Microsoft hands copyright control over to publishers

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Microsoft hands copyright control over to publishers

Software giant begins book digitisation, but side-steps copyright problems.

Microsoft has moved further into searching copyright material with its Windows Live Books Publisher Program. Launched in May, the program will be expanded within the coming weeks to accept submissions in digital form, in addition to the print material currently being processed.

This follows Microsoft’s recent move into searching copyrighted content within journals with the Windows Live Academic Search service.

Microsoft has worked hard to avoid the barrage of criticism Google faced when it launched the Google Books Library project to digitise copyright material. Microsoft’s Clifford Guren, director of partner evangelism, Windows Live Books, said: “To be clear, we are only scanning and indexing in-copyright books with the expressed permission of the rights holder.”

The Books Publisher Program comes under the umbrella of Windows Live Book Search. This comprises content from the Windows Live Books Publisher Program and the Windows Live Book Search Library Program.

Windows Live Books Publisher Program will enable rights holders to submit in-copyright titles for inclusion in its index.

Titles that are already available in digital form can be uploaded; books that are only available in print are shipped to Microsoft for scanning. Participating publishers choose how much or how little of their content they want users to be able to preview using three Preview Rights options.

Book publishers have responded positively to Microsoft’s latest initiative. Ammy Vogtlander, director of search at Elsevier, says it is too early to say what Elsevier’s contribution to the program will be. “Microsoft has contacted us and discussions about what content we might contribute and how searchable it will be are still underway. Elsevier is also participating in Google Book Search and Amazon’s program for the benefits of improved visibility of the book content, author and imprint.”

Gwenyth Jones, vice president of publishing information systems and technologies at John Wiley & Sons, also expressed interest in working on Books Publisher: “Search engines can provide an important service to end users.”
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