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