Yahoo has announced its own online library initiative—one the company hopes will avoid the pitfalls and controversy Google's digital library plans have created. Yahoo's Open Content Alliance will produce digital versions of books, audio, and academic papers, with all copyrighted material to be provided voluntarily by the various authors and publishers. The main search engine will be located at www.opencontentalliance.org, but Yahoo plans to make its contents available to other search engines, including Google.
Google's own initiative began roughly a year ago, but the company's plan to include copyrighted material save where authors and publishers "opt out" has created a tremendous amount of controversy and sparked at least one lawsuit. Yahoo's explicit reliance on permission will undoubtedly restrict what works can be included, but should allow Yahoo to launch its service more quickly, and with fewer legal headaches. Google, for its part, welcomed the news of Yahoo's initiative, stating: "We welcome efforts to make information accessible to the world."
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