Google to Remove UK Titles From Digital Program

September 10, 2009
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September 10 – September 17, 2009 Edition

Google to Remove UK Titles From Digital Program

Authorlink News/09/10/09–According to several news sources, including The Telegraph <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/6151136/Google-Books-project-to-remove-European-titles.html> in the UK, Google has decided to remove books owned by European authors and publishers from its Book Search project. The search giant is embroiled in a controversial legal settlement in the

U.S.

Books still on sale in Europe will no longer be available in the US and will be deleted from the database, according to the blog MixMySalad. <http://mixmysalad.blogspot.com/2009/09/google-books-project-to-remove-european.html> The search giant would not say how many titles were affected by the move. The company now will have to negotiate agreements with European publishers and authors if it wants to include those titles in its book scanning project, which will make millions of books fully searchable online.

"The parties to the settlement agreement have sent a letter to several national publisher associations in Europe to clarify that books that are commercially available in Europe will be treated as commercially available under the settlement," said a Google spokesman in a statement. "Such books can only be displayed to US users if expressly authorized by rights holders."

Google has digitized around seven million books so far as part of the project. About 70 per cent of published works are believed to be out-of-print while still under copyright.

Jessica Sanger, a spokesman for the German Publishers and Booksellers Association, welcomed the move. "It’s a step in the right direction," she said. "But it’s not enough for our members to sleep peacefully."

The blog reported that Google has already agreed to bring two European representatives on to its Books Rights Registry, a group set up in the wake of a class-action lawsuit to help oversee the digitization project. The Registry will provide revenue from sales and online advertising to those authors and rights holders who agree to make their books available for scanning.

The Authors Guild in the US and the Association of American Publishers filed a copyright infringement suit against Google last year and Google agreed to pay $125 million and set up a Book Rights Registry to settle the case. A final Court fairness hearing is scheduled October 7.

The European Union has its own publicly-funded book digitization project, known as Europeana, and agrees in broad terms with the principle of making out-of-print and "orphaned" books – those works still under copyright but with no traceable rights holder – more easily available.

A number of technology companies, including Microsoft, Yahoo! and Amazon, library organizations and other groups have filed briefs seeking changes in the settlement

A Fairness Hearing to decide whether to grant final approval of the settlement is scheduled October 7, 2009 at 10 a.m. in Courtroom 11A of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, United States Courthouse, located at 500 Pearl Street, New York, New York 10007. Meanwhile, the Justice Department continues its investigation of the settlement, and has been given a deadline of September 18 to present any concerns to the Court.

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