German publishers criticize new Google Books deal
Nov 15, 2009, 11:54 GMT
Frankfurt - German book publishers - angered at being included in the Google Books Settlement without being consulted - voiced concern Sunday that they had now been excluded.
The US search giant and US publishers announced Friday that the revolutionary plan to put every out-of-print book in the world on the internet was now being limited to books from only four nations: the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia.
Gottfried Honnefelder, chairman of the Boersenverein, the German booksellers' and publishers association, predicted this would reinforce the global dominance of the English language.
Speaking to German radio channel Deutschlandradio Kultur, he said, 'Progress is now passing us by.'
He said he was glad Google had changed the terms of its settlement after complaints to a New York court by the German government that the deal with US publishers and authors rode roughshod over German copyright law.
But the outcome meant that the rest of the world was now out of play while a major transformation in the market happened.
'The market that Google is supplying will still exist. We'll be outside it and will not listed,' he said. That meant the supremacy of English in book publishing would become even more established.
Honnefelder called for Europeans to come up with enough money and ideas to rapidly create a computer system of their own, comparable to Google's planned digital public library for the world.
German and French publishers mounted a campaign against Google, charging it had no right to digitally scan library books in bulk and pay the copyright owners afterwards.
Dan Clancy, engineering director for the Google Book Search Project, said the new agreement addressed Europeans' complaints.
Google chief Sergey Brin says the company has so far scanned about 10 million out-of-print books, putting many of them online free.
Supporters, especially libraries, say Google is bringing back a century of lost books, most of which are uneconomic to reprint and many of which are so-called 'orphan works,' whose copyright owners cannot be traced.