French publishers challenge Google in a Paris court


French publishers challenge Google in a Paris court

Warwick Ashford

The legality of Google's controversial project to scan millions of library books is to be tested today for the first time in a court outside the US.

French publishers will try to persuade a Paris court that Google's book scanning project breaches France's copyright laws, according to the Financial Times.

Google reached a $125m settlement with US authors and publishers and agreed to share profits to clear the way for the book scanning project, but the agreement is yet to be reviewed by a US court.

The New York judge due to rule next month on the agreement has received submissions from stakeholders on both sides of the argument, including opponents from Germany and France.

The French submission said the US agreement will undermine French authors' rights and the German submission said it would "irrevocably alter international copyright law".

Today's hearing in Paris comes two weeks after the European Commission held hearings on the Google book project in Brussels.

The French publishers are unhappy they were not consulted by Google even though the millions of books already scanned in US libraries include thousands of French titles.

The French publishers say the Pairs court case could be an important legal victory, because it will be the first real test of whether Google's book project breaches copyright law.

The EC is yet to report its findings to the European Parliament which seeks to formulate a policy that will take Europe into the digital library age without giving up control to US-based firms like Google.

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