Since 2002, Google has been trying to digitize books from all round the world and make them open to search. The company has been opposed by publishers, leading to a settlement in 2005 between them, with publishers getting a share for digital book sales generated by Google's efforts. However, the issue surrounding orphaned works, which are books where the rights owner cannot be contacted, has become a sticking point, with other parties like Amazon and Microsoft arguing that the 2005 settlement, which allows Google to scan them without the consent of the rights owner, goes too far in granting Google the power to digitize and profit from such works.
Wired - "While the digitization of books and the creation of a universal digital library would benefit many, the ASA [Amended Settlement Agreement] would simply go too far. It would permit this class action — which was brought against defendant Google Inc. to challenge its scanning of books and display of ’snippets’ for on-line searching — to implement a forward-looking business arrangement that would grant Google significant rights to exploit entire books, without permission of the copyright owners,” U.S. District Judge Denny Chin of New York ruled."
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