French court rules Google Books project violated copyright laws

December 18, 2009

(ChattahBox) – In a ruling that marks perhaps the first time Google Books has lost a major court battle, a French court has convicted the search engine of copyright infringement after it published thousands of French books on the internet, as part of its digitization project.  According to the Syndicat National de l’Edition, which joined the lawsuit, Google has scanned more than 100,000 French works of which 80 per cent were protected under Frances strict copyright laws.  A judge ordered the US search giant to pay $429,000 in damages and $14,500 per day interest to publishing company La Martiniere, which brought the case on behalf of the industry.
The plans to scan millions of books to make them available online has drawn the ire of publishers and libraries in both the United States and Europe. Google has so far scanned 10 million books, more than half of them in languages other than English.

The head of the French publisher’s union said he was “completely satisfied” with the verdict.

“It shows Google that they are not the kings of the world and they can’t do whatever they want,” said Serge Eyrolles, president of Syndicat National de l’Edition.

Mr Eyrolles said French publishers would still like to work with Google to digitize their books, “but only if they stop playing around with us and start respecting intellectual property rights”.

Google defended its publication of excerpts of copyright-protected material and plans to appeal, but has not stated whether it intends to pay the daily fine rather than remove La Martinière’s books from its database.


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