Germans attack Google books

From The Register today:

Google’s ongoing effort to create a vast digital library is set to come under fire at the EU from countries who fear it will violate copyright and stymie competition.

German diplomats plan to raise the issues in Brussels today, EUobserver reports, with support from France, Austria and the Netherlands.

Google controversially began scanning and indexing books in the US in 2004, without copyright approval. In October last year it cut a deal with American authors and publishers to pay them a slice of the profits it makes matching text advertising to book searches. US authors who do not want their work scanned and published online have until September to opt out.

That deal is now the subject of a Department of Justice investigation on antitrust grounds, because it grants Google exclusive rights to republish “orphan” (out of copyright) books online. It will also allow Google to resell rights to other digital libraries.

Both intellectual and market power concerns are now exercising politicans and officials on this side of the Atlantic, who hope their action today will put Google’s book project on the agenda of regulators at the European Commission.

The German government also plans to offer its opinion to a New York court which is set to consider Google’s US books deal. “It is not about participating as a party in the legal dispute but making the court aware of certain legal aspects,” the country’s justice minister said.

An unnamed EU diplomat said Google’s plans “are not entirely in the interests of European authors” and that Google would have to “ask European copyright holders for permission first [before scanning their work]”.

For its part, Google maintains its line on copyright issues that it merely wants to make knowledge more widely available

 Note the absence of any consideration of the interests of anyone but the publishing industry.    Nor does it seem that the ordinary German, or Frenchmen, will be asked whether he wants to be prevented from reading this material.

The unelected eurocrats have the reputation of being corrupt.  Here we see them, apparently in the pocket of big business, to try to ensure that people in the EU have to pay to see what is freely available in the USA.

Truly sickening. 

3 Responses to “Germans attack Google books”


  1. ikokki

    Where do eurocrats have a reputation for being corrupt? If you ask the man on the street they will tell you that eurocrats are clean, catching the corrupt politicians who are pocketing european development aid. In any case according to the article it is diplomats from the member states that have the objections, not the members of the European Commission. If anything the EU is traditionally breaking down barriers to information diffusion, not creating them. Without CORRINE LandCover, would a public domain vector layer of land occupation for all Europe ever become available? Would the French or the Germans ever allow a picture of their country to appear online if it was not to happen for all of Europe?

  2. Roger Pearse

    Do a search in Google for “eu corruption expenses”. The corruption is so bad that the EU’s own accountants have refused to sign off the accounts for years.

  3. ikokki

    Let me see …

    With that kind of search on top you get articles from tabloids like the Sun, not the worlds most reliable newspaper. Still the message is clear, there is corruption or perceived corruption from the expense accounts of the MEPs. See for example the article below

    http://europeanelections2009.france24.com/content/20090527-eu-expenses-UKIP-scandal-MEPs-Farage

    I don’t see how it is different from the current scandal with British MP expenses. If anything that scandal is actually laughed in Greece: Greek MPs have the right hire 2 aides on the Parliament’s account who must be scientists and they can remain on the public payroll even if the original MP is not reelected. ALL 300 have hired family members, usually their sons and daughter. This is considered outrageous but is pretty much expected from our politicians.

    There is most definitely theft in the CAP, but it is not done by the eurocrats in Brussels, it is done by the farmers in their villages like the shepards that have 20 goats and declare them 50. Who is the thief here: The shepard, the national authority which is forwarding the claim without really checking, the eurocrat is Brussels who is fulfiling claims that he has been assured by everyone below him are true or the european (read mostly German) taxpayer who is paying 0,5% of his VAT to the EU?

    After 30 years of EU life my conclusion is that when we talk about EU corruption the corrupted person in not usually some Eurocrat in Brussels who has pocketed euro-money (not that they do not exist) but the local civil servant who has pocketed the EU money instead of forwarding it to those to whom it is intended. And unlike the national authorities where you can pocket national money with virtual impunity since if you pocket national money all you have to do is give some to the local mayor or MP to make the investigation go away, with the EU there is the european controller from brussels who are far harder to corrupt and have repeatedly caught bad offenders. The EUs controllers refuse from time to time to sign the expenses because exactly too many national goverments have pocketed the EU money rather than spend or roads or environmental protection.

    The top of the EU is, we must not forget the Institution that are appointed directly or indirectly by the people: The Europarliament which is elected, the Commission which is appointed by the elected national goverment and the Council of Ministers who are members of each national goverment. Is anyone among them appointed by some herediatary King or Queen or some dictator rather than a goverment elected by the people? Sure, most are not elected directly by the people but how many goverment officials are? Is the head of the Bank of England chosen by the British people? Are the heads of the newly nationalised British banks chosen directly by the people or by the goverment? How many goverment authorities have elected officials rather than people appointed by the goverment?

    Let us not forget that many countries and the majority of the public want to make commisioners elected officials. Who is against? Britain, Denmark and the like who want them to remain unelected because they fear what would happen if they were chosen by the people.



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