They made them available on the internet without the copyright holder's permission. And, frankly, it doesn't require publishing to commit a copyright violation. Simply making a single illegal copy is the copyright violation. Making additional copies and distributing them -- i.e., returning book content to a web browser -- are separate offenses.
Your lies have simply gone too far in this instance. There is absolutely no possibility of credibly denying that Google broke the law by committing thousands of copyright violations. Brazenly attempting to do so shows us your true character and complete lack of honesty or decency.
Your words are harsh, and you are being dishonest. Google's goal was never to publish the whole works unless the works were in the public domain or the Universities in question owned the copyrights to academic works. Google was trying to do two things. First, make the text of the books available to search inquiry. If somebody searched for a particular topic, it would have gave users the option to include books in the result. It was only going to show snippets of works that were covered by copyright. Second, Google was going to try to form partnerships with authors to join up on selling the electronic copies that were protected or tell people where they could find these works.
If you go to Google Books now, it tells users where to find the whole works, including stores other than Google. This can only help the authors, and it certainly benefits users.
Again, Google undeniably copied the works, but a copyright is not an absolute monopoly. A copyright has to be viewed in the context of its original purpose to motivate authors to create works for the public benefit. When a court is deciding whether a copy is fair-use it balances four factors. The four factors judges consider are:
- the purpose and character of the use
- the nature of the copyrighted work
- the amount and substantiality of the portion taken, and
- the effect of the use upon the potential market.
When balancing these four factors a Court would likely find Google's actions were very similar to Sony's. Like Sony, Google is/was copying whole works. However, the purpose and character of the use, the nature of the copyrighted works, and the effect of the use upon a potential market all work in Google's favor.