Sunday, August 23, 2009

Europe Divided on Google Book Deal; New York Times, 8/24/09

Kevin J. O'Brien and Eric Pfanner via New York Times; Europe Divided on Google Book Deal:

"The proposed U.S. legal settlement giving Google the right to sell digital copies of millions of books is dividing publishers and authors in Europe, which has struggled to develop viable alternatives to Google’s ambitious book digitization project.

Some big European publishers, like Oxford University Press, and Bertelsmann and Holtzbrinck, which own Random House and Macmillan respectively, support the agreement, which remains subject to approval by a U.S. judge. They see the pact as greatly expanding the visibility of their archives for online purchase. But opposition to the deal, which would allow U.S. consumers to buy online access to millions of books by European authors whose works were scanned at U.S. libraries, is mounting.

There is widespread opposition among French publishers, and the government of Germany, along with national collection societies in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Spain, plan to argue against it and encourage writers to pull out of the agreement...

Some are also concerned about a lack of European representation on the Book Rights Registry, a panel that is supposed to collect and distribute revenue from Google’s U.S. book sales to authors and publishers."

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