Friday, September 25, 2009

More trouble for the Google Books settlement

French publishers have brought suit in Paris to stop the Google settlement, because the newly-digitized collection certainly contains many French works without their publishers' permission. The rhetoric is a wee bit hyperbolic: the president of the publishers group Syndicat National de l’Edition refers to the settlement as a "cultural rape," from which you would think scanning books is comparable to, oh, Napoleon filling the Louvre with the pillaged treasures of Europe or something. Ridiculous.

I had to search several articles before I could discover that Google is scanning books from a French library, which is the only avenue I can see for thinking French courts would have any jurisdiction at all; my (shallow) understanding of the Berne Convention is that French books in America fall under American law (the main point of the convention is that they do get the protection of the other country's laws and are not fair game for plagiarism and republishing). So I dunno - it might be a stretch to have Paris courts weighing in on the settlement. But in any event, the challenges are mounting and we may be much farther from that wonderful electronic library than we need to be.

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