Google Print Pressures Libraries

New copyright lawsuit against Google Print, an effort to put books online, puts the screws to libraries, legal analysts say. (

A recently filed lawsuit claiming Googles digitizing of library books is a "massive" copyright violation will deter libraries from opening their collections to the search giant, which could ultimately doom the effort, say legal experts.

Libraries are not now a defendant in the U.S. District Court complaint against Google filed earlier Tuesday by The Authors Guild and three authors.

But three legal experts say they easily could be, given their willing participation by making book collections available to Google, which intends to make the titles and bits of each book available online.

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Just the threat of a nasty legal fight is enough to persuade some libraries to stay away from the project, the experts said.

Doomsday scenarists believe libraries would opt out if The Authors Guild class action suit is victorious, which would altogether kill the endeavor, known as Google Print.

If anything, the recent lawsuit certainly adds to the pressure libraries that agree to take part in Google Print will face.

The Association of American University Presses, which represents scholarly publishers, sent Google soon after, in which it described Google Print as "questionable at best."

"The Authors Guild suit puts libraries on notice that they cant and shouldnt do this," said Ralph Oman, a privately practicing attorney who for eight years was the nations chief government official charged with administering the national copyright law.

"Libraries certainly could be drawn in; they are making the infringements possible. Everyone recognizes that making a copy is a reproduction and prohibited without authors permission."

To most who know of it, Google Print is the largest and most important effort yet to bring the worlds collection of books online, which would significantly increase the amount of usable information available on the Internet.

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