The Authors Guild, along with a former US poet laureate, is suing Google for copyright infringement.
Google operates two programs intended to incorporate print material into its search index, one of which, the Google Print for Libraries program, is targeted by the suit. Google has been scanning the collections at five libraries, bypassing the authors - who of course hold the copyright on their works - and including selections in search results.
"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," Authors Guild president Nick Taylor said in a statement.
The Guild represents 8,000 authors in the United States, and the case was filed in a New York District court and names three authors including poet Daniel Hoffman.
Google suspended its library digitization last month, but it wasn't enough to mollify the publishers.
"Google, an enormously successful company, claims a sweeping right to appropriate the property of others for its own commercial use unless it is told, case by case and instance by instance, not to. In our view this contradicts both law and common sense," the Associate of University Presses replied. ®