Friday, August 14, 2009

European publishers challenge Google Settlement
13.08.09 Katie Allen in The Bookseller

Google is facing increasing opposition from European publishers over its Google Settlement deal, which will allow US users to search and preview seven million scanned titles, with an option to buy. Syndicat National de l'Edition, the French publishers' association, said the settlement would be particularly un­favourable to non-US publishers, as all out-of-print titles would be automatically included in Google's digital library unless copyright holders opted out.

According to the Financial Times, a group of Nordic publishing associations also recently claimed the US settlement "renders illusory European rights holders' right to control publishing of their own books", and that its members had not been given a say in the agreement.
Peter Brantley, director of the Internet Archive, which is creating a rival digital book repository, said that if approved, the US settlement would remove rights of foreign authors and publishers enshrined in the Berne convention, a 19th-century international copyright agreement.

Google responded that the settlement "complies with international copyright laws" and that it "is in no case calling into question the copyright of authors and publishers outside of the US". It also said rights holders would have "extensive controls . . . to stop display entirely" if they choose, or to profit from new business models Google hopes to build around digital books.

Financial Times

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