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November 26, 2005

Google thwarted by limited fair-use rights in Europe

VNU Staff, Google digitisation faces Euro legal challenge, Information World Review, November 24, 2005. Excerpt:

"Google has acknowledged that it cannot digitise copyright material from European libraries, according to the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP). ALPSP chief executive Sally Morris said that at a meeting with Google last month --also attended by the Publishers Association (PA), the International Publishers Association and the Association of American University Presses-- the search giant agreed it was "absolutely the case that it is not allowed to [digitise in-copyright material from libraries] in Europe". The American "fair use" law, which Google has used as a justification for its scanning of in-copyright material from libraries in America, is, Morris said, broader than its European equivalent, "fair dealing". Google is currently embroiled in lawsuits in the US with both the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers over its actions. Morris said Google's acknowledgement meant that if it wanted to digitise copyright books from European libraries, it would need to find a solution - even if it successfully defends the US lawsuits. She now plans to devise a system that will make it easy for Google - or any other organisation digitising books, such as the Open Content Alliance and Microsoft - to get the permissions they need. She told the Bookseller : "The fact Google recognise they can't do this without permission in Europe gives us a threshold to work out a way for them to get permission. In America, they have the law on their side. Here, they accept they don't." Her suggestions, put to Google at the meeting, include a Canadian model whereby, if it proves impossible to locate a copyright owner, a licence is granted so the material can be used legally. "We are waiting for them to come back to us on these issues," added Morris, "but they said they were interested.""

Source: Peter Suber. Google thwarted by limited fair-use rights in Europe. Open Access News Blog (25 November 2005) [FullText]

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