At the direction of the board of the Association of American Publishers, president Pat Schroeder sent a letter to Google CEO Eric Schmidt earlier this month asking for a meeting between Google executives and AAP to discuss aspects of the Google Print for Libraries initiative. Although the letter has not been made public, Allan Adler, AAP v-p for legal and governmental affairs, confirmed that it deals with members' concerns over copyright issues raised by the library project. In addition to asking for a meeting, the letter called for Google to institute a six-month moratorium on including in the library project any books from AAP members that are under copyright.
Adler explained that ever since the library initiative—in which Google will scan the works of five major libraries—was announced, a number of publishers have contacted the company asking for further clarification of Google's plans to scan copyrighted works. For the most part, Adler said, Google's responses have been "unsatisfactory."
Adler said the launch of Google Library, only a few months after the official launch of Google Print, has created a "strange dynamic," in which Google is in a position to circumvent its agreements with individual publishers limiting which books would be scanned into Google's databases. What's the point of publishers having individual agreements with Google to manage copyrights, Adler wondered, if Google is engaged in another program through which it can scan copyrighted books without the permission of publishers?
The AAP's letter follows one sent by the Association of American University Presses in May that also raised copyright concerns about Google Library. That letter asked Google to respond by June 20; at press time on Friday, AAUP had not received a response.