New Case: Google Print Snafu

The recent filing of a lawsuit over Google’s new planned Google Print program has raised the bar from an academic discussion of whether the program violates copyright into a full-fledged dispute.

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?

Stay tuned!

2 Responses to New Case: Google Print Snafu

  1. […] In September, I mentioned the case filed by the Author’s Guild over the Google Print initiative. Today, the Publishers have joined in. Here is a link to the press release from the Association of American Publishers. “The publishing industry is united behind this lawsuit against Google and united in the fight to defend their rights,” said AAP President and former Colorado Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder. “While authors and publishers know how useful Google’s search engine can be and think the Print Library could be an excellent resource, the bottom line is that under its current plan Google is seeking to make millions of dollars by freeloading on the talent and property of authors and publishers.” […]

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