Google Could Violate Copyright Laws

Google’s foray into the digital book market looks like it might be fraught with minefields

Over the past year Google has been trying to come to some sort of agreement with authors and publishers over its attempt to digitise millions of books. With the likes of the Amazon Kindle proving to be very popular, it is of no surprise that one of the bigger players in Cyberspace is trying to cash-in on internet publishing.

However, Germany has stepped in to muddy the waters by filing a suit in a US court to stop an agreement reached by the Authors Guild and Association of American Publishers, because the Germans believe that Google now has the right to digitise that country’s authors without their consent.

The titles covered in the agreement only relate to what are called ‘orphan works’, which are titles that do have a copyright attached, but nobody knows who owns it.

German authors who do not have their works published in the US, are not covered in the deal. Yahoo and Microsoft are far from happy with the deal, as are American libraries who are worried that Google might have a monopoly on the digitisation of books.

Google is paying US$125 million to create a Book Rights Registry, where both authors and publishers can register works and receive payments.