Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Courts Google Your Rights Online

Google Found Guilty of French Copyright Infringement 254

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the slap-on-the-wrist dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "A Paris court on Friday found Google guilty of violating copyright by digitizing books and putting extracts online, following a legal challenge by major French publishers. The court found against Google after the La Martiniere group, which controls the highbrow Editions du Seuil publishing house, argued that publishers and authors were losing out in the latest stage of the digital revolution."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google Found Guilty of French Copyright Infringement

Comments Filter:
  • by Itninja (937614) on Friday December 18, 2009 @03:18PM (#30492454) Homepage
    Google should fight. Or, better yet, just threaten to fight. If the past is any indication, the French will surrender.
    • Be careful though - they have had some amazing military strategists in the past, and they are a bit overdue in that department, so it could happen again one day soon.

      The LAST thing I need is France Attacking the States, Occupying Canada, and then forcing us to put Eggs on our pizzas.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        and then forcing us to put Eggs on our pizzas.

        Have you ever tried putting some eggs on a pizza just before it goes into the oven? If not you should; it's great!

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          I refuse. There are some things an Egg is good for. Pizza is not one of them.

          No, this is not my opinion, this is scientific FACT. Don't make me cite a source.

        • by hazem (472289)

          Have you ever tried putting some eggs on a pizza just before it goes into the oven?

          That might be okay - however, what I got in Paris was a raw egg cracked over the pizza AFTER it came out of the oven. I found that very disappointing. Though the the waiter may have been playing a prank, as he seemed put out that I already knew to ask for a carafe of water (since "I'd like some water" defaults to an expensive bottled water in most places).

    • Does this mean Google infringed copyright with tongue?
  • by John Hasler (414242) on Friday December 18, 2009 @03:25PM (#30492550) Homepage

    ...It agreed to a settlement with US authors and publishers...

    It agreed to a settlement with some US authors and publishers. Most authors were not involved.

    • by Shagg (99693)

      It agreed to a settlement with some US authors

      I think there were 7, or something like that.

      Of course, last I heard the settlement agreement was thrown out and is being rewritten.

    • War of the cultures (Score:4, Interesting)

      by AlexBirch (1137019) on Friday December 18, 2009 @04:58PM (#30493814) Homepage
      France just lost another major battle for the war of the cultures. If Google stays away from all of the copyrighted material in French, that means the world would be more apt to find Victor Hugo in English than in French. I'm grateful that for the most part, the internet is English territory (/. is a great example).

      It's just sad to see the French surrender yet another battle.
      • by Xtifr (1323) on Friday December 18, 2009 @05:17PM (#30494026) Homepage

        the world would be more apt to find Victor Hugo in English than in French.

        Because...Victor Hugo died more recently in France than he did in the rest of the world? Because copyright laws apply differently depending on the source language? I'm sorry, I have no idea what point you're trying to make here, but I'm pretty sure Victor Hugo's works are in the public domain in every country and language.

        • The part of my posting that you ignored was "If Google stays away from all the copyrighted material in French, that means the world would be..."
          To paraprhase, if it becomes too difficult to deal with French copyright, Google may simply avoid the quagmire and avoid all books with French copyrights all together.

          Oddly enough I chose Victor Hugo because he is a) French and b) his works are in the public domain. However if the cost of dealing with French copyright is too high, Google simply won't deal with it.
  • Time to go after book reviewers next?

  • I don't get it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vectorious (1307695) on Friday December 18, 2009 @03:38PM (#30492746)
    I would have thought that extracts of books on Google would be the best possible advertising that you could have for a book - you do a search, and find a useful extract from a book, naturally you want to know more, but google won't give you any more, so you follow the handy advertising link at the side and buy it off Amazon - everyone wins.

    I cannot believe that google extracts are in any way damaging book sales, and therefore causing harm to the authors or publishers.

    So what are they complaining about?
    • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Friday December 18, 2009 @03:44PM (#30492842) Journal

      So what are they complaining about?

      I'm not sure, but I think one of the extracts included something about Snape killing Dumbledore.

      The French were quite upset.

      • by Coren22 (1625475)

        HOW COULD YOU!? I just can't believe you would say that, I thought it was Harry in the library with the candle stick..

    • Re:I don't get it (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192) on Friday December 18, 2009 @03:51PM (#30492936) Journal

      French publishers have bit the hand that feeds them. The obvious solution is for Google to no longer digitize French books, and laugh as people buy less of them.

    • I cannot believe that google extracts are in any way damaging book sales, and therefore causing harm to the authors or publishers.

      So what are they complaining about?

      I would imagine that an only exception to this would be if the book wasn't worth buying in the first place. In that case, an excerpt may very well dissuade someone from buying the book.

    • by Coren22 (1625475)

      Maybe it allows people to see how awful the writing of the author is? Not that I can write, but if the author is truly bad, it would probably show in an excerpt.

    • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nacturation (646836) * <`moc.liamg' `ta' `noitarutcan'> on Friday December 18, 2009 @04:13PM (#30493252) Journal

      The effectiveness of a particular promotional channel is irrelevant if the act itself is illegal.

    • by rtb61 (674572)

      That of course was not the way it was working. In most cases people where only interested in the bit of information they were after. So do the search, find the paragraph and you have your answer, no need to buy the whole bloody way overpriced textbook. Now this sounds bigger than it really was, often the paragraph rarely answered you full question, however it did reinforce the habit in searching the internet to find your answers and never buying text books (the answer you seek is always somewhere on the in

  • Really impressive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bdunogier (1703556) on Friday December 18, 2009 @03:45PM (#30492858)
    Hi ! French / Frog / Egg eater (pick the one you like the most) here :) While I'm also a bit annoyed by this decision, they still have a point... but this is not what I wanna debate here. Even though I try to get the funny parts of most comments here, I am still extremely impressed by how you guys can look down on people you probably haven't ever spoke with (frenchies I mean), probably based on what you can see/read in the medias. Yes, most frenchies do look down on you the same way, but as slashdot users, who pretend to be part of the "internet revolution", which as far as I see it should provide all of us with accurate, real information standard, main stream media wouldn't provide us with. Really ironic. And yes, I do think the same about a good proportion of my fellow frenchies. No offense indended here, though.
    • by nebaz (453974)

      I don't understand why you are impressed. Looking down on other people comes easily to most of us.

    • by Locke2005 (849178) on Friday December 18, 2009 @04:05PM (#30493142)
      1) It hard to "speak with people" who insist that everyone speak perfect French or be subject ridicule, especially when you don't speak French.
      2) From what I have heard, the country French are a very hospitable people, warm and willing to share their culture with the world. It is really only the Parisians that have a (deserved) reputation for being arrogant. Unfortunately, Paris is the only part of France that most people ever visit.
      3) The Quebecois have earned some degree of disrespect since their insistence on the use of French goes far beyond "bi-lingualism" and may be regarded by some as discriminating against the majority English-speaking Canadians.
      In general, France was once a big global superpower; France was once the center for tecnology, and French was the "Lingua Franca" used in diplomacy throughout the world. The French appear more than a little pissed off that this is no longer true. However, this just gives us a preview of the kind of attitude we will be getting from the Americans in a few years when China becomes the economic and technological center of the world. If you thought the French were acting like arrogant assholes before, just wait 'til you see what the Americans act like!
      • French were acting like arrogant assholes before, just wait 'til you see what the Americans act like!

        We've already got them beat!

        when China becomes the economic and technological center of the world.

        Whiel that may eventually happen, I do not foresee an Asian Langauge replacing English. That is, unless they adopt an alhpabet.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by dropadrop (1057046)

        1) It hard to "speak with people" who insist that everyone speak perfect French or be subject ridicule, especially when you don't speak French.

        I've been to France quite often, and on most of my visits I did not speak a word of French. I was never subject to any ridicule, but I never expected anyone to speak more English or Finnish then I spoke French. I understand somebody could have bad luck and meet an asshole, but if everybody you meet are assholes you should look in the mirror for a cause.

        2) From what I have heard, the country French are a very hospitable people, warm and willing to share their culture with the world. It is really only the Parisians that have a (deserved) reputation for being arrogant. Unfortunately, Paris is the only part of France that most people ever visit. 3) The Quebecois have earned some degree of disrespect since their insistence on the use of French goes far beyond "bi-lingualism" and may be regarded by some as discriminating against the majority English-speaking Canadians. In general, France was once a big global superpower; France was once the center for tecnology, and French was the "Lingua Franca" used in diplomacy throughout the world. The French appear more than a little pissed off that this is no longer true. However, this just gives us a preview of the kind of attitude we will be getting from the Americans in a few years when China becomes the economic and technological center of the world. If you thought the French were acting like arrogant assholes before, just wait 'til you see what the Americans act like!

        My findings with modern young french people is that most of them do actually speak some English (mind you this is just Paris I'm talking about). However they

        • I've been to France quite often, and on most of my visits I did not speak a word of French. I was never subject to any ridicule, but I never expected anyone to speak more English or Finnish then I spoke French. I understand somebody could have bad luck and meet an asshole, but if everybody you meet are assholes you should look in the mirror for a cause.

          Most people go to Paris and Parisians can be very rude which is completely unexpected from a big city. Everyone in London, New York and L.A. come off as people you'd find running a little "Mom & Pop" store in the country.

        • English, in France (Score:3, Informative)

          by omb (759389)
          I live about 120k from the French border, the Baseler grenze, at which I stop speaking German and shift to French. Thanks to ex President Francois Mitterand almost all young French speak English since they have to pass a spoken English test to go to French University.

          In the Alsace, almost all speak German as well, and in the South West Spanish "je n comprend pas" is very much a thing of the past, largely as a consequence of the mobility of labour in the EU.
      • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Friday December 18, 2009 @05:36PM (#30494252) Homepage

        1) It hard to "speak with people" who insist that everyone speak perfect French or be subject ridicule, especially when you don't speak French.

        You mean like the numerous Americans and English who mock immigrants who don't speak perfect English even though the immigrant knows two or three languages and the native English speaker can only (if lucky) manage one?

    • Nonsense.

      My distaste for French people is based entirely on how they post on Slashdot.
    • by ElKry (1544795)
      You must be new here.
    • I look down on everyone, without bias or prejudice.
    • The French are often very nice and easy to get along with so I'm cool with them. But like any other group, some individuals are nice and some aren't.

      The US, unfortunately, kept a hold of the islander mentality that the English have so many of them are afraid of anything different.
  • Found? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sexconker (1179573) on Friday December 18, 2009 @03:56PM (#30493024)

    Google wasn't found guilty. They were openly, admittedly, unabashedly guilty of digitizing and putting up excerpts of books they did not hold ANY copyright to.

    They only thing that happened was that the court decided the this law is valid even for a mega corp like Google.

    THAT, my friends, is the real shocker.

    And all you Googlebots can bitch about the law all you want, that's fine. Get the laws changed (in France, here, wherever). But Google brazenly did shit that was completely illegal. I am glad they got hit for it.

    Corporations should NOT be above the law.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Overzeetop (214511)

      I absolutely agree, sort of. What this will likely do, however, is force a settlement between Google and the French publisher for the rights...and I don't think it will go in the publishers favor.

      See, Google has gotten us addicted to information. Easy searching. The world at our fingertips. What happens when Google pulls the plug on all French language sites, citing the French interpretation of the right to excerpt for search reasons? People are going to have a fit over it. Somebody is going to have to gi

      • > I absolutely agree, sort of.

        Is that agreeing more or less than, "I sort of agree, absolutely."?

    • by Sparr0 (451780)

      Until today I didn't know Google had a presence in France. How many billions of dollars would a judgment need to be to make it worthwhile for them to just pack up and leave?

    • by steelfood (895457)

      Maybe for once, they can change the law to be for the better... Not likely of course, since if they do get the law change, the new law would probably end up screwing over authors. But still, one can hope.

    • by grumbel (592662)

      Sounds to me like Google is doing a little civil disobedience here. The publishers and libraries had now a good 10 years to get their act together and put a decent online offering up, but what have they done? Pretty much nothing. So Google being a little ignorant to the law and doing what they think is the right thing to do, really sounds like a good thing, as it might one way or the other, lead finally to a situation where the Internet is no longer ignored by the other side.

    • Re:Found? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by fermion (181285) on Friday December 18, 2009 @06:16PM (#30494686) Homepage Journal
      It would seem better we had a compulsory license fee on book so that google, or whomever, could pay a fee for unit of book copied/scanned/duplicated. Then there would be a fee for each page served.

      But this is not the case, and google is testing how far it can push the copyright laws to enhance it's business position. Many firms do this. MS did this. I don't like Google doing this because they are not trying to open information. Rather, they are trying to control information so that eyeballs have to view ads brokered by Google.

      However, my like or dislike is not relevant. What is relevant is that google is the method many people use to find information. What is relevant is that France is a tiny little country with a language that diminishing number of people speak, and diminishing influence. Many schools in the US are more likely to teach Russian or German or Japanese rather than French. There was a time when France actively tried to fight this negative position by liberally distributing french material. It's seems that they have now given up and will become a country just go to for vacation, like Jamaica.

  • Make sense (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 0xABADC0DA (867955) on Friday December 18, 2009 @04:04PM (#30493128)

    Google makes unauthorized copies of people's work to store in their servers, in some way similar to how Psystar is found guilty of making unauthorized copies of Mac OS X when it loads it into memory.

    Then Google makes money hand over fist from it by selling search results/ads and the people producing the content get nothing or -at best- a very tiny fraction of the income. 'Take from the rich and keep for our own rich selves' sounds a lot like 'do evil' to me.

    If your content shows up in Google's results and they make any money off it, then you as the creator of that content should get a portion of that money. Otherwise why do we have copyright laws at all? In a fair world, google and bing should need to set up accounts for each website and pay back a portion of their revenue each time that site's contents appears in a search result with ads in it.

    • If your content shows up in Google's results and they make any money off it, then you as the creator of that content should get a portion of that money.

      That's quite the matter-of-fact statement there, chief. Lots of folks actually want their creative works indexed by Google et al. Google indexes an excerpt of my work, and links back to some form of source content. Note that I haven't paid a dime for this service ...

      Note also that the individuals who are complaining are the ones who currently have a s

    • Make NO sense (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by StevenMaurer (115071)

      The difference is "Fair Use".

      The Doctrine of Fair Use states that very small excerpts of a copyrighted work may be used for academic teaching, political commentary, and indexing.

      Competition with the actual author of the work with a verbatim copy, as in the Psystar case, is clearly not fair use.

      This ruling, upholding the French version of the DMCA (except far more draconian), essentially says that you can sue a Phone Book company for putting the copyrighted name of your business in their phone book. It als

    • by ElKry (1544795)

      If your content shows up in Google's results and they make any money off it, then you as the creator of that content should get a portion of that money. Otherwise why do we have copyright laws at all? In a fair world, google and bing should need to set up accounts for each website and pay back a portion of their revenue each time that site's contents appears in a search result with ads in it.

      If your content shows up in Google's results, then Google is giving you advertising and publicity. Would you rather pay for that? Is your perfect model that Google pays you for indexing your data, and then you pay Google for offering that content in their searches?

      Additionally, if you don't want to show up on their results because it's unfair that your website is making them so much money, I have a robots.txt to sell you, Mr Murdoch...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Xyrus (755017)

      If your content shows up in Google's results and they make any money off it, then you as the creator of that content should get a portion of that money.

      You are. You're getting free advertising. If you want even better advertising, you can pay more for it. But only the utterly delusional/idiotic would think that they are getting NOTHING from having Google link to their content.

      Otherwise why do we have copyright laws at all?

      Originally? Or now?

      The original copyright laws were to grant the author a monopoly for a fixed period of time to reward them for their works. Now, copyright laws are used to create a perpetual monopoly and act as cultural sledgehammer.

      Look, if you want to be a complete jackass and pre

  • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@@@slashdot...org> on Friday December 18, 2009 @04:18PM (#30493312)

    After all he violated his own laws 3 times, and now, according to his own laws, should be thrown off the Internet.

    He even did it with intent. As he asked the media industry first, then they denied the request, but then he used it anyway.

    Is long as Sarkozy is not behind bars and off the net, this whole thing is a farce.

  • Last I looked the French language although still in use by millions within France doesn't have a high international growth of new speakers. The Japanese faced the same problem and now they go out of their way to export their culture and make it available on the web. So now Japanese culture and the language has become a big money earner for them but the actions of the French seem to me to be a backwards step for a language that is becoming more and more a minority dialect.
  • || ...the highbrow Editions du Seuil publishing house, argued that publishers and authors were losing out in the latest stage of the digital revolution." ||

    They just ensured that they will continue "losing out in the latest stage of the digital revolution". Great thinking, yeah!

Physician: One upon whom we set our hopes when ill and our dogs when well. -- Ambrose Bierce

Working...