TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Google Offers Index of Public Domain Works

Google Offers Index of Public Domain Works

Associated Press News Wire (
Thu, 3 Nov 2005 12:01:17 -0600

Google Inc.'s Internet-leading search engine on Thursday will begin
serving up the entire contents of books and government documents that
aren't entangled in a copyright battle over how much material can be
scanned and indexed from five major libraries.

The list of Google's so-called "public domain" works -- volumes no
longer protected by copyright -- include Henry James novels, Civil War
histories, Congressional acts and biographies of wealthy New Yorkers.

Google said the material, available at,
represents the first large batch of public domain books and documents
to be indexed in its search engine since the Mountain View-based
company announced an ambitious library-scanning project late last

The program is designed to make more library material available
through a few clicks of a computer mouse and attract more people to
click on the highly profitable ads that Google displays on its Web

During the next several years, Google wants to create digital versions
of millions of books stacked in the New York Public Library and four
university libraries -- Stanford, Harvard, Michigan and Oxford.

Google declined to disclose how many books have been scanned from the
libraries so far. The project is expected to require years to

But a bitter copyright dispute is threatening to crimp Google's
plans. The Authors Guild and five major publishers are suing to
prevent Google from scanning copyrighted material in the libraries
without explicit permission. Because it plans to show only snippets
from copyrighted books, Google argues its scanning project constitutes
"fair use" of the material.

Google postponed the scanning of copyrighted books in August to give
writers and publishers more time to opt out of the program. The
scanning of copyrighted material resumed this week, with an emphasis
on books no longer in print.

On the Web:

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

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[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I would also call your attention to a
satirical work by Lauren Weinstein which
deals with the subject of Google's book scanning project here in our
Digest, V24_#499 from Wednesday, March 2, 2005. (Last Laugh! Google
Reality Reset.) PAT]

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