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Google scanning plans on European publishers' radar

13th August 2009

Google's plans to scan millions of books and make large sections of them available online is coming under fresh scrutiny, as some European publishers and authors express concerns over control of their intellectual property.

The search engine firm reached a settlement in the US last year, which would see books at American public libraries and universities made available online.

After reaching an agreement with the Association of American Publishers and the Authors Guild in October, Google paid out USD125 million, while also agreeing to compensate authors for use of their works.

The move was seen as a key step in advancing the digital industry, potentially bringing to light works which had long remained dormant on bookshelves across the country.

However, European publishers have signalled some concerns, with worries that European works held on the other side of the Atlantic may be drawn in without adequate compensation or notification.

Organisations including the French publishers association Syndicat National de l'Edition are worried that the automatic opt-in for all out-of-print titles may deprive copyright holders of their works, while its German counterparts have told the Financial Times they have similar concerns.

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