Yahoo! Claiming that Google Subpoenas Is Asking For Too Much Information

Posted Dec 1, 2006

On October 7, I wrote a post about how Google Inc. was being sued by The Association of American Publishers and the Authors Guild in regards to the Google Book Search project and how Google was giving Microsoft Corporation and Yahoo! Inc a subpoena to submit documentation in support of Google’s cause. The latest news from InformationWeek reveals that Yahoo! clearly isn’t too happy with the subpoena decision and claims that Google is fishing for something a little bit extra which will provide Google a bit more of a competitive advantage.

“The subpoena is overbroad and is seeking information that we don’t think is relevant to Google,” stated Reggie Davis, an associate general counsel for Yahoo! Inc. “Frankly, we’re concerned that Google may be seeking competitive advantage by seeking the ideas, documents and other things we discussed internally when making a decision on how we were going to approach the issue (library books) online.”

In an e-mail, Google responded “The subpoena and objection process is a common part of ongoing litigation. We will certainly speak with Yahoo about any concerns they may have.” Yahoo! also has objections against the Google Print project such as the fact that Google just provides snippets of text and does not provide the full-text. I suspect that Yahoo! believes more in the model where users can view samples of the text, but can also buy the book if they are interested. “We think you should do it (copy books) with the permission of copyright holders,” Davis continued.

Although it is difficult to predict the outcome of the situation since it seems that there is the matter of intellectual property belonging to Yahoo! at stake, but the law could force Yahoo! to submit documentation through means of a court order.