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Google Book-Scanning Excuses Don't Hold Up

Google is flat-out wrong in its official response to the copyright infringement suit against it by three authors and the Author's Guild.
The Guild and the authors claim that Google is engaging in "massive copyright infringement" in the Google Print project, which will scan entire libraries of copyrighted books without first asking authors or publishers for permission.

In its official blog defending its actions, Google claims that its unauthorized scanning of copyrighted books without the author's or publisher's prior approval is covered under fair use law. It claims that "Google doesn???t show even a single page to users," displays only a "brief snippet" of content, and says that authors can opt out of the program, if they want.

These are all disingenous arguments. In fact, Google will show far more than a single page to people who search through books on Google -- it makes the entire book searchable, not a mere snippet. And Google has it backwards when it says that authors can opt out. They should be allowed, instead, to opt in. As for fair use, I'll let the lawyers argue that one, but making an entire copyrighted book available to anyone for free doesn't sound like fair use to me.

In its official response, the search giant says that "Google respects copyright." I wish that were the case. If it were, Google would abandon the project.