Google to Yahoo, Microsoft, Amazon: Hand over confidential, competitive info
Google will apparently do anything to ensure its $122 billion market cap free-content by Google's “fair-use” business model steam rolls on.Google is using the courts to force Yahoo, Microsoft and Amazon to hand over their proprietary, confidential, competitive information to Google in a shrewd, Google-centric ploy in its efforts to fight copyright lawsuits over its book-scanning project.
Google will apparently do anything to ensure its $122 billion market cap free-content by Google's “fair-use” business model steam rolls on.
Google is using the courts to force Yahoo, Microsoft and Amazon to hand over their proprietary, confidential, competitive information to Google in a shrewd, Google-centric ploy in its efforts to fight copyright lawsuits over its book-scanning project. According to Bloomberg reports:
Google…is seeking information on rival projects by the companies, including book lists, costs, estimated sales, dealings with publishers and possible benefit or harm to copyright owners, according to papers filed in U.S. District Court in New York.
Google is asking for confidential information from its rivals that it doesn’t disclose itself:
Google, which doesn't disclose how many books it has scanned, also wants to know the title, authors and copyright status of books already offered through competitors' book projects, according to the documents.
Google’s aggressive legal maneuvering to defend its free-content by “fair-use” business model is complemented by public relations portraying Google as a benevolent business development ally for book publishers.
Google has been enlisting publishers to voluntarily submit their books so that Web searchers can more easily find titles related to their interests, but some fear the project could lead to piracy or exploitation of their copyrighted content.
'Google Book Search has helped us turn searchers into consumers, said Colleen Scollans, the director of online sales for Oxford University Press. She declined to provide specific figures, but said that sales growth has been "significant". Scollans estimated that 1 million customers have viewed 12,000 Oxford titles using the Google program.
Google does not release data on how many people are using the service, how many books have been scanned or how many searchers have clicked through to buy books.
Book search results from Google provide short page snippets and links to buy the books from online retailers or directly from publishers.
Some of the same publishers participating in the program have also united to file a lawsuit against Google alleging copyright violation over a separate plan by the Web search leader to digitize the world's libraries.
Others, including News Corp.'s HarperCollins, are building their own digital repositories.
Specialty publisher Springer Science + Business reported sales growth of its backlist catalog using Google Book Search, with 99 percent of the 30,000 titles it has in the program getting viewed, including many published before 1992.
'We suspect that Google really helps us sell more books,' said Kim Zwollo, Springer's global director of special licensing, declining to provide specific figures.
While the Reuters article is titled “Book sales get a lift from Google scan plan,” book publishers cited only put forth “suscpicions” of sales due to Google.
While Google declares “we respect copyright,” it does not put forth a single way that it respects copyright. Google’s “Respecting copyright” paragraph simply states the ways in which Google uses content protected by copyright through an aggressive “fair use” legal strategy (also see “Google, YouTube: multi-billion dollar ‘fair-use’ bets”):
those laws also encourage others to make use of content in limited ways. That's why newspapers are allowed to include short quotations from in-copyright books in their reviews. That's also why search engines can show snippets (small excerpts) of text in their results. Copyright owners benefit from these types of usage because they help to publicize their works.
Google cites Google News and Google Book Search as examples of how “Google protects copyright in practice.”
In both applications, Google dangles promises of bountiful search traffic eagerly clicking on news “headlines” and book “snippets.” Google’s promises of link love, however, are merely ephemeral IOUs, without any tangible, guaranteed return on copyright exploitation.
What is certain, however, is that Google gains no-cost access to content, which it can sell ads against.