Google Books moves to reassure EU

Search giant seeks to ease European worries over plan to digitise millions of books.

    Google aims to make millions of books available
    on the internet [GALLO/GETTY]

    Controversial deal

    Under the settlement, Google agreed to pay $125m to resolve outstanding claims and establish a "Book Rights Registry," which will provide revenue from sales and advertising to authors and publishers who agree to digitise their books.

    In video

    Google modifies Europe digital library project plans

    But the deal has been controversial, with Germany complaining that the settlement violates international treaties on authors' rights.

    In a bid to soothe the concerns of European publishers and authors, Google has agreed to have two non-US representatives on the board of a body that will administer the US legal settlement, the UK's Financial Times newspaper reported.

    The newspaper cited a letter sent to 16 EU publishers' representatives at the weekend.

    According to the letter, Google also promised to consult European publishers before cataloguing some European books in its digital library.

    But many still have reservations about the scheme.

    Connecting readers

    "I do believe that the authors' rights may be disregarded for the sake of profit"

    Robert Pullan, chairman of the Australian Society of Authors

    "Google does have the right to earn profit from this plan, considering the amount of money it settled with under the deal," Robert Pullan, chairman of the Australian Society of Authors, told Al Jazeera.

    "But I do believe that the authors' rights may be disregarded for the sake of profit."

    But Google argues that digitising the world's out of print books and in copyright books in full, it will connect readers with books everywhere on the planet.

    "If you think that of all the books that have been published since the beginning of time, a very small percentage of books still remain in print," Santiago de la Mora, Google's Book Partnerships Director, said.

    "This does not mean however that the books that are out of print don't have an audience and I think that conceptually every book has a reader .... with the internet, these books are coming back to life."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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