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Google restarts online books plan

By November 1, 2005No Comments

Google restarts online books plan

Google wants to make the world’s books accessible online
Google is resuming its controversial project to digitise millions of books and make them searchable on the net.
The search giant is pressing ahead with its plans despite growing legal pressure from publishers and authors.

They object to what they say are violations of copyright.

But in an apparent attempt to reassure critics, the search giant said on its blog that it would focus on books that were out of print or in the public domain.

2015 archive

Google is pumping $200m (£110m) into creating a digital archive of millions of books from four top US libraries – the libraries of Stanford, Michigan and Harvard universities, and of the New York Public Library – by 2015.

It is also digitising out-of-copyright books from the UK’s Oxford University.

But Google has been criticised for not getting explicit permission from the copyright holders before scanning the texts.

The controversy led Google to put its library project on hold in August. The pause is designed to allow publishers to tell Google which books should not be included in the scanning programme.

In a separate action, the Authors Guild has filed a class-action suit against Google for copyright infringement.

Despite the pending legal action, Google is pressing ahead with its plans. On its blog, the company said it was resuming the scanning of texts, but also offered some words of reassurance.

“As always, the focus of our library effort is on scanning books that are unique to libraries including many public domain books, orphaned works and out-of-print titles,” said the blog.

“We’re starting with library stacks that mostly contain older and out-of-circulation books, but also some newer books.

“These older books are the ones most inaccessible to users, and make up the vast majority of books – a conservative estimate would be 80%.”

“Our digital card catalog will let people discover these books through Google search, see their bibliographic information, view short snippets related to their queries (never the full text), and offer them links to places where they can buy the book or find it in a local library.”

However, Google still plans to scan newer books that are both in print and under copyright protection at a later date.

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