France court rules Google book search violates copyright laws

[JURIST] A French court ruled Friday that Google [corporate website] violated French copyright law through its book-scanning initiative [Google Books website]. The Parisian court fined Google €300,000 euros (USD $430,000) for digitizing books and making excerpts available on the web. The challenge was brought in 2006 by French publishing group La Martiniere, along with the French publisher's union Syndicat National de l'Edition (SNE) and the writers' society Societe des Gens de Lettres (SDGL) [websites, in French]. The head of the SNE expressed satisfaction [BBC report] with the verdict. Also this week, a Chinese court agreed to hear [FT report] a challenge to Google's digital books project.

While Friday's ruling is the first time a court has condemned Google's book scanning initiative, the company has also faced legal challenges in the US. Last year, Google agreed to settle [JURIST report] two copyright infringement lawsuits. Under the terms of the initial agreement, Google would pay $125 million to authors and publishers of copyrighted works. In return, Google would be allowed to display online up to 20 percent of the total pages of a copyrighted book, and would offer users an opportunity to purchase the remainder of any viewed book. Last month, a US judge granted an extension to file an amended settlement agreement after the Department of Justice urged the court to reject the settlement [JURIST reports] over class action, copyright, and antitrust law concerns.



 

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