Chilled by publishers, Google Print halts some scans

Google today announced that it has temporarily halted scans of copyright-protected books from libraries into its Google Print database. Snip from a post by Print Product Manager Adam M. Smith on Google's official blog:
Over the last few months, we've been talking with numerous publishers, publishing industry organizations and authors about our Google Print Publisher Program and Google Print Library Project. Today I'd like to mention two new features that reflect these discussions and which we feel will considerably improve both programs.

If you're in the Publisher Program (or you decide to join it), you can now give us a list of the books that, if we scan them at a library, you'd like to have added immediately to your account. This way you can have your books in Google Print, which will put them into search results, direct potential buyers to your website, provide ongoing reports about user interest in your books, and your books will also earn revenue from contextual advertising – even if they are out of print.

We think most publishers and authors will choose to participate in the publisher program in order introduce their work to countless readers around the world. But we know that not everyone agrees, and we want to do our best to respect their views too. So now, any and all copyright holders – both Google Print partners and non-partners – can tell us which books they'd prefer that we not scan if we find them in a library. To allow plenty of time to review these new options, we won't scan any in-copyright books from now until this November.

Link to full text of post on the Google blog.

Reactions around the web include this take from the EFF's Jason Schultz:

This is a clear example of copyright failing the public in the digital age. Google isn't selling the books; they just need to scan them to help Internet users find what they're looking for. The fact that publishers are able to hold up this process works against consumers and the marketplace, not in their favor.
Siva Vaidhyanathan has a different take:
Google did not have the right to make wholesale copies of millions of copyrighted books without permission from the copyright holders. Google's original plan fails every possible fair use test ever tried. See, for example, American Geophysical Union v. Texaco. If copyright is to mean anything at all, then corporations may not copy entire works that they have never purchased without permission for commercial gain.
Link to full text of Siva's post.

Derek Slater says,

I think Siva is dead-wrong on the law and policy of Google Print. The law does not say what he says it does, and, even if it did, I doesn't see why it ought to.
Link to Derek's post.

Link to a related CNET story, here is another from Red Herring. Here's the AP story, via Wired News.