While a US court is still deciding the fate of the Google book scanning settlement, the company has announced a deal with the biggest publisher in France that gives Google the go-ahead to scan some French books.
But the key word there is “some.” As The New York Times reports, publishing company Hachette Livre will decide which out-of-print-but-still-under-copyright books Google will be allowed to scan and sell electronically. The Times says this is a non-exclusive deal, so Hachette will be able to make the same books available to others. Google and Hachette will share sales revenue, but no details about the split are known.
Google’s Dan Clancy is quoted in the Times’ piece suggesting that this deal could “serve as a framework for other French publishers and maybe other publishers around the world. It retains control for the publisher in terms of how books should be used.”
French officials have been vocal about their opposition to Google’s book scanning effort. Google lost one copyright case late last year, around the same time that French President Nicolas Sarkozy suggested that France could scan its own books.
According to the Times, today’s deal still allows Hachette to pursue legal action against Google over past book scanning.