GBS: NYT on the Chinese Brouhaha


Sharon LaFraniere, In China, Objections to Google’s Book Scans, New York Times, Oct 31, 2009, at B4:

A long-running dispute over Google’s efforts to digitize books has spread this month to China, where authors have banded together to demand that their works be protected from what they call unauthorized copying.

Two Chinese writers’ groups claim that Google has scanned Chinese works into an electronic database in violation of international copyright standards. The organizations are urging China’s authors to step forward and defend their rights.

Plenty of interesting tidbits. For example, some of the outrage seems to be based on simple misunderstanding of what’s happening:

A few Chinese authors have suggested that Google has not only scanned in their works, it has published selections of them online without obtaining permission. No such cases could be immediately confirmed, and at least a few authors appeared to be mistaken about whether their books could be viewed.

On the other hand, it doesn’t sound as though the official notice program has been terribly effective in China:

But most Chinese authors learned of Google’s efforts only this month, after writers’ groups were notified of a potential class-action settlement between Google and American authors and publishers. Some Chinese authors discovered that Google had obtained their works from libraries in the United States and scanned them into its database.

Note that “this month” means October, i.e., wholly after the extended opt-out and objection deadline. This is yet another reason why the EFF’s concerns about the re-notice are utterly critical.

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