Skip to Content

Google is in the news again, and the company which famously promises to “do no evil” seems once again to be on the wrong side of the issue. This time the contretemps is over copyright issues. Google, which a while ago announced they wanted to scan copyrighted books from some of the world’s largest university libraries and index the material in their search engine, has halted the project until at least November. Seems copyright owners have problems with the effort, and who can really blame them–copyright protection is, after all, one way publishers make their money. Somewhat amazingly, Google wants copyright owners to opt-out of their program, instead of Google having to do the work of contacting copyright owners to get them to opt-in.

Google wants publishers to notify the company which copyrighted books they don’t want scanned, effectively requiring the industry to opt out of the program instead of opting in.

That approach rankled the Association of American Publishers.

“Google’s announcement does nothing to relieve the publishing industry’s concerns,” Patricia Schroeder, the trade group’s president, said in a statement Friday. “Google’s procedure shifts the responsibility for preventing infringement to the copyright owner rather than the user, turning every principle of copyright law on its ear.”

It would be one thing if Google offered royalties to copyright owners, but so far the company hasn’t promised to share any profits they make off the project.

Google is looking more and more like just another large corporation which tramples over anyone who gets in their way. As someone who cares about copyright, and who would also like to be able to download scanned books from these major libraries, I’m hoping the project goes forward–but only in a way that considers the rights and needs of publishers as well.

Deep Dive

Uncategorized

Embracing CX in the metaverse

More than just meeting customers where they are, the metaverse offers opportunities to transform customer experience.

Identity protection is key to metaverse innovation

As immersive experiences in the metaverse become more sophisticated, so does the threat landscape.

The modern enterprise imaging and data value chain

For both patients and providers, intelligent, interoperable, and open workflow solutions will make all the difference.

Scientists have created synthetic mouse embryos with developed brains

The stem-cell-derived embryos could shed new light on the earliest stages of human pregnancy.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.