Published on septiembre 8th, 2009 | by admin0
Google Tackles Fears on Rights in Book Deal.
BRUSSELS — Google said it would limit the out-of-print books it plans to make available online in order to appease European publishers, authors and other copyright holders objecting to a proposed American court settlement allowing Google to sell digital books on the Internet.
Representatives of those groups spoke out sharply Monday at a heEuropean Commission against the proposed settlement covering millions of books that the company has scanned in libraries around the world.aring sponsored by the
European opponents said the deal would give Google too much power, including exclusive rights to sell out-of-print works that remain under copyright, a category that includes millions of books.
A settlement proposal before a United States District Court judge would govern all books covered by copyright in the United States. European publishers are concerned that Google would gain rights to profit from their books in the American market.
The proposal has also been criticized by a number of American publishers, authors and copyright holders. The Justice Department is also examining the proposed settlement. Google tried to mollify European opponents by clarifying that a digitized version of a book considered out of print in the United States, but still commercially available in Europe, would not be sold online without explicit consent from the European copyright holder.
Google also said in a letter to publishers that it had offered European publishers representation on a board to oversee a “book rights registry,” which will distribute royalties from digital book sales under the plan proposed by the settlement.
“As we said, we listen carefully to all concerns of stakeholders around the globe and work hard to achieve the common goal of bringing back to life millions of lost books in a way that serves the interest of all,” Google said in a statement.
The American court has set Tuesday as the deadline for submissions on the settlement and will hold a hearing on the matter on Oct. 7.
David Wood, a lawyer representing Icomp, the Initiative for a Competitive Online Marketplace, a mostly Europe-based industry group backed by Microsoft that is opposed to the proposed settlement, said the concessions showed that European interests could be accommodated, but far more needed to be done to ease ongoing concerns.
Governance of the registry was a “relatively minor” issue, Mr. Wood said. Of greater importance, he said, were worries that the settlement, as drafted, would reinforce Google’s online dominance.
“There are widespread concerns that the settlement leads to monopolization in digital access to online access and sales of books in Europe and in other parts of the world as well as effects on other markets, such as search and search advertising,” he said.
Sylvie Foder of Cepic, the Coordination of European Picture Agencies Stock Heritage, said at a news conference that she was particularly concerned about what could happen to the rights to photographs inside printed books once they are digitized. “Google can pretty much do what it wants,” she said.
Jessica Sänger, the legal counsel at the German Publishers and Booksellers Association, said the settlement would heavily discriminate against European publishers that were not involved in its drafting.
She said she was not opposed to digitization but that more time was needed to propose a solution that would be appropriate for Europe, which has its own digitization projects under way. The European Commission has supported homegrown digitization projects, including the Europeana online book and cultural database.
“We’re not quite as slow and old-fashioned as we’re made out to be some of the time,” she said.