Google appeases EU over books deal

Google has agreed to let European publishers get a say in its controversial digital books agreement, as it faces an EU hearing today on the deal.

The European Commission is holding the hearing in Brussels to consider comments on how last year’s $125 million settlement between Google and publishers in the US will affect the EU.

Google was sued in 2005 by authors and publishers in the US who claimed that making their books available online breached copyright, but reached a deal with them in October.

But the Financial Times reports that the company wants to appease European publishers, who complain that they didn’t have enough input into the US settlement.

It says Google has agreed to take two European representatives onto the governing board of the Books Rights Registry that is to administer the deal. The company also says it will consult European publishers before going ahead with the digitisation of some works.

Google is also promising to ensure that English-language editions of books originally published in a European language aren’t wrongly listed as out of print in the US – a concern for publishers fearful that this would deprive them of sales.

 See also
Scifi writers powering weapons against Google
EU to probe Google