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The Authors Guild is appealing Google’s November fair use win in its Google Book scanning case. The Guild says that Google is “yanking readers out of online bookstores” and stifling online bookstore competition with its digitized books.

"Google emptied the shelves of libraries and delivered truckloads of printed books to scanning centers, where the books were converted into digital format," the Guild’s lawyers said.

They wrote that the library project was designed to lure potential book purchasers away from online retailers like Amazon.com and drive them to Google.

Wait, what?

First of all, Google doesn’t make the entire book available, except for public domain titles and titles where it has otherwise obtained permission from the publisher. It just shows enough of it to reveal why it came up in a Google Books user’s web search.

If someone wants to read the entire book, Google refers them to a bookstore—be it Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, IndieBound, or others. (Or presumably themselves, but the one title I spot-checked didn’t have a sale listing from Google Play Books.) They get referral fees, the bookstore sells the book, everyone’s happy. How is that “stifling competition”? That’s helping people find a book to buy that they probably wouldn’t have even known about before!

Second, this is the same Authors Guild that blamed lax antitrust enforcement for Amazon’s domination of the online book sales market, called Amazon “anticompetitive,” and insisted that the DoJ antitrust suit against the publishers was only going to help Amazon.

Now they’re suddenly all concerned over Google’s impact on Amazon’s wellbeing? Seriously?

Do you have no shame at all, Authors Guild? None whatsoever?

 
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