digitised by Google for its Library Project. Those deciding not to remove their works will have the option to receive a digital copy for their use.

Apart from the settlement, US publishers can continue to make individual agreements with Google for use of their other digitally-scanned works.

Google Books allows users to browse up to 20 percent of books and then purchase digital versions through Google Play. Under the agreement, books scanned by Google in the Library Project can now be included by publishers.

Further terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

This settlement does not affect Google's current litigation with the Authors Guild or otherwise address the underlying questions in that suit.

The publisher plaintiffs are The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.; Pearson Education, Inc. and Penguin Group (USA) Inc., both part of Pearson; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; and Simon & Schuster, Inc. part of CBS Corporation.

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ARL joins LCA members and EFF in amicus brief supporting Google Book Settlement
- 03 Aug 2012

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) recently joined other members of the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) - the American Library Association (ALA) and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) - and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to file a friend of the court brief (PDF) in Authors Guild v. Google, Inc.. In the lawsuit authors allege that Google violated copyright by scanning books to create Google Book Search (GBS), a search tool similar to its Internet search engine.

The LCA/EFF brief defends GBS as permissible under the doctrine of fair use, a flexible right that allows copying without payment or permission where the public benefit strongly outweighs the harm to individual rightsholders. It further argues that Google Book Search is tremendously beneficial to the public, that this public benefit tilts the analysis firmly in favour of fair use, that a legislative 'fix' is both unnecessary and unworkable, and that the Authors Guild should not be permitted to shut down Google Book Search after encouraging public reliance on the tool for years.

The members of LCA have long had a commitment to supporting libraries' interest in the Google Book Search settlement agreement.

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Scanning project never hurt book sales, says Google
- 30 Jul 2012

Internet search services provider Google Inc., US, has submitted court filings stating that its massive book scanning project is fair use because it has delivered many public benefits without harming authors. The company has been fighting a court battle with the Authors Guild on the project, Google Books. It claims that its creation of full-text book searching is "the most significant advance in library search technology in the last five decades" and that the Authors Guild has shown "no evidence that Google Books has displaced the sale of even a single book."

The new filing is in response to Judge Denny Chin's deadline for Google and the Authors Guild to submit arguments on why the case can be decided without a trial. This is just the latest phase of a legal dispute that began in 2005 after authors and publishers sued Google over its ambitious plan to create a massive digital library.

The lawsuit was on ice for several years as the parties worked out a settlement that would have created an online market for the books. Judge Chin blew up the settlement in March 2011, however, after concluding that it was a "bridge too far."

In its filing, Google cites a number of pop culture examples to argue that a searchable digital library is a benefit to the public. The company also describes how book searches unearthed references to an unheralded baseball player, Steve Hovley, that would otherwise have remained buried. Google also cites the more serious example of Minoru Yasui, a civil rights lawyer who is all but invisible in the Library of Congress catalogue but surfaces repeatedly in Google Books. Additionally, Google cites evidence suggesting that online book discovery helps authors sell more copies.

The Authors Guild, which is expected to submit its own motion for summary judgment later, has repeatedly argued that Google had no right to take copyright law into its own hands and reproduce authors' works without permission. The Guild is also at the center of a related fair-use case with libraries over the "Hathi Trust," a massive digital replication of their paper collections.

Google appeals against class action status for Authors Guild lawsuit
- 18 Jun 2012

Internet search services provider Google, Inc., US, has confirmed that its attorneys have filed a petition to appeal Judge Denny Chin’s recent order granting the Authors Guild’s motion for class certification in its ongoing litigation. While details of the appeal filing were not immediately available, the appeal process could delay the motions for summary judgment, due for June 26. Ultimately the trial date, set for early September, could also be delayed while the appeal process plays out.

Google had earlier argued that the case should not be certified as a class action mainly because ‘individual issues predominate over common ones as to copyright ownership and fair use.’ However, Judge Chin, in his recent ruling, rejected that argument.

The appeal reportedly sets up yet another interesting twist in the long-running case. Chin’s colleagues on the Second Circuit could potentially strike down his recent decision. Chin was promoted to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in April 2010. He, however, kept the Google case, sitting by designation with the district court.

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Google ends legal dispute with French authors over book scanning project
- 12 Jun 2012

Internet search services provider Google Inc., US, has reportedly ended legal disputes with a French publishing trade group and a French authors’ association over the company’s scanning of books.

The Syndicat National de l’Edition and the SGDL Society of Authors agreed with Google to end litigation over Google’s scanning of copyright-protected books without permission. The Syndicat National de l’Edition represents more than 600 publishers in France. With this move, Google no longer faces French legal action over book scanning.

Google is working to improve its relationship with French industry groups and regulators after disputes over privacy and access to copyrighted content. It has also settled legal disputes with the Hachette Livre unit of Lagardere SCA (MMB) and La Martiniere Groupe that allowed it scan out-of-print works that are still copyrighted.

According to Philippe Colombet, Google Books’ strategic partner development manager in France, the company plans to sell some of the scanned copyrighted works as electronic books. It will share the proceeds with publishers under individual deals where the ‘majority of the revenue comes to the publisher.’

Google would financially support the SGDL Society of Authors’ development of a database of book authors and right-owners to settle legal proceedings over the scanning of copyright-protected books for its digital library, the company and the SGDL said in a joint statement. Google declined to disclose the financial terms of the support.

The SGDL, which represents 6,000 French and French-speaking authors, said the agreement would reaffirm the position of authors and help them protect their rights online.

Lawsuit against Google Book Search gets class action status in US
- 04 Jun 2012

A federal judge in Manhattan recently granted class-action status to authors suing Internet search services provider Google, US, over the company’s book-scanning project. The judge, allowing the long-stalled case to move forward, ruled that three individual authors and the Author's Guild could represent the class of all authors whose works had been scanned by Google.

Google had sought the opposite result, arguing that including all authors in a single lawsuit would make the case too complex. According to the company, most authors actually supported the scanning project.

Judge Denny Chin ruled on two distinct legal issues. The first was over whether the Author's Guild was entitled to serve as a representative of its members. Google had argued that only individual authors could be plaintiffs as the case would require the participation of those individual plaintiffs to consider issues such as fair use.

But Judge Chin reportedly rejected Google's argument. The associations' claims of copyright infringement and requests for injunctive relief would not require the participation of each individual association member, he stated.

Chin also gave the go-ahead for three individual plaintiffs - Betty Miles, Joseph Goulden and Jim Bouton - to represent the vastly larger class of persons residing in the US who hold a US copyright interest in one or more books reproduced by Google as part of its Library Project.

The ruling is seen as an important victory for the authors because it would have been financially difficult for the three authors to carry the lawsuit forward on an individual basis. This ruling means that plaintiffs' lawyers will be more interested in taking the case in expectation of hefty damages if the authors win. The plaintiffs will also be able to rely on the resources of the Author's Guild to cover their legal costs.

Authors Guild accuses Google of hurting millions of authors with Library project
- 07 May 2012

A group representing authors in a copyright case reportedly slammed Google in court last week, saying the company's book-scanning project had hurt millions of authors whose works had been digitised.

The Authors Guild is seeking class-certification status for its claims case in order to represent all copyright holders in the US whose books have been scanned by Google as part of its Library Project. About 20 million books have already been digitised by Google since the project started in 2004. The guild is seeking minimum statutory damages for the authors it wants to represent.

The case brought by the authors was filed in 2005 and is one of three separate lawsuits tied to Google's book-scanning programme. Groups representing publishers and photographers also claim that Google has infringed copyrights via the Library programme, in which digital copies of scanned public domain and in-copyright books from participating libraries are stored on Google servers and are searchable via its search engine. Google presents only snippets of in-copyright books, while public-domain books are fully accessible.

Google is asking the court to dismiss the authors' case, saying the group does not represent the copyrights owned by individual authors or publishers. The company maintains that it is not violating copyright law, and that its actions are protected by the fair use principle. The fair use principle allows for reproduction of limited copyrighted material without permission.

The authors filed a document requesting class-action certification in December 2011 after a proposed settlement between Google and the authors and publishers was rejected by the judge earlier that year.

The presiding judge, Denny Chin of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, noted that there was an overlap in the class-action and dismissal claims revolving around the ownership of works. He said he would make decisions on the motions at a later date, but gave no timetable.

Google reportedly scaling back books digitisation project
- 12 Mar 2012

Internet search services provider Google, Inc., US, is reportedly slowing down its book-scanning work with partner libraries, as observed by librarians involved with the digitisation project. However, it remains unclear what this would mean for the company's long-term investment in the Google Books project.

Google has digitised more than 20 million books to date and continues to scan books with library partners. Librarians at several of Google's partner institutions, including the University of Wisconsin systems and the University of Michigan, confirmed that the pace has slowed.

Some institutions struck agreements with Google to scan only specific collections. Much of that work has now wrapped up. The University of Texas at Austin, for instance, signed on to have Google digitise its Latin American collection that includes about half a million volumes.

According to a report published in The Chronicle, Google is yet to confirm if it has pulled back from its longstanding goal of collecting all of the world's knowledge. Some of its digitisation efforts have reportedly shifted to Europe. Lately, much of the company's public focus has been on how to use individuals' data to create more focused advertising and online browsing rather than mass digitisation.

In the meantime, a copyright-infringement lawsuit brought against it by authors' and publishers' groups drags on. Hathi­Trust and five universities, including Michigan's and Wisconsin's, face their own challenge from the Authors Guild and other groups over control of the scanned works.

Google seeks to remove groups from Books lawsuits
- 27 Dec 2011

Internet search services provider Google, Inc., US, recently filed a motion to dismiss copyright claims against its Google Books project by groups representing authors and photographers. According to Google, the groups could not sue over copyrights they did not own. If granted, only the individual plaintiffs in the two lawsuits would proceed with litigation against the company.

The motion is reportedly the latest development in a legal battle that has been raging since 2005. The Authors Guild and the American Association of Publishers had then sued to block Google from scanning millions of books in libraries and making digitised content from them available in libraries and online. They charged that scanning the books without always seeking permission would violate copyrights. The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) filed a similar lawsuit last year, which is being considered alongside the authors' case.

Google's motion seeks to remove the Authors Guild and the ASMP from the lawsuits. The two organisations have until January 23, 2012 to file their responses. Google will then have until February 3 to respond to their opposition. Meanwhile, Denny Chin of the US District Court for the Southern District of Manhattan will have overlapping motions, as Google is scheduled to file its response to the Authors Guild recent motion for class certification motion by January 26.

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French publishers drop $14 million book-scanning lawsuit against Google
- 12 Sep 2011

Three French publishers - Editions Albin Michel SA, Editions Gallimard SA and Flammarion - have reportedly dropped a $13.8 million lawsuit against Internet search services provider Google, Inc. over books scanned by the company. With this move, the publishers seek to resume negotiations to reach a deal on scanning copyright-protected works for Google's digital library.

Google recently announced agreements with Lagardere SCA (MMB)'s Hachette Livre and La Martiniere Groupe publishers to allow the scanning of out-of-print French books.

According to Philippe Colombet, Google Books' French director, the company is keen to discuss constructively and work with publishers around the world to preserve and disseminate important cultural treasures, and to find new business opportunities for authors and publishers.

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Google in book digitisation deal with French pubisher La Martiniere Groupe
- 26 Aug 2011

Internet search services provider Google, Inc., US, has announced an agreement with French publishing house La Martiniere Groupe for the scanning of books that are no longer on sale but still protected by copyright. The deal is the second major agreement that Google has signed with a publishing house, following a controversy over its digital library project.

Under the latest deal, Google and La Martiniere will jointly set up a catalogue of books to be scanned that are no longer sold by the publisher. The publisher will decide which books Google is allowed to scan, and which of the scanned books can then be sold on Google's Ebooks platform. The two groups will reportedly share any revenue generated through a sale. According to a spokeswoman for Google France, the bulk of the revenue will go to the publisher.

In a joint statement issued by Google and La Martiniere, the companies have said that the agreement puts an end to the legal action that the publisher launched against the former in 2006.

In 2010, Google announced a similar deal with Hachette Livre, a unit of Lagardere SCA. The terms of the deal with La Martiniere are similar to the deal with Hachette Livre. The deal was then seen as setting a standard for how publishing companies can make money via the digitalisation of books still under their copyright protection but no longer sold in stores.

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Judge sets September 15 ultimatum for 'fairer' version of Google Books deal
- 20 Jul 2011

A US judge has given Internet search services provider Google, Inc., US, two more months to come up with a proposal to create digital library Google Books in such a way that it does not violate copyright law.

In a recent hearing, Judge Denny Chin of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit set a new hearing date for September 15. By this date, Google must reportedly present a 'fair' way to reward book publishers and authors for re-printing snippets of their content online. Google and publishers have been working on such a deal since 2005.

According to media reports, Chin said at the hearing that if the matter is not resolved by September 15 he will take a decision on it by himself. Chin first heard the case in 2009 when he was a district judge for New York. He kept the case after he was promoted to the federal appeals court in 2010.

According to a Google spokesperson, the company has been working closely with authors and publishers to explore a number of options in response to the court's decision. It has reportedly asked for more time to discuss these options. Regardless of the outcome, Google will continue to make books discoverable and useful through Google Books and Google eBooks, the spokesperson said.

In 2005, the Association of American Publishers and the Authors Guild sued Google for re-printing and cataloguing book snippets without their authors' permission. Google said in October 2008 that it would pay $125 million to settle the lawsuit. However, numerous parties including Microsoft, Amazon and the Department of Justice condemned the agreement and said it continued to violate copyright law.

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Earlier this year, Judge Chin upended the $125 million settlement and forced Google and publishers to re-negotiate a more fair way of creating Google Books. In his judgment, he said the settlement would have given Google a 'de facto monopoly.'

To access our daily STM news feed through your iPhone, iPad, or other smartphones, please visit www.myscoope.com for a mobile friendly reading experience.


British Library partners with Google to digitise 250,000 books from collection
- 21 Jun 2011

The British Library and Internet search services provider Google, Inc., US, have announced a partnership to digitise 250,000 out-of-copyright books from the former's collections. Selected by the British Library and digitised by Google, both organisations will work in partnership over the coming years to deliver this content free through Google Books and the British Library's website (www.bl.uk). Google will cover all digitisation costs.

The project will digitise a huge range of printed books, pamphlets and periodicals dated 1700 to 1870. It will include material in a variety of major European languages, and will focus on books that are not yet freely available in digital form online. Once digitised, these items will be available for full text search, download and reading through Google Books, as well as being searchable through the Library's website and stored in perpetuity within the Library's digital archive. Researchers, students and other users of the Library will be able to view historical items from anywhere in the world as well as copy, share and manipulate text for non-commercial purposes.

The partnership is seen to demonstrate the Library's commitment to working with the private sector to digitise parts of its collections. Recently, it announced a partnership with brightsolid to digitise up to 40 million pages of its newspaper collections. Previously, the Library also partnered with Microsoft to digitise 65,000 19th century books, some of which are now available as an app on Apple's iPad.

It is also planned to make the works available via Europeana, the European Digital Library.

Google has partnered with over 40 libraries around the world.

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Google, publishers seek more time to reach agreement to digitise books
- 02 Jun 2011

A judge in New York has agreed to give lawyers of Google and the book industry more time to decide how to proceed after he rejected their deal to create a massive online library.

Federal Circuit Judge Denny Chin in Manhattan said that it was fine for lawyers of Google and authors and publishers to return to his courtroom on July 19, 2011, to discuss how they want to proceed.

Chin said the issues are complicated. In March, he rejected the Google Book Settlement Agreement citing antitrust concerns and the need for involvement from Congress. He had then ruled that the agreement would grant Google significant rights to exploit entire books, without the permission of copyright owners and would give Google a significant advantage over competitors, rewarding it for engaging in wholesale copying of copyrighted works without permission, while releasing claims well beyond the case.

An attorney for the publishers, Bruce Keller, spoke for all parties when he said they needed several more weeks to figure out all the issues.

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Stanford University plans to continue digitising books despite ruling in Google case
- 24 Mar 2011

Stanford University has expressed its disappointment with the latest ruling in the Google Books Agreement case. The university is analysing the decision and will consult with other libraries participating in Google's digitisation project.

US Circuit Judge Denny Chin had said the deal between Google and publishers 'goes too far.' But Stanford does not have to halt its project of digitising the books in the university's libraries - over 2 million have been scanned since 2004.

Google reached a $125 million settlement with authors and publishers after the company was sued for copyright infringement in 2005, shortly after starting to make digital copies of every published book. The recent decision by Judge Chin in Manhattan said the deal would give Google 'a significant advantage over competitors, rewarding it for engaging in wholesale copying of copyrighted works without permission.'

Stanford has not been part of the lawsuit but supported the settlement. It argued that digitising its books would preserve fragile volumes, make them easily accessible and allow researchers to efficiently scan and mine them for information that would otherwise require reading entire works. Google has scanned about 2 million books owned by Stanford, and more than 24 other major libraries are involved in the project.

Michael Keller, the university's librarian, said Chin's decision leaves unanswered several issues, including how to create a universal library; how long books should be protected by copyright; and how to deal with access to orphan works - books that are still under copyright protection but are not necessarily marketable and have no identifiable copyright holder.

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US judge rules against Google Book Settlement Agreement citing antitrust concerns
- 23 Mar 2011

A US judge recently rejected the Google Book Settlement Agreement, a proposed deal between Internet search services provider Google, Inc., US, and the book industry that would have put millions of volumes online, media reports have indicated. He cited antitrust concerns and the need for involvement from Congress, while acknowledging the potential benefit of putting literature in front of the masses. The Google initiative was aimed at allowing readers to access books via digital devices.

Circuit Judge Denny Chin in Manhattan ruled that the agreement would "grant Google significant rights to exploit entire books, without the permission of copyright owners" and would "give Google a significant advantage over competitors, rewarding it for engaging in wholesale copying of copyrighted works without permission, while releasing claims well beyond the case."

Judge Chin also reportedly found the deal raised antitrust problems. He noted that the settlement "would give Google a de facto monopoly over unclaimed works"; the settlement "would arguably give Google control over the search market"; and Google's ability to deny competitors the ability to search orphan books would further entrench the company's market power in the online search market.

A representative of the publisher plaintiffs has said they are now looking to enter into a narrower settlement. The plaintiffs include McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education, Penguin Group (USA), Simon & Schuster, John Wiley & Sons, Association of American Publishers, Harlequin Enterprises, Macmillan Publishers, Melbourne University Publishing and The Text Publishing Company.

Consumer Watchdog, a US-based consumer advocacy group that had filed two amicus briefs opposing the Books Settlement, praised the latest ruling against Google. The organisation aims to protect consumers' online privacy rights and educate them about the issues through its Inside Google Project.

The $125 million Google Books settlement had drawn hundreds of objections from Google rivals, consumer watchdogs, academic experts, literary agents and even foreign governments. Google already has scanned more than 15 million books for the project. According to the judge, the Congress should ultimately decide who should be entrusted with guardianship over orphan books and under what terms, rather than the issue being resolved by private, self-interested parties.

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Scanning devices discussed in debate over Google books digitisation project
- 14 Dec 2010

Digitally savvy academics are reportedly excited as well as anxious about Google's plan to digitise tens of millions of books and create an online library and bookstore, according to the New York Times series Humanities 2.0. While the proposal remains in legal limbo as the result of a class action lawsuit, the debate continues.

In 2009, New York Law School organised a conference on the Google settlement. The school's law journal has now dedicated its latest issue to the discussions about access, competition and copyright that followed. The issue contains articles that celebrate or criticise Google and its objectives.

One of the more provocative articles in the collection is by Daniel Reetz, who founded a network of volunteers who create devices that allow them to scan in books themselves. In his essay, Reetz expresses concern about the political implications of a settlement that imposes restrictions on content. According to him, leaving the future of books in the hands of a few corporate interests is irresponsible.

According to media reports, Reetz built his own book scanner from cheap consumer cameras and some basic parts. He is a strong defender of book digitisation, arguing that scanning should be a personal technology.

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Google and Hachette Livre announce book scanning deal
- 18 Nov 2010

Internet search services provider Google, Inc., US, has announced an agreement with French publisher Hachette Livre to scan thousands of out-of-print French books for Google's online library.

The two companies said in a statement they had settled previous disagreements and signed a memorandum of understanding that defines the terms for Google to scan Hachette Livre's French language books. Google's world book-scanning project has met resistance in France and other countries from critics who warn it undermines authors and book sellers and who have accused Google of trying to grab cultural heritage.

The agreement gives Hachette control over which books it allows Google to scan. The works will then be sold in electronic format or printed on demand. The deal is expected to benefit both authors and readers, and booksellers would profit from print-on-demand sales. Hachette will share copies of the scanned books with France's National Library and other public bodies.

Google has already signed deals to scan national library holdings in Italy, the Netherlands and Austria. The company's book-scanning operations have met strong legal challenges in the US and a number of French publishers have sued or threatened to sue Google for alleged unauthorised scanning.

According to Google and Hachette executives the US and French disputes were not affected by the deal.

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Skyhook Wireless sues Google over patent infringement
- 16 Sep 2010

Skyhook Wireless, Inc., a US-based provider of data intelligence, has reportedly filed a lawsuit against Internet search services provider, Google, Inc., US, for patent infringement. Skyhook has accused Google of infringing on patents related to wi-fi use in determining a cell phone's location, and for business interference for using that technology.

According to the suit, filed in Massachusetts state court, Google interfered with contracts Skyhook had reached with phone makers including Motorola. In a separate complaint filed in the federal court in Boston, Skyhook has alleged that Google violated four of its patents related to ways to establish the precise location of a smartphone.

In April this year, Google and Skyhook signed a deal for Google's Android operating system to use software made by Skyhook to pinpoint users for location-based apps on the Droid line of phones made by Motorola. The business interference suit reportedly states: 'On information and belief, shortly thereafter, Andy Rubin (Google's Vice President of Engineering overseeing development of Android) called Sanjay Jha (Co-Chief Executive Officer of Motorola and Chief Executive Officer of Motorola's Mobile Devices business) multiple times to impose a "stop ship" order on Motorola preventing Motorola from shipping Android wireless devices featuring Skyhook's XPS client software'.

Skyhook alleges that Google threatened to retract the rights of phone makers to deploy its Android operating system on devices that contained Skyhook's software. It is seeking damages in the tens of millions of dollars. In the patent case, the company is seeking unspecified damages and an order that would prevent further use of its inventions.

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European Commission okays Google project to digitise archives of Dutch library
- 16 Jul 2010

The European Commission has reportedly stated that it does not object to Google digitising 160,000 books in the archives of the National Library of the Netherlands if these will be made available publicly. The Dutch library, Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB), recently announced an agreement with Internet search services provider Google to digitise more than 160,000 out-of-copyright (public domain) books from the library's collection.

According to EU spokesman Jonathan Todd, the EU executive welcomed the digitisation of materials from public libraries provided 'they are made available to European citizens' and meet EU copyright and competition laws.

The out-of-copyright works from the 18th and 19th centuries will be fully searchable and accessible for free via Google Books and various KB websites. These books will also be accessible via the EU's Europeana portal in the near future.

Google has similar deals with Austria's National Library as well as Italy's cultural heritage ministry. Until now, the company has made digital copies of more than 12 million books. However, all of these books are not publicly available because of a dispute over out-of-print books still protected by copyrights.

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The National Library of Netherlands signs book digitisation agreement with Google
- 15 Jul 2010

The National Library of Netherlands, Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB), has announced an agreement with Internet search services provider Google. Under the deal, Google will digitise more than 160,000 out-of-copyright (public domain) books from the library's collection. The books will be fully searchable and accessible for free via Google Books and via the various KB websites. These books will also be accessible via the European Union's Europeana portal in the near future.

The books to be scanned constitute the majority of the library's public domain collection, and form an important addition to the corpus of public domain books that has already been digitised and made searchable in Google Books. The collection includes a wide range of historical, legal and social works published in the Netherlands during the 18th and 19th centuries and is expected to be of great interest to scholars and researchers in the Dutch-speaking world and around the globe.

Earlier this year, the KB announced plans to digitise all Dutch books, newspapers and periodicals from 1470 onwards. The agreement between the KB and Google is part of the KB's strategy to realise this ambition, and complements the library's own digitisation initiatives. The KB's agreement with Google follows on the heels of similar digitisation partnerships between Google and institutions including Harvard University, Oxford University's Bodleian Library, the Italian Ministry of Culture and the National Libraries of Italy in Rome and Florence and the Austrian National Library.

Scanning will take place over a number of years, and after digitisation, the books will be returned to the library so that they can be made available again in the reading room.

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Google Books Settlement likely to violate international laws and treaties, says OBA study
- 13 May 2010

The Open Book Alliance (OBA) has released an analysis that details how the proposed Google Books Settlement is likely to violate international laws and treaties. Cynthia Arato, a litigator on intellectual property and copyright issues, states that numerous provisions of the proposed Google Books settlement would, if approved, violate the treaty obligations of the US. She further states that if the settlement is approved, it may give rise to legal action against the country before an international tribunal and would certainly expose the US to diplomatic stress.

According to OBA, this is the first time that the proposed class action settlement between Google, the Association of American Publishers and the Author's Guild has been fully evaluated. The analysis seeks to determine the claims and remedies that other nations may seek through the WTO for the violations that an approved Google Books Settlement is expected to incur.

Specifically, it was found that the settlement would grant Google automatic rights to exploit digitally millions of books without requiring the company to obtain any authorisation from any foreign copyright owner or author. It would also require these foreign rights holders to jump through burdensome hoops simply to exercise a watered-down contractual right - that the settlement creates - to halt such use, the study adds.

Foreign nations that wish to challenge the US over treaty violations of the settlement may do so before the WTO. Violations can lead to financial penalties or trade sanctions against the US. The governments of France and Germany have already formally objected to the proposed settlement.

The study further questions why the US ought to upset its foreign relations for the benefit of one company. Open collaboration that rejects exclusive deals is the best way to create a true international library, it concludes.

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French publishers set to sue Google over scanning project
- 02 Apr 2010

Three major French publishers are reportedly filing lawsuits against Internet search services provider, Google, Inc., US, for the illegal scanning of their catalogues. This was announced by Antoine Gallimard, CEO of French publisher Gallimard, at the Paris Book Fair, media reports have indicated. The move follows extended efforts by Gallimard to stop the scanning.

Google has digitised and made publicly available parts of at least 12 million literary works, many of which are under copyright, it has been reported. According to Gallimard, Google has continued to post its works despite requests to stop. Gallimard will be joined in its action against Google by Flammarion, Eyrolles and Albin Michel.

In 2006, Gallimard was the first French publisher to demand that Google withdraw its titles. After a gap of six months, Google restarted scanning Gallimard titles and has continued ever since.

Digitisation has become a controversial issue and has stirred debate over the sensitive issue of defending cultural and intellectual property. French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand will discuss the issue during a planned trip to Google's California headquarters in July. He's not the first French politician to take on Google. President Sarkozy reacted negatively to GBS 2.0 - the revised version of the Google Books Settlement - in December, stating he would block Google from digitising 'France's heritage'.

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Google to digitise books at Italian national libraries
- 11 Mar 2010

Internet search services provider Google, Inc., US, has announced an agreement with the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage to digitise up to a million out-of-copyright works at the National Libraries of Florence and Rome. The libraries will select the works to be digitised from their collections, which include several rare historical books, including scientific works, literature from the period of the founding of Italy and the works of the nation's famous poets and writers.

According to Google, the deal marks the first time the company has joined forces with Italian libraries. Also, it is the first time that the company has had a government department as a close partner on such a project.

The costs will be covered fully by Google. These books will be available for inclusion in EU's Europeana project - of which the Florence Library is a contributing member - and other digital libraries.

Google has similar agreements with Madrid's Complutense University, Oxford University, the Bavarian state museum and others.

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