September 8, 2009

Europeans slam Google’s digital library

European publishers voiced objections in Brussels to a deal that would give Google rights to millions of out-of-print books scanned for digital distribution.

Authors, publishers and other copyrights holders objected at a European Commission meeting to the plan proposed in a U.S. court, despite Google agreeing to restrict its own practices, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Google said it would not sell books online without permission from the European copyright holder if that book was out of print in the United States, but still commercially available in Europe.

We listen carefully to all concerns of stakeholders around the globe, Google said in a statement.

But Europeans still felt the deal gave Google monopolistic power over digital publications.The company has scanned millions of books for digital distribution, including 2-4 million European books, the EUobserver reported.

There are widespread concerns that the settlement leads to monopolization in digital access, said attorney David Wood, the Initiative for a Competitive Online Marketplace.

The deal allows Google to become the world's de facto bookseller, said Fran Dubruille of the European Booksellers' Federation.

Google's engineering director Dan Clancy said, Google's interest was in helping people to find the books.

It is important that these books are not left behind, he said.