July 20, 2005

Nonprofit publishers call on Google to cease and desist . . .


Attacks on Google Print continue, with a scathing statement from the Association for Learned and Professional Society Publishers, the trade association representing nonprofit publishers, such as university presses, around the world. According to the statement (pdf file) posted at the group’s website, “Irrespective of whether the results may be damaging or beneficial to the copyright owners, the fact remains that copying on such a scale is in clear contravention of copyright law . . . .” The organization was at one time in negotiations with Google on developing Google Print for Publishers, which included an “opt-out” for publishers. But the ALPSP condemns the Library version of Google Print because it “was apparently developed without any consultation with publishers.” Says the statement, “while we appreciate that publisher-by -publisher negotiations could be impractical, by working through representative trade organization, or even collective licensing agencies, it should be possible to negotiate a workable licensing framework . . . . However, Google’s representatives do not yet seem willing to arrive at a practical way forward in relation to in-copyright works which the publsher has not yet digitized.” The ALPSP says it “calls on Google to cease unlicensed digitization of copyright materials with immediate effect, and to enter into urgent discussions with representatives of the publishing industry in order to arrive at an appropriate licensing solution . . . . We cannot believe that a business which prides itself on its cooperation with publishers could seriously wish to build part of its business on a basis of copyright infringement.”

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.