Google issued an apology to Chinese authors, according to China Daily, for scanning their books without permission. Google has also been sued in China for copyright infringement in connection with unauthorized book scanning. Meanwhile the amended US Book Scanning litigation settlement still awaits final court approval.
There are several private Chinese groups that seek apologies and compensation from Google for scanned Chinese books. Google is meeting with these groups, representing Chinese authors, to try and clear the way for more scanning of Chinese works.
The China Daily article quotes spokespeople for several groups, who express varying degrees of caution or cynicism:
Google’s apology is made mainly because the company values the Chinese market a lot, as well as due to the domestic media’s close attention to the issue,” Zhang Hongbo, deputy director of the [China Written Works Copyright Society], told China Daily . . .
Yang Chengzhi, secretary of the Chinese Writers Association (CWA), told CCTV: “We will have a serious study of the apology and hear the authors’ opinions before we decide whether or not to accept Google’s apology.”
Apparently most of the 20,000 Chinese books scanned were from US libraries.
It’s not clear what Google may do differently in China in the future but it clearly wants a solution to the issue that avoids future lawsuits and public embarrassment.