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June 12, 2012
Google Comes To Agreement in France on e-Books - Kindles and iPads Need Not Apply
Google’s life in the book scanning saga became a little easier lately with a settlement announced between it and publishers and authors in France. The agreement settles a suit where Google was found to infringe copyright in French publications by French courts. The deal allows Google to continue scanning cooperatively with authors and publishers who will have the ability to decide which books will appear in Google’s index, and which books Google may sell through its online bookstore. Out of print books are included in the agreement. Each group will share in the profits.
Google will financially support a literacy program in French schools. I’d count that as a plus for Google as it gets its name prominently in front of school children. Another plus for Google is that it will apparently be the exclusive source for these books, leaving the Apple store and Amazon on the outside. The European Union may want to take a look at that provision of the agreement. The EU is informally investigating Google on a variety of competition issues relating to search and has “asked” Google to address these before formal charges are put in place.
I can understand if Google doesn’t want its competitors to make money from the scanning work it is performing. I wonder if the agreement allows Apple and Amazon to reach separate agreements to scan out of print works for sale. Traditionally, Apple and Amazon sell content but do not create it. Google is really making lemonade out of lemons with this move. [MG]