French publisher settles with Google

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A French publisher who had battled in court to stop Google from publishing books online without permission said on Thursday it had come to terms and entered a partnership with the US-based Internet giant.

"Google is now in agreement with all of our demands. We've made peace," Herve La Martiniere, chief executive of publishing group La Martiniere said.

"We are erasing (the past) and turning towards the future. It was pointless to keep fighting," he said.

In 2009, after years of legal battles, a French court condemned Google for forgery and ordered the search engine company to stop digitising books it lacked the rights for and pay La Martiniere 300,000 euros ($432,000) in damages.

Google appealed the decision but that procedure was withdrawn with Thursday's agreement.

However, a French publishers association and a writers' guild who had joined La Martiniere in its case against Google have not reached a deal with the Internet company, a Google spokesman told AFP.

With the settlement, La Martiniere Group and Google announced in a joint statement "a strategic agreement" to digitise "works that are no longer available for sale but are still under copyright.

"The collaboration aims to breathe new life (into) dormant out-of-print works for the benefits of readers, who can rediscover them; of authors, whose works can be read again; and of publishers, who can take advantage of new business opportunities," the statement said.

Google's legal travails in France are not over however. In May, three other top French publishers sued it for scanning its books without permission, seeking 9.8 billion euros in damages.

Late last year, Hachette Livre -- the biggest publisher in France and second-biggest worldwide -- licensed Google to scan its out-of-print books for which it hold rights.

© 2011 AFP

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