Giant online library faces another hurdle
Three technology giants – Microsoft, Amazon and Yahoo – have joined forces to fight Google’s efforts to create a huge online library of millions of books.
Last year Google settled two lawsuits with publishers and authors who had claimed that the Internet giant was in breach of copyright for scanning books without authorisation. The company agreed to pay $125m and create the Book Rights Registry, which enabled authors and publishers to register their books. They would then received compensation for Google publishing their works.
Google also gets the rights to ‘orphan’ works – works whose rights-holders are unknown. It is estimated that these books make up 50-70% of all works published since 1923.
According to a report on the BBC, Microsoft, Amazon and Yahoo have joined the Open Book Alliance, a project being driven by the Internet Archive.
“Google is trying to monopolise the library system. If this deal goes ahead, they’re making a real shot at being ‘the’ library and the only library,” the Internet Archive’s founder Brewster Kahle told the BBC.
The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York will decide in early October whether the deal struck between Google and the publishers is a fair one.
The Guardian claims that the latest threat to the deal is from a New York-based lawyer. Scott Grant has filed an objection with a Manhattan court that claims that authors are being compelled into accepting the deal without being fully aware of its implications.
“Anyone taking part in this project should be doing so as a conscious choice to participate knowing fully what they are doing. In fact, people are being forced to hand over to Google some of their intellectual property often with no understanding of what that means,” Gant said in the Guardian.
In a separate blow to Google, US Department of Justice is conducting an anti-trust investigation into the impact of the agreement.