Google, French authors announce digital library plans, settle suits

Google has settled its dispute with two associations representing French authors and will move ahead to digitize out-of-print books for use on the Web.

The firm had been in litigation with the groups since 2006, over claims that Google Books violated the authors’ copyrights. Now, the Web giant will post the books online while French authors retain the control over the commercial use of their books, the company said in a blog post.

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“Our hope is that these partnerships will boost the emerging French electronic book market. They make France a pioneer in spreading knowledge in the digital world,” Philippe Colombet, manager of Google Books in France, said in the post.

Both the French Publishers Association and the French Author’s Association have withdrawn their suits against the technology giant.

“The agreement was reached to promote initiatives in favor of digital books' development and create diversity, in compliance with copyrights,” they said, according to a statement translated by Reuters.

Google also is fighting with authors in the United States over copyright issues. Denny Chin, a federal judge in New York, had previously rejected a March settlement saying the proposal “simply goes too far” in giving Google an advantage over competitors and copyright holders. On May 31, Chin said that authors challenging Google could have class certification to challenge the Web firm, the Associated Press reported.

Google said that it is “confident that Google Books is fully compliant with copyright law,” the report said.

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