There has been some interesting and well-reasoned discussion about it. Fred Von Lohmann of the EFF analyzed it from a fair-use point of view. Eric Goldman also has a good post on it. I fully agree with his comments about the weakness of relying on fair use in your business model. It’s not a fully fleshed-out doctrine, so your business plan may come into conflict with a new legal development faster than you can react by changing your business model.
I also can’t miss citing William Patry’s excellent discussion of the issues involved with the mere scanning and creation of the database Google will be working from. I wish I had the time to write as deeply and thoroughly about issues as he does on a regular basis.
The questions I have now are as follows:
1) Is Google’s entire business plan faulty, even for the search engine side of its business?
2) Do publishing companies have the proper rights to agree to the full-text indexing of its author’s books? Even if it is opt-in for works still protected under copyright, Google will need to make sure that the right people are providing the consent.
3) Will this case settle?