Well, now a publisher’s trade association has joined the fray in the fight against Google’s massive copyright infringement scheme. The Association of American Publishers’s press release states, quite correctly, that “the bottom line is that under its current plan, Google is seeking to make millions of dollars by freeloading on the talent and property of authors and publishers.”
This new lawsuit joins the suit filed by the Author’s Guild last month. The press release issued when the Author’s Guild suit was filed said, “This is a plain and brazen violation of copyright law. It’s not up to Google or anyone other than the authors, the rightful owners of these copyrights, to decide whether and how their works will be copied.”
Google apparently still doesn’t get it. Its response to the AAP lawsuit announcement is “Google Print is a historic effort to make millions of books easier for people to find and buy. Creating an easy-to-use index of books is fair use under copyright law and supports the purpose of copyright: to increase the awareness and sales of books directly benefiting copyright holders,” said David Drummond, Google’s vice president of corporate development and general counsel. “This short-sighted attempt to block Google Print works counter to the interests of not just the world’s readers, but also the world’s authors and publishers.” Never mind that it constitutes a flagrant violation of even the most fundamental concepts of copyright law. Never let the details get in the way of a good program idea, I guess. Or so seems Google’s attitude.
As for me, I can’t see how having my intellectual property–my blood, sweat, and tears–available to the world for free–with no payment of royalties to me–or any other author, for that matter–benefits either my publisher or me, but I’m just a dumb lawyer. What do I know as compared to the all-knowing Google?
That Google is trampling on the intellectual property rights of authors and publishers is of no account and of no consideration to Google. I guess it’s going to take losing these two lawsuits–and the concomitant judgments, which will include awards of attorney’s fees–for them to get it.
This litigation interests me a great deal for a variety of reasons. As an attorney who has dabbled in intellectual property law for the better part of twenty years, it’s of great interest to me professionally and intellectually. IP issues have always fascinated me. As a publisher, I have a vested interest in protecting the copyright rights of my authors and of doing everything I can possibly do to maximize the company’s profits to benefit its shareholders, including preventing our works from being readily available to the world for free. Finally, as an author who has not consented to the infringement of his copyrights by Google, I am outraged by their policy. The combination of these factors means that I am a zealous supporter of this litigation. As I pointed out in a prior post on this blog, I view Google’s program as being virtually identical to the sorts of copyright infringement that the U. S. Supreme Court outlawed in the Grokster decision earlier this year. If Grokster is illegal, so, too, should this program be.
Let’s hope that the AAP and the Author’s Guild prevail.Scridb filter