French court fines Google for scanning books | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 19.12.2009
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French court fines Google for scanning books

A Paris court has fined Google 300,000 euros for digitizing thousands of French books and infringement of copyright. The US Internet giant has also been barred from digitizating further French works without approval.

A pair of hands holding the sides of a book that is being scanned

Google wants to create digital versions of all the world's estimated 50 million to 100 million books

Google's drive to digitize all the world's books came to a skidding halt on Friday after a Paris court ruled that "Google had committed acts of copyright violations" by digitizing 4,000 of works from one of France's biggest publishing houses, La Martiniere.

The court ordered Google to pay 300,000 euros in damages to the three publishers owned by the La Martiniere group and a symbolic sum of one euro to the SNE Publishers' Association and the SGDL Society of Authors. Google must also pay an additional 10,000 euro per day for each day the books, or parts that have been digitized, remained in its data-base.

The court ruled that scanning the books and then making this available on the Internet online amounted to copyright violations too. Google may now no longer scan any book without the consent of the publisher.

Le Seuil brought the case three years ago, and demanded compensation of 15 million euros plus 100,000 for every day the court order is not carried out.

Google's decision to digitize the books was "illegal, dangerous and caused prejudice to the publishers," said Yann Colin, the plaintiff's lawyer told the court.

Google has said it will immediately appeal the decision. The online giant has been wanting to create a huge virtual library of all of the world's books.


Editor: Nigel Tandy

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