Google restarts Print

Google has ended its self-imposed moratorium on scanning books. The company ceased the digitising the libraries of its ‘Google Print’ partners in August.

The moratorium was called following complaints by publishers and copyright holders. The gap was to allow copyright holders to opt out of the programme, but the window has now closed and Google says it will recommence scanning ‘soon’.

However, it seems that Google will continue to tread warily. The search engine says it will concentrate its efforts on scanning books that are unique to libraries including many public domain books, orphaned works and out-of-print titles.

The company is also backing off from offering full text of the books. It says that Google Print will offer some background information, view short snippets and offer links to places where they can buy the book or find it in a local library.

Since the Google Print initiative was launched last December, it has been dogged with controversy. The initiative has been condemned by some as Anglocentric cultural imperialism and Google has been sued for copyright infringement by the US Authors Guild. Meanwhile competitors ranging from the Europe Union to Yahoo have announced their own digitisation initiatives.

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