Google book-deal well received in Germany

Tue 17 November 2009 16:00, Bas van den Beld

Google book-deal well received in Germany

The Google book deal has been the talk of the town for a couple of months now. Originally Google wanted to scan and index every book on the planet, including books from different European countries, and including the so called 'orphan books'. The new proposed deal by Google last week is now well received in Germany, one of the biggest opposers. The publishers are now looking to cash in with Google.

In the new deal the Google Books project will only hold books coming from the US, UK, Canada and Australia. Books from Germany will be removed. A new US agency, the unclaimed works fiduciary (UWF), will have powers to republish the "orphan works."

Germans have been opposing to the Google Book search deal for months now and have even threatened to take Google to court. They now seem happy with the steps taken by Google.

The German minister of Culture Bernd Neumann was pleased. He believes its a "step in the right direction":

"The changes show that criticism from Europe, especially from France and Germany, was heard in the right places."

He then said Europe needs to look forward and work on their own digitizing projects:

"To make progress with the European Digital Library and national digital libraries, we urgently need a solution to the problem of the so-called orphan works."

German publisher Guenter Berg, chief publishing officer of the Hoffmann und Campe company, meanwhile showed something of the 'real face' of the publishers. He wasn't talking about a European Library but looks at Google and hints that the publishers might be looking for their own deal:

"If this search engine operator had spoken just once to the German publishers before the original Google Books Settlement, we would not have had this shambles of the last few months. Our publishing houses were treated impolitely. A powerful book nation such as Germany should have been invited to become a party to the agreement."

In other words: we want to be part of the deal. The last comment made by Berg might suggest that the publishers are not concerned about rights, but interested in money.


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