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AAP, Amazon Resist Google Subpoenas in Infringement Case

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November 2 – November 9, 2006 Edition

AAP, Amazon Resist

Google Subpoenas

in Infringement Case

NEW YORK, NY/10/30/06—Google’s efforts to subpoena several major companies for information which might help the giant search company defend itself against a heated copyright infringement lawsuit have met with stiff resistance from at least two of the seven entities subpoenaed.

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) and Amazon.com have both said they can’t supply documents called for by Google’s subpoenas. The AAP strongly backs the Authors Guild and a group of publishers who filed a lawsuit in September alleging that Google’s scanning and digitizing of library books constitutes a “massive copyright infringement.” The subpoenas, which also have been sent to Random House, HarperCollins, Holtzbrinck publishers, Yahoo and Microsoft, call for the organizations to reveal information about their own book search projects.

The AAP said that no such project as the AAP Book Search Project exists, and therefore it could not furnish the requested documents.

Amazon refused to hand over the information, saying the data is proprietary and involves trade secrets. Google wants Amazon to disclose confidential information about Amazon’s sales, strategies and results of its Amazon Search inside the Book and Look Inside the Book features.

Other organizations have until November to answer the subpoenas.

Google argues that it only digitizes excerpts of copyrighted material to be viewed online unless it has permission from the publisher. Only public domain books are can be viewed in entirety by Google Book Search.

The Authors Guild—joined in the suit by McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education, penguin Group, Simon and Schuster, and John Wiley & Sons­has called Google’s print Library Project “a plain and brazen violation of copyright law,” according to Guild President Nick Taylor. He said in filing the suit that “It’s not up to Google or anyone other than the authors, right rightful owners of these copyrights, to decide whether and how their works will be copied.” A number of other groups, including the Association of American University Presses, have also protested the Google project.

The Authors Guild has more than 8,000 members and is the largest and oldest society of published writers in the United States. The Guild seeks damages and an injunction to halt further infringements.

In another separate effort involving Google and the use and collection of information, the U.S. Justice Department earlier this year demanded millions of internet search records from Google, Inc. and other giant search firms, but Google vows it will resist. The Justice Department wants the information as part of its efforts to define the Child Online Protection Act of 1998 that seeks to ban online sites from displaying content that may be harmful to minors. Yahoo, Inc., Microsoft Corp’s MSN search service and Time Warner Inc.’s AOL service have all agreed to provide the information.