In December 2004, Google unveiled an ambitious plan to digitize and republish a massive collection of books in public domain. The company now has agreements with several large university libraries—including those at Stanford, Harvard, and Oxford—to scan the books in their collections. That process, however, has included the scanning of books still under copyright and those for which the copyright status has not been determined. Google has argued that scanning such works is within the domain of “fair use” as long as the complete scanned text is published on Google Books. Several publishers have disagreed and sued Google for copyright infringement but reached a settlement in 2008. In March of this year, however, Federal Judge Denny Chin rejected that settlement, leaving the legal status of the project uncertain. A project that reviews the state of the project and analyzes the competing arguments would be very timely.

Our Aims

On this site we present an overview of the controversy surrounding Google Books. We do not take a position on the topic but rather strive to provide readers with a complete picture of the Google Books project, from its background and related events, Google's and its opponents' positions on the project's legitimacy, to where the project currently stands as we look into the future.