Google Found Guilty of Violating Copyright in France

by Rachel Baker on December 18, 2009

According to Reuters, a Paris court found Google guilty of violating copyright by digitizing books and putting extracts online.

This decision came following a legal challenge by major French publishers. The legal challenge argued that publishers and authors were losing out in the latest stage of the digital revolution.

Google has been ordered to pay $431,700 U.S. dollars (300,000 euros) which is less than the 15 million euro saught by the plaintiffs.  Google must also stop reproducing any copyrighted material by French publishers it has not contracted with.  Google will be appealing the decision, though the ruling will be enforced immediately.

Here’s the full story from Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSLDE5BH1AI20091218

Additionally, Google reached a settlement in the United States, which includes measures to track down and compensate authors, and only covers books published in the U.S., Britain and Australia, and any books registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. However, the settlement still has to be approved by the U.S. court.

There is so much discussion right now going regarding digitizing books – how to make it happen on a large scale without copyright infringement? and how do you protect the author and the publisher yet still make the books accessible without piracy issues coming into play?  I think it will be interesting how this and other issues I suspect will arise plays out in the years to come, not just in with U.S. authors and publishers, but throughout the world.

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