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Google Print’s Grave Misgivings August 12, 2005 – 1:57 p.m. – Permalink

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.


Google announced today that it would be temporarily suspending operations on its highly controversial project Google Print, a program where books from three major university libraries and the New York Public Library are indexed into a search engine.

Google has spent over $200 million to scan all the books in the libraries of Harvard University, Stanford University, and the University of Michigan. This program has come into great criticism from publication advocates and copyright agencies. One of these is the Association of American Publishers, which says it has “grave misgivings” about the digitization project (hence the title). Adam Smith, the manager of the Google Print project, replied to the AAP’s anger by saying, “What we are doing here is legal under the principles of fair use.”

The Google Print program has been accused of infringing copyrights in its book archiving but has managed to continue conducting the indexing project until now. Google aims to resume operations on Google Print in November, saying that publishing companies can now have three months to send lists of books that should not be archived.

Only this morning there was an entry in the Google Blog annoucing this so–called “pause” in the massive project, but since then it has disappeared. Mysterious, eh? But there are plenty of news articles about this suspension elswhere.

Update (August 13, 2005) The post in the Google Blog is back, hence the strike–through above.