Google Wants Microsoft, Yahoo Data to Defend Book-Scan Initiative

Google, the world’s leading search engine, is subpoenaing information from both Microsoft and Yahoo, its two major competitors in the search space, for use in defense of its controversial book-scan initiative against copyright lawsuits filed by publishers and pundits, MercuryNews.com reports.

A handful of publishers, writers and representatives groups—including McGraw Hill and the Authors Guild—charge Google with ignoring copyright restrictions in its effort to digitize all the books of four major U.S. universities, as well as sections of collections in the New York Public Library and Oxford University’s library, according to MercuryNews.com.

Documents filed in U.S. District Court in New York say Google is requesting that Microsoft and Yahoo hand over details of their book-scan plans and proof that they have received the appropriate permissions for the volumes they scan as part of the program, MercuryNews.com reports.

The groups opposing Google and its book-scan program have thrown their support behind a separate digitization plan, dubbed the Open Content Alliance, which requires the expressed permission of copyright holders before it scans any content, MercuryNews.com reports. This program was launched by Yahoo and the Internet Archive, a nonprofit entity, and it said it will make available to various search engines all content it scans, according to MercuryNews.com.

In 2005, Microsoft, the world’s largest producer of software, said it would support the Open Content Alliance and that it planned to debut its own digitization program, MercuryNews.com reports.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Google also plans to subpoena information from Amazon.com, Random House and the Association of American Publishers, according to MercuryNews.com.

In related news, Google on Wednesday announced that it launched a new website that culls all of its digitized books, video clips, maps and blogging services to help provide teachers and other members of academia with an organized set of resources to combat illiteracy.

The search giant also recently expanded its book-search service to allow users to download printable copies of some volumes.

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