Google turning back a book page

Tue 8 September 2009 09:01, Bas van den Beld

Google turning back a book page

Google has been under siege in Europe over the last weeks with several institutions opposing to different Google services. It looks like Google thinks the best way to get out of the siege is to give in.

After Google announced it would be blurring images in Switzerland and with that taking a step towards the Swiss authorities it now announces it will take a step back in the book case. It made a couple of concessions towards the opposing Europeans.

Bloomberg reports Google is taking in two representatives from outside the U.S. join a board administering its digital books settlement.

The biggest step towards the opposers is however the fact that they have said they will consider books that are "commercially available and under copyright in Europe" out of print and under a proposed settlement with US publishers.

The last part is the most important one. In general it means that Google won't be digitizing books which are still being sold in Europe. That means that both Amazon and some French and German publishers are getting what they want.

Google announced the concessions in a EU-hearing yesterday in Brussels. On their blog they responded with a little bit more 'power'. There they said they were getting enough support from around Europe to believe digitizing the books would be a good thing. They also believe that European authors and publishers should look at the deal with a different angle:

"European authors and publishers whose books have been scanned from an American library may benefit from the new revenue that will come as American readers discover and purchase their books. They can register with the new registry to control and profit from online access to their books, or, just like American authors, they can choose to opt out."

And with that paragraph they say something which many others think: why see the digitizing of books as a thread? Use the opportunity. Does this sound familiar? Well yes, the music industry went to the same kind of struggle...


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  • Oh, ebooks definately have future. It all depends on how the industrie deals with it, like you said Bas. The Music industrie and newspapers already faced (are still facing) this issue.

    This trend was visible ages ago, and the industrie should already have had plans to deal with this issue properly. That way, we can avoid situations where artists want to receive their share of every sold harddisk, recorders, usb-sticks, etc. just because 'music' or 'movies' can be 'stored' on them. Its crazy.

    Di 8 sep 2009, 10:24

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