Google has insisted that its controversial plan to scan in the world's books actually represents the democratisation of print.

Google struck up a deal with US publishing groups to scan millions of books, including many that were no longer in print.

However, the US justice department, rival companies, civil liberty groups and the EC are all raising questions about the deal, suggesting the deal appoints the internet giant librarian for the internet, giving it an 'enduring monopoly'.

Clancy's defence

Google's Dan Clancy, who is heading up the project, insists that these out-of-print books should not be allowed to go unread by future generations.

"We have seen a democratization of access to online information," Clancy the European Commission. "You can discover information which you did not know was there.

"It is important that these (out-of-print) books are not left behind. Google's interest was in helping people to find the books."

The arguments have only just begun on this matter, which is not likely to be settled quickly.