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Google admits to scanning books
By Xie Yu (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-11-03 08:20

Google admits to scanning books
A pedestrian walks by Google China's headquarter in this photo taken on July 23, 2009. [Asianewsphoto]

Google officials yesterday admitted to having scanned more than 20,000 books under Chinese copyright protection.

The world's largest Internet search engine has been in negotiations with China's copyright watchdog for scanning works for its online library without permission.

"They still emphasized the Chinese books they scanned are from US libraries and some of them are available for public use," said Zhang Hongbo, deputy director of the China Written Works Copyright Society (CWWCS), which manages China's copyrights for written works. "But they also admitted at least 20,000 books are still under China's copyright protection."

Earlier this month, CWWCS officials said at least 18,000 books from 570 Chinese writers had been scanned by Google, with authors neither informed nor paid.

Zhang told China Daily he had already discussed a timetable to solve this problem with Erik Hartmann, the Asia-Pacific head of Google Books.

"Google Books will provide a complete list of scanned Chinese books to us on Nov 16," Zhang said.

Google has been scanning millions of books under US copyright since 2004. It is in the final stages of reaching a settlement with two US copyright organizations, which brought copyright infringement lawsuits against the company.

Google agreed to pay the authors $60 for each book, plus 63 percent of the income from online reading.

Hartmann told media earlier Google hopes China would not resort to large-scale appeal.

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Zhang said it would depend on the negotiations.

"We still want them to admit infringement and apologize, which they skirted around yesterday," Zhang said.

"But we do not want to go to court either. It takes too much time and money to do this kind of multinational lawsuit," he explained.

The CWWCS had earlier made it clear that China would not accept the US settlement, but demand a solution specific to China.

Google spokeswoman Courtney Hohne told the New York Times: "We take the view, backed up by international copyright law, that no copyright is violated in this process since the amount of text displayed is so small and it's purely for information."

More than 50 writers have signed a letter of protest demanding an apology from Google and compensation.

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