European Commission Wants 7-Year Limit On Google’s Digitization

At a hearing Monday in Brussels, the European Commission issued a report calling for a 7-year limit on exclusivity deals that Google and other companies are signing with libraries and other cultural institution to digitize their material. At the end of seven years, other groups would be able to use the digitized works for commercial purposes.

Google is using a 15-year “preferential use” limit, but the report — and the comments of some EU commissioners — says that the limit should be cut to seven years. The New York Times describes the preferential use this way:

Androulla Vassiliou, the European Union commissioner for education and culture, backed the experts’ suggestion for a system in which companies like Google could recoup the costs of digitization, but also ensure that a period of preferential use was limited to seven years.

During a period of preferential use, a public domain book, for instance, that was digitized by Google would be available only through a library’s Web site, through Google’s Web site, or through noncommercial Web sites for that seven-year period.

Speaking to the NYT, a Google spokesperson didn’t say if the company would follow today’s recommendation. Google is still waiting for word on its proposed book search settlement with with authors and publishers.

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Google: Book Search | Google: Outside US


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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