EC hearing on Google book deal

By EDRi · July 29, 2009

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Deutsch: [EC-Anhörung zu Googles Buch-Deal |]

The European Commission (EC) will hold a hearing on 7 September 2009 to
evaluate Google’s proposed deal with U.S. publishers and authors granting
Google the right to digitize and publish out of print copyrighted books and
its possible impact upon copyright issues.

Spokesman Oliver Drewes said EU officials wanted to get the opinion of
European publishers, authors and consumers in order to be able to “draw
provisional conclusions on the Google Inc.’s book-scanning settlement.” The
EU launched a formal inquiry in the matter after the German delegation,
supported by UK and France, submitted an information note in May 2009,
asking for action against Google’s online library project.

In the US, Google reached an agreement in October 2008 with the Authors
Guild and the Association of American publishers in which Google accepted to
pay about 88 million euro to create a Book Rights Registry, where authors
and publishers can register works. Google would get rights in return for a
share of any revenues collected by selling access to online books.

The agreement is criticized for giving Google preferential rights especially
in case of the “orphan works” (books for which the copyright owners cannot
be identified). The regulators might also tackle the issue of the
“most-favoured nation” clause guaranteeing Google terms that are at least as
good as those offered to other Internet companies in future.

Google executives argue that the company will have no unfair advantages
while providing increased access to books. In support of their cause, the
company will probably bring as argument Viviane Reding’s position who,
earlier this month, stated that EU needed to urgently standardize its
copyright laws to encourage book digitization.

Another argument that might be in Google’s favour is that this is the only
initiative to scan millions of books and make them available on the
Internet. Also, Google’s leading lawyer David Drummond said that Google
would be open to changing the terms of the deal if it received a “compelling
argument” from regulators.

The U.S. Justice Department is also looking now into this settlement.

EU sets hearing over Google books deal (20.07.2009)

Google book deal faces growing scrutiny (11.07.2009)

EU seeks opinions on Google Books (20.07.2009)

EU asks publishers for feedback on Google Books (20.07.2009);_ylt=A0S00tDFmWRKF38AIBbeba9_?x=0

EDRi-gram: EU will examine Google Books project (3.06.2009)