Google Convicted Again in Europe

French copyright case resolves around Google Books project

By Jackson West
|  Friday, Dec 18, 2009  |  Updated 2:45 PM PDT
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Google Convicted Again in Europe

Stephen Carlile

The French have a special building just for the corpses of their literary heroes, so Google shouldn't be surprised that they are as protective of the actual books they wrote.

Shortly after YouTube was convicted in Italian courts of copyright infringement, another Google project has been found guilty of copyright violations, this time in France.

French courts have ruled that Google is to pay publisher La Martinier €300,000 in damages for scanning rights-restricted volumes for its Google Books project.

The court additionally imposed a €10,000 fine for every day that Google continues to make books from French publishers available online.

The French government, which jealously guards its cultural history and language, already has a book-scanning project in place, but is lagging behind Google with only a tenth of the number of tomes digitized.

But the European Union, along with a French regional government, is also helping to fund a public-private partnership to scan the books collected in Europe's libraries.

And not just because Google is seen in terms of American cultural hegemony, but also because Europeans are worried about a single cooperation controlling the world's accumulated literary history.

Meanwhile, Google isn't the only Valley company dealing with uppity Frenchmen, as a recent strike at a Yahoo research and development lab near Grenoble continues.

Photo by Stephen Carlile.

Jackson West kind of wants to move to France, but not in that douchey Hollywood celebrity way.

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