Microsoft blasts Google for book-scanning plan
Software giant Microsoft Corp. lashed out at Google Inc.'s rival book-scanning project, saying the internet company's plan "systematically violates copyright."
In prepared remarks he is scheduled to deliver Tuesday to a publishing industry group, a Microsoft lawyer said Google is cutting into the profits of authors and publishers in its rush to grab content.
"Companies that create no content of their own, and make money solely on the backs of other people's content, are raking in billions through advertising revenue," wrote Thomas C. Rubin, an associate general counsel at Microsoft, in the speech he was scheduled to give at the annual meeting of the Association of American Publishers in New York.
Google and Microsoft are both scanning millions of books no longer covered by copyright law for use on the internet, but each has taken a different approach to copyrighted books.
Microsoft has partnered with Yahoo Inc. and the Open Content Alliance to digitize informationbut is only including copyrighted materialthat book publishers give Microsoft exclusive permission to use.
Google, on the other hand,is scanning books regardless of copyright but only displaying snippets of the books in what it considers "fair use."
The practice has landed Google in a number of legal battles since it launched the project in 2005. Both the U.S. Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers have sued the company in an effort to stop the scanning of books without permission.
As it gathers evidence for its case, Google has subpoenaed Amazon.com Inc., Yahoo and Microsoft in an effort to learn more about how its rivals are scanning books. Both Yahoo and Amazon have rejected Google's request for information.
Rubin said Google's track record of protecting copyright is "weak at best", citing what he called the "cavalier approach" of online video-sharing site YouTube, which Google purchased last year. Rubin's remarks also appeared in a newspaper column in the Financial Times.
Google responded on Monday, saying the company complies with international copyright laws when it helps connect users to information from thousands of content providers.
"The result has been more exposure and in many cases more revenue for authors, publishers and producers of content," said David C. Drummond, senior vice president of corporate development and Google's chief legal officer.
With files from the Associated Press