free html hit counter Here We Go Again: Publishers Sue Google - John Battelle's Search Blog

Here We Go Again: Publishers Sue Google

By - October 19, 2005

If this sounds familiar, it’s because the Author’s Guild sued Google last month. Now, the Publishers (via their trade group the AAP) are joining in. It seems Eric’s WSJ Op Ed was timed ahead of this news…

I really don’t get this. I have been both a publisher and an author, and I have to tell you, these guys sue for one reason and one reason alone, from what I can tell: Their legacy business model is imperiled, and they fear change. Of course, if they can get out of their own way, they’ll end up making more money. But that never stopped these guys – the MPAA, the RIAA, and now, the AAP.

Sure, I hear them when they complain about how Google has been seemingly arrogant, and how the company has presumed rather than politely requested permission. And maybe this truly is an issue of principle. I just called Pat Schroeder, who runs the AAP, and left word that I want to understand this better. Hopefully, she’ll call back. When she does, I’ll post more.

From the AAP release:

WASHINGTON D.C., October 19, 2005 –The Association of American Publishers (AAP) today announced the filing of a lawsuit against Google over its plans to digitally copy and distribute copyrighted works without permission of the copyright owners. The lawsuit was filed only after lengthy discussions broke down between AAP and Google’s top management regarding the copyright infringement implications of the Google Print Library Project.

The suit, which seeks a declaration by the court that Google commits infringement when it scans entire books covered by copyright and a court order preventing it from doing so without permission of the copyright owner, was filed on behalf of five major publisher members of AAP: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Pearson Education, Penguin Group (USA), Simon & Schuster and John Wiley & Sons.

The suit, which is being coordinated and funded by AAP, has the strong backing of the publishing industry and was filed following an overwhelming vote of support by the 20-member AAP Board which is elected by, and represents, the Association’s more than 300 member publishing houses.

Update: Pat and I have swapped calls and hope to speak later today or in the morning. And Google has issued a short response:

“Google Print is an historic effort to make millions of books easier for

people to find and buy. Creating an easy to use index of books is fair use

under copyright law and supports the purpose of copyright: to increase the

awareness and sales of books directly benefiting copyright holders. This

short-sighted attempt to block Google Print works counter to the interests

of not just the world’s readers, but also the world’s authors and

publishers.”



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8 thoughts on “Here We Go Again: Publishers Sue Google

  1. Keith says:

    I’m curious: do you think the entertainment industry would object if Google digitized all DVDs and made them searchable, with only a few second clip being shown at a time?

  2. “Their legacy business model is imperiled, and they fear change.”

    John, did you read my post here yesterday on “re-inventing publishing” — this in part is where I was coming from… I believe Publishing will go thru a transformation, and this xformation will go (or should go) beyond what Google Print is doing – beyond scan & search (which are important aspects of the whole equation), but a new way to publish, make available, discover, and make money (or recognition). It is a matter of time… And there is fear of this.

    Cheers,
    ceo

  3. Andi says:

    It has been possible for anyone to publish or swap anything online for about a decade now but only recently has it gradually become possible for the mainstream public to disintermediate the old line distribution.

    They are dinosaurs, but I’ll bet that even the real dinos fought tooth and nail for their survival–too bad they didn’t have lawyers 65 million years ago.

    Public libraries got grandfathered in only because they began while print was still in its early stages. This will get worse before it gets better, phonograph makers sued radio in the 1920’s as did the sheet music distributors, it is not a new thing, just a new twist.

  4. Yvonne Wackernagel says:

    Can someone tell me how Google has the authority to publicly print my very personal emails to my children about our business affairs? H E L P

  5. Yvonne Wackernagel says:

    Can someone tell me how Google has the authority to publicly print my very personal emails to my children about our business affairs? H E L P

  6. Yvonne Wackernagel says:

    Can someone tell me how Google has the authority to publicly print my very personal emails to my children about our business affairs? H E L P

  7. Yvonne says:

    I STILL HAVE A YEAR TO SUE THEM.