Sunday, December 20, 2009

Google gets digital foothold in France; Sydney Morning Herald, 12/21/09

Roland Lloyd Parry, Sydney Morning Herald; Google gets digital foothold in France:

"Despite fierce resistance to Google's plans to digitise the world's books, observers say it is well placed to start scanning Europe's cultural treasures -- beginning in France, where the US giant got a digital foothold this week.

The Internet search giant on Monday began peeling open the pages of half a million books from the grand Municipal Library of Lyon and is contracted to scan them within 10 years, the library's director Patrick Bazin told AFP...

Google on Monday began working through 500,000 of the library's works at a location near Lyon -- where the library can easily check on the work -- hand-scanning each page of the delicate volumes individually, Bazin said.

The antique books include a 16th-century edition of predictions by Nostradamus, Isaac Newton's 17th-century scientific treatise "Principia" and a work by the French humourist Rabelais from the same period.

Under the contract, the Lyon library will use the digital images of its books for its own purposes but notably cedes to Google the right to exploit them commercially for 25 years. Google in return scans the books for free.

The US company has been less welcome elsewhere in France, where digitisation has become bound up with the sensitive issue of protecting French cultural and intellectual property."

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