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That article said that explicitly, no mention of copying all books, just old ones, out of print, etc.
Which is a great idea, that's how google should have done it too, they would have totally avoided all the legal heahaches they are now facing due to their total lack of regard for legal copyright.
No, but usually when libraries talk about out of print books, they are talking about older books, anything after I think about 1975 has the newer copyright laws, then those were 'upgraded' even further due to very successful corporate media lobbying to essentially never stop.
that's what makes all these projects doomed, you can digitize anything pretty much done before 1975, but anything done after that, especially after I think 2000, will never expire for all practical purposes unless the copyright holder permits it to. The passage of DMCA was a very sad day for both artists and the public, but a very good day for multi/media companies.
Obviously, if google possessed even a fraction of the common sense you can find on the webmasterworld copy writing forum, they would have followed the advice given there year in and year out any time somebody asks about reproducing another site's content without asking for permission. The question is always: can I do this? and the [correct] answer is always: don't ask us, ask the site owner/copyright holder.
Why google did not just go and ask the copyright holders for permission is absolutely mind boggling, except for one reason: I think they knew they would not be able to get permission, so they pretended, like the big kids they are, that they could just do it without asking.
If MSN and Yahoo, on the other hand, decide to do this right, which I think they are doing - MSN after all has some understanding of what intellectual property is - and actually get permission first, before scanning/digitizing, then they will succeed long before google. Since this is the only rational course of action, as long as google persists in maintaining that they can copy work that they don't have rights to copy, they will fail, msn and yahoo will probably find more responsive ears among the publishing industry is my guess, the media companies already know ms is more than willing to go along with any type of digital rights management they can think of. Google on the other hand makes its living off other people's work, it's hard for those guys to see things as clearly.
I think they've come to realize this, I'm sure that Bill knows inside that he doesn't care about the web, never has, and never will, it's just necessity for him, he has to deal with it. He's the one that said the web would never go anywhere after all. When you've been wrong for 10 years, might be time to admit it's not your thing.