Legal Issues for Google Library Project in Europe

The Information World Review (IWR is a VNU publication) article: Google digitisation faces Euro legal challenge, reports on Google’s book digitisation project (the Google Library Project to be precise) facing some legal obstacles in Europe.

Here it is in a nutshell, direct from the article:

Google has acknowledged that it cannot digitise copyright material from European libraries, according to the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP).

The article goes on to say that in meeting last month Google agreed that:

…it was “absolutely the case that it is not allowed to [digitise in-copyright material from libraries] in Europe.

At the moment, The Bodleian Library at Oxford University is the only one of the “Google Five” libraries located in Europe. This post has more about the holdings of all five libraries including in-copyright and public domain holdings.

ALPSP chief executive Sally Morris said that she is planning to create a system that will make it easy for Google, the Open Content Alliance, or any other organization wanting to digitise material.

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.

Morris also told IWR that she is waiting to here back from Google on these issues. She said that Google was interested.

Btw, Danny chatted with the ALPSP’s Sally Morris in this blog post.

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