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Google Retreats In Book Scanning Project

Google took a temporary retreat today in its plan to make available for free countless thousands of copyrighted books without the copyright holders' permissions. It's started displaying the contents of books from its Google Print book-scanning project --- but it's not showing the contents of copyrighted books.
The books and other documents are the first big group of public domain books and documents the search giant has indexed from libraries. Google isn't yet making available copyrighted books, unless publishers specifically opt in to the program.

Google is being sued by the Authors Guild and five major publishers over its plans to scan copyrighted books, and there's no doubt that's why no copyrighted books have been made available today.

Google, though, continues to scan copyrighted books, but isn't yet making them available online. It's focusing, for now, on scanning copyrighted books that are no longer in print. It's not concentrating on in-print copyrighted books.

Here's hoping that Google is having second thoughts about the program, and will ultimately back down. Microsoft and Yahoo are involved in a book-scanning project that focuses on public domain works. Perhaps today's move is a sign that Google will follow suit.