Friday, August 21, 2009

Microsoft, Yahoo Unite Against Google Book Search; InformationWeek, 8/21/09

Thomas Claburn via InformationWeek; Microsoft, Yahoo Unite Against Google Book Search:

A new coalition opposed to Google's Book Search settlement has been formed.

"The major areas of contention revolve around issues of privacy, exclusivity, and indemnification from liability. Critics of the settlement want Google to commit to: offering online readers the same privacy protection enjoyed by offline readers; an open registry system rather than one controlled by two publishing industry groups; and indemnification from copyright claims for those who want to scan orphaned works -- books for which the copyright holder cannot be found -- as Google has done.

In May, Google said that it planned "to build and support a digital book ecosystem to allow our partner publishers to make their books available for purchase from any Web-enabled device," showing that Google Book Search will become a platform for Google book sales. This presumably explains Amazon's reported decision to join the coalition opposing the settlement.

To Google, Microsoft's public opposition seems incongruous because the company shuttered its Live Book Search project last year "to focus on search verticals with high commercial intent, such as travel...

Google insiders have acknowledged being surprised by the breadth of the opposition to the Book Search settlement and the company has recently been more energetic about making its views known."

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