Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Google infringing copyrights?

USA Today is reporting that popular search engine Google is being sued for copyright infringement by a group of 8,000 authors. The authors claim that there works are held at public and private libraries and that Google is infringing upon their copyrights by reproducing works that are not in the public domain.

Google has become an almost indispensable part of the internet. From the information that is available about the lawsuit, it is a little hard to tell what Google is doing that is infringing the copyrights. I think that the problem stems from Google Scholar, a service that provides abstracts of research documents and helps users get copies of the original document.

From a practical standpoint, it's hard to decide who is right in this situation. On one hand, Google is using its resources to help these authors expand the reach of their works and help researchers find documents quickly and easily without having to wander through a library. On the other hand, authors have the right to control the distribution of their copyrighted works.

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