To be really honest, I kind of figured that the Google Book project to digitize the books world wide would die a slow death after Google saw a settlement on the topic declined in the US last year. But now all of a sudden its back. With a deal in a country where Google had a lot of troubles with the book project before: France.
The book project has been under fire ever since Google first started to work on it. Google was seen as the evil company trying to steal away the content from publishers and authors, resulting in several lawsuits world wide.
In France however Google last week made a deal with the biggest French publisher Hachette Livre. They will be digitizing tens of thousands of French-language books from the publisher. These are books which are still protected by copyright. But this deal makes sure that Hachette keeps control over the books which are scanned and sold through Google.
For Google the deal is a setup for more deals within the French market. They want to start selling books through a French digital bookstore, Google Editions, by the end of the year.
Simon Morrison, copyright policy and communications manager at Google in London told the New York Times:
“We would love to implement similar arrangements with other French publishers, and it’s something that we have in mind as we talk to other partners,”
Even though this step is a big step forward Google still faces a lot of hurdles when it comes to their Google Books Project. There are still many lawsuits against them (also in France) and there is the US settlement case which was rejected last year. Google and American publishers have to come up with a revised deal by September 15th or they will have to start all over in the US.