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Publishers join forces to sue Google

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The Association of American Publishers (AAP) is suing Google over its plans to make scans of millions of books available online. Google announced earlier this year that it would digitise and index the content of five major libraries, and make the content searchable.

The publishing group says Google's Print Library project will infringe their copyrights, but adds that it is not seeking damages, only legal costs. The complaint was filed, yesterday, in the US District court in New York by Penguin Group USA, McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education, Simon & Schuster and John Wiley & Sons,

For its part, Google says the lawsuit is "shortsighted", according to the BBC. It argues that its plans, which will not make full texts available online, amount to little more than a catalogue of the books in question. According to Business Week the company says its plans are entirely legal because copyright law allows for reproduction for research purposes.

Copyright owners can ask Google not to include their works, provided they do so by the beginning of November. But the AAP says this is not enough, and has asked the New York court to issue an injunction stopping the process, on the grounds that its members will suffer "continuing, irreparable and imminent harm".

In September, the Authors Guild and a former US poet Laureate joined forces to sue the search company over the same issue.

Authors Guild president Nick Taylor described Google's actions as "a plain and brazen violation of copyright law". He argued that the authors are the only people who should be able to decide what happens to the works, and that it was not a decision Google should be making. ®

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