Google to restart book scanning

After putting the scanning of copyrighted books on hold; Google said it will start up again soon.

Google said it will soon resume scanning books that have been protected by copyright into its Google Print database, despite two lawsuits charging the company with copyright infringement.

In August, Google said it would hold off on scanning copyright books until Nov. 1 so that publishers would have more time to tell Google which books they didn't want scanned. Google now says it will start scanning all copyright works held in collections by its library partners but said the exact date of when it will begin doing so again was still to be determined.

Google Print is an initiative from Google to scan books into a database that can be searched by users. Two groups, The Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers, have filed lawsuits against Google because, they say, Google is infringing copyrights by scanning books that are still protected by copyright.

"I think it's risky," said Bradley Wright, a partner with Banner and Witcoff, a law firm specializing in intellectual property, commenting on Google's decision to start scanning in copyright materials. "There's no question they are copying complete books and under U.S. law that's a copyright violation."

Google has offered to allow authors to opt out of the program. However, historically copyright law has required content users to expressly ask for permission before using the content, rather than assume that the permission is granted unless told otherwise. Google continues to maintain that the Google Print program constitutes fair use and complies with copyright law because users won't be able to access entire works, only snippets.

Google said that when it starts scanning copyright books again, it will focus mainly on older, out-of-print material but that it will include some books that are still in print. The older books are less accessible, the company said, so by scanning them, Google is making these books easier for people to access.

In its statement, Google also emphasized the importance of its publisher program, compared to the library program. Google is filling its Google Print database through two different initiatives. With the library program, libraries allow Google to scan their books but Google can only display bibliographic information plus a couple of sentences around the search term entered by a user, the company said in its statement. With the publisher program, Google works with publishers to gain permission to include books in the database and thus can display more information than for books acquired through the library program.

Depending on the way that contracts are written, publishers in many cases do have the right to reproduce the works they publish and thus would be in the position to negotiate a deal allowing Google to scan in the books they publish without express permission by authors, Wright said.

Each of Google's library partners has a slightly different agreement with Google. The University of Michigan has offered its entire library, including books still under copyright, while other partners including the New York Public Library and Oxford University are offering books whose copyright have expired.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?