By Eric Auchard
Google Inc., responding to an outcry by publishers, has temporarily
scaled back plans to make the full text of copyrighted books in five
of the world's great libraries searchable via the Internet.
Google, the world's most popular way of searching the Internet, said
it will allow copyright holders who contact the company to withhold
books from the project, according to Adam Smith, program manager of
the Google Print program.
For three months, Google will stop scanning copyrighted books to allow
owners to inform the company of objections.
"Any and all copyright holders ... can tell us which books they'd
prefer that we not scan if we find them in a library," Adam Smith, the
product manager of Google Print, said in a statement on Google's
corporate Web site.
Nonetheless, Google is moving ahead with its ambitious project to work
with publishers and librarians to scan books in the public domain that
are not covered by copyright, he said.
Libraries participating in the program include Oxford University,
Harvard University, the New York Public Library, Stanford University
and the University of Michigan.
The Google spokesman declined to comment on how many book titles are
now searchable on the Google Print site, which works by typing the
name of an author, a book title or a word or phrase into a Web search
box at http://print.google.com/.
Google is working with publishers large and small to encourage them to
make their books searchable. In exchange, Google can create distinct
pages for each book with advertising and links to retailers. As a
further inducement, publishers can create a direct sales link to
consumers for their titles.
"We are really excited about the scope of this program and the good it
will do for the world," Smith said in a telephone interview. Google
said that virtually all major U.S. and U.K. publishers are partici-
pating, at least in part, in Google Print.
Critics of the program said that Google's plan to allow copyright
holders to indicate whether they wish to opt out of the Google Print
project switches the burden of upholding copyright from infringers to
the copyright holders.
"This really stands copyright law on its head," Patricia Schroeder,
president and chief executive of the Association of American
Publishers, said in a phone interview. "There are hundreds of years of
tradition that go the other way."
"Google's announcement does nothing to relieve the publishing
industry's concerns," said Schroeder, a former congresswoman from
Smith replied that Google is extending the logic of searching for
online materials to printed books to make them more accessible.
"What we are doing here is legal under the principles of fair use," he
Schroeder said her organization and Google had been unable to come to
terms on a proposal to address the concerns of copyright holders.
Smith said Google was continuing to talk with organizations of
publishers, authors and other interested parties to strike a balance
between the interests of publishers and readers.
Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.
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