Google slapped Yahoo! with a subpoena on November 20 inquiring about their activity in the library lawsuit. In response, Yahoo!’s lawyers released a legal brief claiming that the company has no intention of competing on the library front and has simply been financially backing the parties involved in the case against Google.
“Yahoo has not launched an independent book scanning project or a ‘Yahoo Book Project’ as defined by Google in the Subpoena,” reads the brief. “Instead, along with over 40 other entities, including public libraries, major colleges and universities and leading Fortune 500 companies, Yahoo has backed a non-profit alliance run by the Open Content Alliance (OCA) and Internet Archive to digitize books and make them searchable through any web search engine. Yahoo supports the approach adopted by the OCA which digitizes only text in the public domain or where copyright holders have expressly given permission for such works to be included, and Yahoo exercises no direction and control over the OCA’s operation of its project.”
In early October, it appeared that Yahoo! would spearhead the OCA operation, which is contesting Google’s rights to digitize books. Now Yahoo! seems to be backtracking, claiming they only have given financial support to the project but have no authority on the matter. This is very passive-aggressive on behalf of Yahoo! in the never-ending Yahoo!/Google saga.