Tech coalition stares down Google

Giants join forces to fight Google’s attempt to create world’s largest virtual library

Amazon, Microsoft and Yahoo are teaming up to fight Google as it tries to build the world’s largest virtual library. All three will sign up to the Open Book Alliance, a project from the non-profit Internet Archive. “Google is trying to monopolise the library system,” the Internet Archive’s founder, Brewster Kahle, told BBC News. “If this deal goes ahead, they’re making a real shot at being ‘the’ library and the only library.” The three tech heavyweights oppose a legal settlement that could make Google the main source for many works: back in 2008, the company reached an agreement with publishers and writers to settle two lawsuits that accused the company of copyright infringement for unauthorized book scanning. Google agreed to pay $125 million to create a Book Rights Registry, where writers and publishers get compensation for their works (they get 70 per cent from a book sale; Google gets the remaining 30, as well as rights to digitize orphan works, where the rights-holders aren’t known.) Critics say it will hurt public access to books by granting a “monopoly” over them. The Internet Archive, which has long opposed the deal, has scanned over 1.5 million books to date, all of which are available for free. “The Google Books settlement is injecting more competition into the digital books space, so it’s understandable why our competitors might fight hard to prevent more competition,” Google responded in a statement.

BBC News