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Google sued over book scanning in France

Three French publishers are suing Google, claiming it is scanning-in of thousands of books to add to its digital library without permission.

Publishers Gallimard, Flammarion and Albin Michel filed suit last week, accusing Google of trademark violations, claiming the Internet outfit has illegally scanned some 9,797 books.

And there may be more. The plaintiffs say more books may have been scanned since the suit was filed and there may be others owned by the publishers' subsidiaries that they want considered, according to

The publishers are seeking some $14 million in damages for "a fixed tariff of 1,000 euros per scanned book to which the publishers own the rights," a legal representative with knowledge of the matter told AFP.

Google claimed it was "surprised" by the suit. "We remain convinced of the legality of Google Books," a spokesperson said in a statement. "We are committed to continue working with publishers to help them develop their digital offering and to make their works accessible to Internet users in France and abroad."

One wonder how that defence would work for file-sharers. "We're just making these music tracks and movies accessible to fellow Internet users, m'lud."

In a December 2009 lawsuit another French publisher, La Martiniere sued Google seeking similar damages in a case upheld by a Paris court. Google has appealed against that judgement.

Us publishers have also rebelled against the outfit that seems to think it can do what it likes wherever it fancies. It did manage to forge a deal with another French publisher Hachette Livre to scan its out-of-print titles.