Google is still facing many lawsuits related to its goal of digitalizing every book worldwide before 2020; however, on Monday June 11 they resolved pending cases in France.
Six years ago, the French Publishers Association and the authors’ association Société des Gens Lettres filed court cases against Google’s books project, claiming that the company was violating copyrights on out-of-print books. On Monday the groups dropped the claims against Google, as an agreement was made.
With the new terms, publishers get to decide which books can be digitalized. “The authors will be able to say yes or no to the indexing of their works,” said Antoine Gallimard, the president of publishers group SNE.
Google says that the chosen books will be sold in Google Play, which isn’t currently available in France.
Other details have not yet been released, but it has been said that part of the deal is that Google will donate money to a program that supports young children learning to read.
Google hopes this agreement will help advance their project in France and around the world. France is now the only country that has a book scanning accord that includes most books worldwide.
“Our hope is that these pathbreaking partnerships will help jump-start the emerging French electronic book market,” said Philippe Colombet, the CEO of Google Books France.
The New York Times reports that this isn’t the only digitalizing book proposal that France has going on. Parliament has given permission to the French National Library to digitalize “orphan works”. Orphan works are books that are out-of-print with an unknown copyright holder. Under this new law copyright holders are given six months to come forward and protest the digitalization of the book.
As progress is being made in France, US authors are still fighting Google on this subject. In Google’s opinion the authors should need to file individual law suits. However, last month the suit was given class-action status by Judge Denny Chin. The Author’s Guild is happy with this verdict.
“It is, without question, more efficient and effective than requiring thousands of authors to sue individually. Requiring this case to be litigated on an individual basis would risk disparate results in nearly identical suits and exponentially increase the cost of litigation,” Judge Chin said.
Google hopes that an agreement similar to the one made in France can be made in the US and other countries. As of now, the company has scanned and digitalized 20 million books, and would like to continue on its ambitious goal to have all books online by the end of the decade. But for now the search engine is happy with the results they had in France.
“All conditions are now in place for Google to participate in developing digital books in France and contribute to spreading French culture,” said Colombet.
Originally published on Toonari Post, June 18 2012