Google has reached a new, more limited agreement with US publishers over the internet search giant’s project to make millions of digitalised books available online.
The new Google Books settlement, following months of negotiations, restricts the venture to books with copyrights registered in the US, Canada, Britain and Australia.
This means that 95 per cent of books published outside of those English-speaking countries would be excluded from the Google Books settlement.
European publishers and governments had criticised the first settlement for what they saw as its infringement on their copyright laws.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a video podcast last month: “For the German government it’s clear that copyright law must apply online. Therefore we reject Google’s practice of scanning books and placing them online without regard to copyright protection.” Dan Clancy, engineering director for the Google Book Search Project, said the new agreement addressed Europeans` complaints.
However, he also said Google was disappointed that it could not access the maximum number of books from the maximum number of countries.
Google still plans to work with copyright-holders in other countries not included in the new settlement so as to realize its vision of making the world’s combined knowledge accessible to all.
The new settlement is also supposed to make it easier for Google Books rivals Amazon and Microsoft to access the scanned books. A New York judge must still rule on this issue.
So far, Google has scanned about 6 million out of print books, making many of them available online.