Google is defending its plan to scan and publish millions of books online. The internet search company explained to a European Commission hearing its actions made access to information on the Web more democratic.
The California company struck a deal with author and publisher groups in the US earlier this year, allowing it to copy books for the Internet. But the deal faces criticism and is under the gaze of the U.S. Justice Department for not specifying what Google might charge libraries for access. Some libraries fear the service will become an expensive must-have.
The EU is studying the Google deal after Germany complained the company had scanned books from U.S. libraries to create a database without asking the owners. Publishers and booksellers hold different opinions about Google's plans.
Jessica Sanger, German Publisher and Bookseller Association said "Essentially publishers are worried that Google is being rewarded for breaking the law in the first place. For doing something which was at first not permissable and is now gaining an advantage through such actions that they would not have been able to reach by negotiating in an ordinary negotiating environment. One of those rewards that we are particularly concerned about is that Google is essentially gaining a de facto monopoly on the exploitation of orphaned and other unclaimed works"
Santiago De La Mora, Google Director of Book Partnerships in Europe said "There is definitely a 'win win win' type of proposition: win for the authors and publishers who are able to showcase their content. Win for us because we are satisfying our users and of course from the user point of view much more access to the world's information and our universal heritage."
(CCTV September 8, 2009)