Google Makes Compromises In European Book Plans

In an attempt to tone down European publishers’ fears over its plans of books' digitisation, Google confirmed that commercially available European books won’t be placed in its online catalogue of out-of-print works, unless publishers allow it.

The search engine bellwether also said it will be appointing two European representatives to its Books Rights Registry, which was established to watch over the planned books settlement arranged with the US publishers and authors who sued Google back in 2005.

Petitioners complained that the company’s book digitisation move would led to “massive” copyright infringement and could therefore threaten their own survival.

Under the settlement, Google paid $125 million to publishers and authors for creating the registry, which would allow authors and publishers to submit their works and get a portion of ad revenues thereof.

The company is also planning to sell copyrighted material on what increasing looks like an e-book repository and a major portion of the revenues earned from such access would go to the right-holders.

Google said it will be introducing stringent checks to make sure that books initially published in European languages shouldn’t be listed as out-of-print in the US; a condition which would give Google the liberty to digitise them.

The move from Google comes as its response to the European Commission’s investigation to find out how the proposed deal could impact European authors.

Our Comments

Google's move is smart; it will use free books to lure consumers into coming to its Google books section. From there, Google can then redirect or encourage them to buy books and therefore generate some significant revenues. Google has Amazon in its sight and also knows that its hardware partners could possibly come up with tablet devices soon.

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