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Google indexing all books : When will the law come?

From Jeffrey Toobin in this week’s New Yorker:

Every weekday, a truck pulls up to the Cecil H. Green Library, on the campus of Stanford University, and collects at least a thousand books, which are taken to an undisclosed location and scanned, page by page, into an enormous database being created by Google. The company is also retrieving books from libraries at several other leading universities including Harvard and Oxford, as well as the New York Public Library. At the University of Michigan, Google’s original partner in Google Book Search, tens of thousands of books are processed each week on the company’s custom-made scanning equipment.

Google intends to scan every book ever published, and to make the full texts searchable, in the same way that Web sites can be searched on the company’s engine at At the books site, which is up and running in a beta (or testing) version, at, you can enter a word or phrase—say, Ahab and whale—and the search returns a list of works in which the terms appear, in this case nearly eight hundred titles, including numerous editions of Herman Melville’s novel……As Marissa Mayer [a vice-president at Google who is in charge of the books project] put it, ‘Google has become known for providing access to all of the world’s knowledge, and if we provide access to books we are going to get much higher-quality and much more reliable information. We are moving up the food chain.’

There’s a heck of a lot less law books, especially case law, than the thirty-two million books Google intends to scan. When is Google going to back up a truck to the law libraries?

If Google does not wear done Thomson/West/FindLaw and LexisNexis copyright claims, as is usually the case, then install free Google servers at each court house to digitally record the law. I’m assuming the advantages of using Google’s superior technology and innovation outweigh any lobbying of the courts by the Thomson – LexisNexis dualopoly.

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