Google Inc. has issued subpoenas for information about its rivals' book-scanning projects as part of its defense against lawsuits attacking its plans to put the contents of entire libraries online. According to Google, it wants documents detailing every book the companies have made available online or plan to by the end of 2009.
Google sent subpoenas to Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp., the Association of American Publishers, HarperCollins Publishers Inc., Bertelsmann AG's Random House Inc., Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC, and Amazon.com Inc. The companies can choose to mark documents they turn over to Google later this month as confidential. A protective court order specifies Google can only use confidential information for its legal defense and not as "a competitive advantage."
The request for subpoenas is the result of a lawsuit filed last October against Google by the Association of American Publishers, which represents five major publishers, and the Authors Guild, a trade group representing about 8,000 writers, over its plans to make portions of copyright books available online for searching and reading.
Subpoenas filed in the U.S. District Court in New York include requests for lists of all authors, publishers, copyright holders, and copyright status of each book scanned by Yahoo, Amazon.com, and the other companies, as well as all contracts or communications with publishers, copyright holders, and libraries.