Authors Hit Google With Copyright Lawsuit. And let the fun begin! Google's attempt to make print books accessible to Web searchers has finally resulted in a copyright battle in the courts.
In essence, the authors bringing the lawsuit are correct. Google has no right to copy their works (by making an online version) without getting their permission first. Google can not put an opt-out option for the scanning project. Instead, Google needs an opt-in mechanism for those who want to participate.
However, Google is morally in the right. They are not stealing anything and will not be giving these books away for free online. Only portions of copyrighted works would be available to searchers. In many cases, this would help the authors if searchers decide to buy copies of the books they would have never known about if Google hadn't digitized them in the first place.
Perhaps what we need here is a major re-write of copyright laws to bring the laws into check with the reality of the online world?
From the site:
An organization of more than 8,000 authors accused Google Inc. Tuesday of "massive copyright infringement," saying the powerful Internet search engine cannot put its books in the public domain for commercial use without permission.
"The authors' works are contained in certain public and university libraries and have not been licensed for commercial use," The Author's Guild Inc. said in the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
The lawsuit asked the court to block Google from copying the books so the authors would not suffer irreparable harm by being deprived of the right to control reproduction of their works. It sought class-action status on behalf of anyone or any entity with a copyright to a literary work at the University of Michigan library.