• United States



by Paul Kerstein

Print Lawsuit Just Routine, Says Google’s Schmidt

Oct 26, 20053 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

A lawsuit filed against Google Inc. last week by a group of publishersalleging copyright infringement over its ambitious plan to scan anddigitize thousands of books was painted as a routine part of doingbusiness by Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief executive officer, during aspeech in Tokyo on Tuesday.

Schmidt, addressing the Global Management Forum conference, told thelargely Japanese audience that such lawsuits are a daily hazard for acompany like Google.

“Google has as its mission to organize all of the world’s information.Not everyone agrees with that and in the American legal system if youdisagree you get sued, so we get sued everyday,” he said. “[It’s]probably not very common in Japan but it’s routine in the UnitedStates.”

The suit was filed last week by The Association of American Publishers(AAP) and seeks a judgement that Google’s scanning of books is aninfringement of copyright. The Google Print program, which is alreadyin public testing, is building a searchable database of thousands ofbooks. Visitors to the Web site, at, can runsearches on books that have already been scanned and then see a copy ofthe relevant page of the book.

“Well, last week among the many suits were a series of suits about ourconstruction of a digital card catalog,” Schmidt said. “We are buildingan index of all of the books in the world and in order to do that wehave to scan them. Some publishers have decided that’s not OK. [It]makes no sense to me because most books are not read, sorry, and whenthey are copied and indexed people will be able to buy them,” he said.

Google was also sued in September by The Authors Guild, which claimedmassive copyright infringement as a result of Google Print.

Schmidt underlined to his audience that the service doesn’t allow usersto read the entire text of the book online and also provides links toonline book shops where it can be purchased and other details about thebook that would enable it to be ordered from a local retail store.

“We are not allowing end users to make a copy of the book or even see apage. That is very important. You cannot use Google to take a book andmake a copy. You can use Google to find the book and buy it,” he said.

Google declined a request for an interview with Schmidt.

By Martyn Williams – IDG News Service (Tokyo Bureau)