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Publishers Are Right To Sue Google

The other shoe has finally dropped -- the Association of American Publishers is suing Google to halt the Google book-scanning project. The Google project scans and makes available copyrighted books without copyright holder approval. The publishers call Google's actions "willful infringement to further its own commercial purposes." They're absolutely right --- it's nothing more than intellectual piracy.
Google is scanning millions of copyrighted books from entire libraries, including Harvard's, Stanford's and Michigan's, and not bothering to ask copyright holders' permissions to do so.

Google calls this action "fair use." I call it piracy.

Google's logic simply doesn't make sense. You may have noticed that Google doesn't scan Web pages that are behind for-pay online firewalls -- for example, articles from the subscription version of the Wall Street Journal, or from a variety of for-pay databases.

Why does Google make available copyrighted books without permission, but doesn't do the same for copyrighted online articles?

The answer is expediency: It's easy to scan the books and index them --- university libraries are letting them do it. It's hard to grab articles from behind firewalls, so Google doesn't do it. The law simply doesn't enter into it.

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