Tuesday 22 December 2009

French court rules against Google in copyright case

Catherine Blache (Senior Counsellor, International Policy at Syndicat National de l'Edition (the French Publishers' Association)) has sent the following English summary of the recent French court decision against Google:

"On December 18, 2009, the Paris Court of First Instance condemned Google for violating copyright of books published by the French publishing group La Martiniere, by forbidding the search engine to continue digitizing books without publishers' authorization. This decision is based on French law, whose application Google had attempted to question, and the acknowlegement by the French court of its competence to deal with such a case.

"The court also acknowledged that the French Publishers Association (SNE) and the Authors Publishers Association (SGDL) were entitled to join the suit. It stated that 'by fully reproducing and making available extracts of books' without the authorization of rights-holders, Google had committed acts of copyright violation to the detriment of Le Seuil and its two subsidiaries, as well as to the SNE and SGDL.

"The court gave Google one month to apply the ruling and halt such acts or face a 10,000 euros per day fine.

"Google will also have to pay EUR 300,000 in damages to the three publishers owned by La Martiniere group and a symbolic sum of one euro to the SNE Publishers' Association and the SGDL Society of Authors , thus recognizing damages caused to the whole publishers and authors community.

"This case law can from now on be referred to by other publishers who may want to sue Google for the scanning and making available of their books."

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