An association of US book publishers said it was suing Google, claiming that the Internet giant's plan to make digital copies of millions of books without permission violates copyright laws.
The Association of American Publishers (AAP) said in a statement its lawsuit was filed "only after lengthy discussions broke down between AAP and Google's top management regarding the copyright infringement implications of the Google Print Library Project."
AAP said it filed the action on behalf of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Pearson Education, Penguin Group USA, Simon and Schuster and John Wiley and Sons.
But it also said the action "has the strong backing of the publishing industry" and came following an "overwhelming vote of support" by the board representing more than 300 member publishing houses.
"The publishing industry is united behind this lawsuit against Google and united in the fight to defend their rights," said AAP president and former US representative Patricia Schroeder.
"While authors and publishers know how useful Google's search engine can be and think the Print Library could be an excellent resource, the bottom line is that under its current plan Google is seeking to make millions of dollars by freeloading on the talent and property of authors and publishers."
The suit is the latest in a series of legal actions claiming Google is violating copyrights by making content available online without permission of those with rights to the material.
In its library project, Google has agreements with libraries at the universities of Stanford, Harvard, Oxford and the University of Michigan and with the New York Public Library to create digital copies from those collections. According to lawsuits, Google has not sought the approval of the authors or publishers of these works.
The Authors Guild filed a similar action last month.
Additionally, the publisher of a US men's magazine, Perfect 10, alleged that the Internet search giant is infringing on copyright by displaying thousands of pictures of nude women to which it holds rights.
The Agence France-Presse news agency has also sued Google for copyright infringement, claiming the search engine was displaying its news and photos without permission.