The publishers' complaint:
- Google is copying entire copyrighted books to provide "snippets" for its searchers
- Providing snippets is a "crippled" approach to access and publishers have a better idea
- Google is providing a digital copy of the book to the library--publishers want to charge libraries for that
- Google isn't paying copyright owners anything
- Google isn't asking permission
A Stanford law professor defends Google's approach:
- If permission is necessary, that would block content from becoming accessible on the Net
- If the law recognizes that kind of veto power, that will chill innovation
- The scanning and access is minimal--just a snippet not a full page--which is protected under fair use
- Fair use has been about the right to make a profit, which is what Google wants
- The snippet is not a substitute for the original book
Publishers feel Google is horning in on their territory and restricting their own profits with their actions. They want total control of their books. If I had to make a prediction (I love making predictions), I would say that the courts will decide that there is room for both Google and the publishers. Forget any total victory for one side on this; both will get something, but not everything they want.
Of course, the two sides could always settle with an agreement between themselves that they can both live with. This avenue should have been thoroughly explored before the lawsuit.
tags: libraries, google+books, e-books, ebooks, publishers