Microsoft, Yahoo & Amazon Partner To Sink Google Books Project

Three of the biggest technology companies in the world, Microsoft, Amazon and Yahoo, have come together to fight Google's plans to create the biggest online digital library, Google Books.

The three have joined the tentatively named Open Book Alliance, an offshoot of the Internet Archive, a non profit library which maintains a well known source of material online at Archive.org and provides with the Wayback Machine service.

The group has already said that it would oppose a legal settlement that would see Google pay $125 million to the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers to create a Book Rights Registry after the group was sued for infringing authors' copyrights.

A judge gave authors four months to decide whether they would opt out of the agreement; importantly, they are all opted in by default. The deadline, September 4th, is approaching fast.

Google however would have kept 30 percent of any sales and opponents reckon that this would have given Google a monopoly on a significant portion of the market since Google would overnight turn into a giant e-book repository.

Furthermore, Google would have been granted permission to digitise "orphan books", publications whose rights holders have not been traced or identified and which according to some, account for half of the market.

Founder Brewster Kahle told the the BBC news' Maggie Shiels that "Google is trying to monopolise the library system. If this deal goes ahead, they're making a real shot at being 'the' library and the only library."

It is not known whether the Open Content Alliance - whose tagline is Building a digital archive of Global content for Universal access - be renamed in the process. The OCA regroups Internet Archive, European Archives, Oreilly Media, UK's National Archives and a number of other institutions.

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Cnet also points to one of the irony of this heteroclite arrangement of tech giants; Gary Reback, a renowned antitrust lawyer who fought Microsoft when the later tried to crush Netscape a few years ago, will be one of the main figures of the Open Book Alliance.

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