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American Publishers Join Growing Legal Opposition to Google

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November 1-15, 2005 Edition

American Publishers

Join Growing Legal

Opposition to Google

NEW YORK, NY/10/21/05—The Association of American Publishers has filed a lawsuit October 20 in Manhattan U.S. District Court against Google, in an effort to bar the search giant from developing an electronic library index of books.

The AAP and five major publishers have joined to seek an injunction against Google for illegally scanning of copyrighted books. Joining the AAP in the suit are Penguin Group USA, Simon & Schuster, John Wiley & Sons, McGraw-Hill, and Pearson Education, adding to the ground swell of opposition in the publishing industry against the Google Print Library Project.

In September, the US Authors Guild, representing more than 8,000 writers, filed a class-action lawsuit charging Google with “massive copyright infringement” and seeks to bar the company from reproducing copyrighted works and making them available online.

Likewise, the Association of Authors’ Representatives (AAR), which includes 365 agent members, sent a strongly-worded letter signed by AAR President Gail Hochman, to Google Chairman and CEO Eric E. Schmidt, stating:

“The AAR believes that Google’s intention to digitize and then provide access to the complete works of the author-clients represented by our members—without the consent of the owners of the copyrights in those works and for Google’s own profit—constitutes an egregious violation of those copyrights and an affront to the rights and integrity of those authors and their works.

“We also believe Google’s offer to allow copyright owners to “opt out” from the project contorts and corrupts the well-established —and until now universally followed—legal and business norm that those who wish to use, especially for profit, the copyrighted works of others must first secure the consent of the owners of those works.

We further believe that Google’s attempt to excuse as “fair use” its wholesale appropriation of all those works for its own profit is utterly without merit or, indeed, any semblance of fairness. In our view, fairness would require Google, like any other would-be user of copyrighted works, to secure in advance the necessary rights to make such use. “

The letter concluded that the AAR fully supports the lawsuits brought by the AAP and the Authors Guild in opposing Google’s Library project.

The AAP lawsuit seeks recovery of legal costs, but no additional damages, cites the “continuing, irreparable and imminent harm publishers are suffering” because of Google’s willful infringement for its own commercial purposes.”

Google aims to guild a giant online card catalogue of books. Last December, the search company launched, the Google Print Library Project and began scanning millions of books from the libraries of major universities, including Harvard, Stanford, Michigan and Oxford universities, as well as the New York Public Library.