Search engine giant Google is sending a representative to China this week to talk with the country's copyright watchdog.
The move is designed to cool Chinese authors' heated complaints against the company over copyright violations, a Google senior executive said yesterday.
Nearly 18,000 books from 570 Chinese writers have been scanned by Google and included in its digital library, Google Books, available only to Internet users in the United States.
"So far, no writers we reached said he or she had authorized Google to do the scanning," said Zhang Hongbo, deputy director of China Written Works Copyright Society.
Google's infringement of Chinese authors' rights is very severe, Zhang said.
Daniel Alegre, Google's vice-president of Asia Pacific Sales and Operations, said it was understandable that Chinese authors were dissatisfied over the scanning of their works. He said that, due to the huge amount of books scanned, it was difficult to contact every author.
Google and copyright organizations, such as the Authors' Guild and the Association of American Publishers, submitted a revised settlement agreement on Saturday to a US court.
The settlement, for a 2005 lawsuit over Google's ambitious plan to digitize books from major US libraries, outlined a plan to create a comprehensive database of in-print and out-of-print works. But the original agreement drew much criticism.
The Justice Department and others said Google was potentially violating copyright law, setting itself up to unfairly control access to electronic versions of older books and depriving authors and their heirs of proper compensation.
The revisions to the settlement primarily address the handling of so-called orphan works, the millions of books whose rights holders are unknown or cannot be found.