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HarperCollins Out-Googles Google In Book Scanning

Publisher HarperCollins has come up with an end run around Google's plan to scan books without the copyright holders' permissions. It will scan tens of thousands of its books itself, and then let anyone, from Google to Yahoo and beyond, crawl the index and use it.
Essentially, HarperCollins is creating an electronic card index of its books, and letting search engines make that index public.

This will give the publisher greater control over the electronic use of its books. It's not clear at this point, though, how much of the books will be available at a time, and what kinds of limits will be put on their use. But by scanning the books itself, and creating an index itself, HarperCollins will retain control over the use of the books.

HarperCollins chief Jane Friedman said the company was doing it because "If publishers don't do this, there are going to be too many digital copies of books out there."

The publisher is doing the right thing. Others should follow suit. If they do, perhaps that will force Google to back off its plan to become the world's biggest copyright pirate.