- Libraries are allowed, under copyright law, to make a single copy of any work in their possession. This is called the Library Exemption. There is a nice outline of the terms here. The libraries themselves can't get in trouble for contracting with Google to do this for them, because they are receiving no commercial advantage from it. Google clearly is receiving a competitive advantage from it, BUT:
- They may be able to make a good case for Fair Use, depending on the nature of what they keep from the book. There are four aspects to be weighed in any Fair Use defense (see Wikipedia):
- the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
- the nature of the copyrighted work;
- the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
- the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
I suspect the AAP would have an uphill battle in winning this one. I wouldn't be surprised if they wanted Google to license their books for their index at some fairly exorbitant rate, and Google refused to pay because they're doing the publishers a favor. That would make the lawsuit a negotiating tactic.