Google Books Project Draws Fire In China (Updated)

From AFP:

A China copyright group Wednesday accused Internet giant Google of scanning Chinese books for its online library without authorisation, in the latest criticism hurled at the controversial project.

The China Written Works Copyright Society told AFP its data showed at least 17,922 books had been scanned and included in Google Books, the Internet giant’s project to digitise millions of books and post them online.

“Google has violated a widely-accepted international copyright rule that any scanning, collecting and using of protected works should obtain permission and pay a fee before usage,” society deputy general-director Zhang Hongbo told AFP.

Update: Juliet Ye from the Wall Street Journal also covers the Google Books controversy in China:

Google introduced its digital library to China in 2007, but most Chinese writers are still not familiar with the service. According to a critical report aired last week by state broadcaster CCTV, Google has converted to digital format and published nearly 18,000 books written by more than 570 Chinese writers, most of whom are unaware of the move.

Soon after the post appeared on the Web site of CWA, it caused a stir within the community of Chinese writers. Many are annoyed at the meager settlement amount offered by Google. Writer Chen Cun said that he would never accept the payment settlement. “Go scan Harry Potter and then pay J.K. Rowling $60, see whether she’ll take it!” Mr. Chen said in an interview with Chinese-language media.

Wang Xiaofeng (known online as “Wears Three Watches”), a famous blogger and writer for the Sanlian Life Weekly magazine, vented his anger after discovering that two of his books had been scanned and included in Google Books.

In a reference to Google’s motto he wrote on his blog, “Do no evil, but fine to be worse than beasts in an evil moment.”


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