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Publishers Protest Google Print Test

A group of publishers is protesting Google’s Print beta search that began Friday, which lets users search the complete text of books from libraries and universities, saying the search engine may violate copyright laws.

The Association of American University Presses, New York, fears that Google is scanning copyrighted work from publishers that do not want their books scanned and placed online, particularly works from Harvard, Michigan and Stanford universities. The association also is concerned that Google plans to gives copies of digitized works from those universities to participating libraries.

“Google asserts that it can make these copies without seeking permission,” AAUP executive director Peter Givler wrote in a letter to Google. Though publishers were enthusiastic about the program last year when Google representatives talked with them about its “Print for Publishers” program, they did not know they were agreeing to participate in the Google “Print for Libraries” program, both part of the Google Print beta launched last week.

“News of Google Print for Libraries came as a complete surprise,” Givler wrote. “It had not been mentioned by Google representatives during any of the discussions they were having with our members.”

Google touts Google Print as an advertising opportunity for book publishers. Consumers can enter search terms in Google Print, then get a list of book titles, along with page numbers, that match their terms.

“Google Print enables publishers to promote their books on Google. We may also show contextually-targeted Google AdWords ads on these pages,” according to information on the Google Print site.

Publishers will get a share of revenue generated from ads “appearing on their content,” the Google Print information says.

Of note to online booksellers, the search results include a “Buy this book” link to online bookstores that sell the book. Searchers also can find nearby libraries that carry the book, according to Google.

Google said it partnered with several major libraries to digitize their collections and wants to work with additional publishers.

Christine Blank covers online marketing and advertising, including e-mail marketing and paid search, for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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