Europeans opposing to book settlement deal

Tue 25 August 2009 11:00, Editors

Europeans opposing to book settlement deal

Last week Google surprisingly struck a deal with the French Library Association allowing them to digitize 13 million books in the Paris Library. Not all French were amused by this deal and now it seems Google is facing more European opposition on a deal they made in the US.

Last year Google made a settlement in the US which would allow them to digitize American libraries. These books would be made available online for Americans. That would however also mean that a lot of European books which are located in the American libraries would be scanned and indexed.

The agreement was supported by some big publishers in Germany and the UK but not everybody seems to have accepted the deal. Several European countries like Spain, Germany, Austria and Switzerland are encouraging their writers to back out of the deal.

The national societes are doing this now because a United States District Court has set a deadline for September 4th on which date submissions on the settlement have to be handed in to be part of a hearing at October 7th.

The concernes are about which books will be available online. UK publishers for example are afraid that books which are still sold a lot will be digitized. This will off course mean a reduction of sales. Copyright agencies in outher countries believe Google’s online sales platform is a direct threat.

The Germans seem most active in trying to stop Google. The German government has apparently already hired an American law firm and already 2.700 people have signed a petition asking the government to interfere.

The European Commission is not involved in the case but will look at it on September 7th. Chances are they won't be backing up the national societes because the EC is supporting the digitizing of cultural projects.

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