Google will probably be fighting legal battles in European courts and appearing before EU regulators for some time to come. For the time being Google has lost (at least for now) a copyright case in France arising from book scanning. According to Reuters:
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.
La Martiniere, the French Publishers’ Association and authors’ groups SGDL argued that scanning books was an act of reproduction that should be paid for, and demanded the U.S. company be fined 15 million euros ($21.59 million).
Google has reportedly scanned roughly 100,000 French books according to Associated Press reports. The court has ordered the equivalent of a $14,000 per day fine until Google purges the works from its database. I don’t know (and the articles make no mention) of whether Google can or will appeal. I suspect if the company can it will.
Meanwhile, to the southeast, Google Executives’ trial in absentia over alleged privacy violations involving YouTube in Italy continues. The NY Times reports:
Prosecutors contend that Google was negligent because it allowed a video of high school students bullying an autistic classmate to stay on its Italian-language video service for two months in 2006. The company, which is based in Mountain View, California, says it removed the video several hours after being alerted about its existence.
We discussed the case previously. It involves potential jail time for the four Google executives, which include David Drummond, Google’s SVP of Corporate Development, and former Google CFO George Reyes. It’s quite possible that Google will lose this case as well.
While both of these cases involve alleged violations of French or Italian law the not-so-subtext is the Continent upholding the rights of the individual vs. the American invader that allegedly wants to erode or destroy them and European cultural traditions in the process. The legal cases and political (and perhaps legislative) objections to Google will continue.
This is now just the cost of doing business for Google.