In an open letter to the 8,000 members of the Authors Guild, President Roy Blount Jr. wrote:
The Guild had sued Google in September 2005, after Google struck deals with major university libraries to scan and copy millions of books in their collections. Many of these books were older books in the public domain, but millions of others were still under copyright protection. Nick Taylor, the president of the Guild, saw Google's scanning as "a plain and brazen violation of copyright law." Google countered that digitizing these books represented a "fair use" of the material. Our position was: The hell you say. Of such disagreements, lawsuits are made.
This was the reaction to Google's grandiose scheme to scan all the books it could and make them available on the Internet. Google described the project as a great gift to humanity. One Google employee told the New Yorker's Jeffrey Tobin, "I think of Google Books as our moon shot." Authors and publishers saw it differently.