Google has come to a settlement with French publisher Hachette Livre in regard to the scanning and use of scanned French books for its Google Books project. The deal apparently gives Hachette considerable control over what titles are scanned and used. Hachette will also get to use Google’s scans of its books for print-on-demand and e-book sales.

The Bookseller’s FutureBooks reports on the settlement and posts the press release. The Bookseller itself has more backstory, noting that Hachette had filed an objection to the Google Books settlement with the US court in September. Google says that it does not currently plan to replicate the deal in other countries, but is “always talking to our publisher partners around the globe about possible collaborations."


  1. This is a bit like Toyota agreeing that the driver who ran a red light and smashed into my Toyota doesn’t have to pay me for the damages done to my car and body. It’s the authors who ultimately own the copyright to their books and it is the authors who must give specific, written permission for republication, as the Berne Convention clearly states.

    That’s especially true in this case since the agreement involves out-of-print titles, and many author contracts return the copyright registration to the author when a book drops out of print. Note too that it is unlikely that the original contact between the author and publisher permitted digital editions. The US Supreme Court has already ruled that in such cases the digital rights remain with the author. Google’s lawyers aren’t stupid. They know that. They just don’t care.

    Methinks Hachette is being a bit greedy and more than a little unethical here, much like Google and for much the same reason. “We’re big. We’re rich. Try to sue us you puny and poor little authors.” In publishing, the curse of Social Darwinism remains quite alive. In the corporate boardrooms of Google and Hachette Livre, might does equate to right.

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