French Publishers Sue Google for Illegal Book Scanning

By Beecher Tuttle May 11, 2011

Three major French publishers are suing Google for scanning thousands of books to its digital library without proper permission.

Publishers Gallimard, Flammarion and Albin Michel filed suit against the Web giant on May 6 for trademark violations stemming from the unauthorized scanning of 9,797 books. That number does not include titles that were scanned since the lawsuit was filed nor those owned by the publishers' subsidiaries, according to TheBookSeller.com.

The three publishing houses are seeking approximately $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 close to the matter told the AFP.

Google has denied any wrongdoing, noting that its Google Books initiative is in compliance with all domestic and international copyright regulations.

"We were surprised to receive this new claim... We remain convinced of the legality of Google Books," a company representative 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."

The lawsuit comes only six months after France's largest publisher, Hachette Livre, came to an accord with Google to allow the Internet firm to scan its out-of-print French books.

The 1,000 euros per title is in line with a similar Dec. 2009 lawsuit filed by another French publisher, La Martiniere. A Paris court found that Google violated the nation's copyright laws with its digital library project and awarded damages. The case is currently in appeal.

Google is no stranger to the court room, having been taken there several times just this year. The search engine giant is currently embroiled in a number of legal battles, including a recent suit in California that accuses Google and several other major tech firms of violating antitrust laws by conspiring to fix employee pay, as well as plotting to create “no solicitation” agreements with one another to prevent employee poaching.

The California tech company was also on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to answer questions about privacy issues related to smartphone use.


Beecher Tuttle is a TechZone360 contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.



Edited by Rich Steeves

TechZone360 Contributor

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