German author group joins anti-Google protests
26 October 2005, DARMSTADT, GERMANY - Germany's main association of authors, the PEN Centre, joined Tuesday the protests against a controversial project by search engine giant Google to digitise the world's books.
26 October 2005
DARMSTADT, GERMANY - Germany's main association of authors, the PEN Centre, joined Tuesday the protests against a controversial project by search engine giant Google to digitise the world's books.
Wilfried F. Schoeller, general secretary of PEN Germany, said it would dispossess the authors of their work.
He told Germany's Deutschlandfunk radio that the creative property of authors needed protection. Most authors' incomes were tiny.
"Now we are supposed to get even less. Of course we can't accept that," he said.
The project has divided the book world. The U.S. company says the Google Print search engine will encourage book sales, because it is practically impossible to download an entire book or to print any of the snippets of recent books that are shown on screen.
The complete text of the books must be fed into Google's powerful computers so that searchers can locate any word within split seconds.
Some U.S. authors and publishers are adamantly opposed, and the protests have spread to Britain and France. The critics contend that Google is publishing the snippets of text without permission. Supporters say the search engine is already helping book sales.
Schoeller attacked German libraries which have welcomed the project as a technological advance in finding books.
At the Frankfurt Book Fair last week, some library and publisher groups denounced Google Print, contending it would put a monopoly on information into the hands of a U.S. commercial company.
Google has already begun scanning the university libraries of Harvard, Stanford, Michigan and Oxford, and the New York Public Library and is also receiving new books to scan from publishers, mainly smaller ones.
The project was first announced in December.
The U.S. search engine provides links for each book to its publisher and to online bookstores so that the web user can buy it. Google says it will finance the project entirely by selling spot advertising placed next to the search results.
In August, after protests from some U.S. publishers and libraries, Google called a moratorium till November in the scanning of library books which are still subject to copyright restrictions.
Subject: German news