back to article Germany says 'nein' to Google book deal

The German government has come out in opposition to Google's recent book settlement, declaring it would “irrevocably alter the landscape of international copyright law.” Court papers filed in New York yesterday said the deal “runs afoul of the applicable German national laws, as well as European public initiatives to create …


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  1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. nichomach
    Thumb Up


    At least someone's standing up to the massive IP landgrab being attempted by Google. Hope the Germans win.

  3. Sabine Miehlbradt


    If you do not know what is going on: Just shut the hell up and let the grown-ups talk.

    But when has a politician ever heeded that advice? Especially right before a general election. "Hey look - I am doing something to protect German interests against the evil corporations. Vote for my party."

  4. Maurice Shakeshaft


    Have the British Government filed a similar missive with the court in New York? Would be nice but, sadly, I doubt it..

    Might get even more weight behind it if our European legislator could get of their collective backsides and follow the German approach - why haven't they? Or have they but it's all quiet?

  5. The Indomitable Gall

    @Roger Pearse


    You've missed the point. It's not that they're not wanting to be included in anyone's library, it's that they're saying that it's unfair that a bunch of American authors have been allowed to say "pay us and we'll let you use other stuff for free that doesn't belong to us" and claimed that this is best for all authors.

    As has been stated before, "orphan works" includes by default pretty much anything that has been published anywhere in the world, but has never been published in the USA.

    The settlement was made to the benefit of a fraction of the supposed class, at cost to the vast majority of members, and it is only right that governments should stand up and say that their citizens are not properly served by this. Isn't that what we pay them for? Why aren't our guys saying the same thing? Don't we pay them enough? Even after the second home?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    @Roger Pearse

    The US did not have to sign the international treaty on copyright (the "Berne Convention"). But it chose to do so of its own free will. Now it needs to keep complying with it (or formally renegotiate it). It shouldn't unilaterally break the treaty.

    The treaty says that copyright holders don't need to register for their copyright to be valid. The Google books settlement says that Google can ignore copyrights that aren't registered with Google. These are obviously incompatible.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I'm with nichomach

    Just because you don't know who owns it, it doesn't mean that you can take it.

    Google are attempting to grab ownership of something which is not theirs.

    @Roger Pearse - wow, some German has really pissed you off, haven't they?

  8. Anonymous Coward

    @Roger Pearse

    Yes, those evil Germans, how dare they want their authors copyright respected and not ignored by Google so it can republish the works itself.

    You sir, are an idiot. Why should Google be allowed to publish what it wants?

  9. Adam Salisbury
    Thumb Up

    @ Nicomach

    Well said, well said, I just hope our fetid excuse for a government enough of a spine to do likewise!

  10. Hollerith 1

    Wish I were published in Germany

    I had to opt out like mad all over the Google place to opt out, as I didn't fancy their earning money out of offering my books for free, nor did I fancy their putting adverts beside them. I'm published by small presses and they don't have the clout to do nowt to stop Google doing anything. I am sure my opting out will mean my books are strangely suppressed in some way, but I can live with that more than I can live with 'all your work is ours'.

  11. Gannon (J.) Dick
    Thumb Up


    Welcome to the Land of 1000 recs, you earned it.

    The US Patent System, for all it's faults, still belongs to the slumlords big enough to defend a Patent no matter how silly. OK, that IP is only traded among the wealthy.

    Google's bid for the orphans would give them "right of first refusal" on any IP they can steal. This is not about stopping Google, it's about stopping the unfair idea that Google had first. I read once that the amount of scientific literature surpassed the ability of a scientist to read it all in a lifetime about 1900. There is a long lost orphan for every branch of Natural Science I can think of. This is not an IT issue.

  12. Lars Silver badge

    Big land grabs

    Are made when nobody is looking, and the "technology" is young.

    Certainly there are good reason to have a close look at what is going on.

    "the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers have the final say on whether their members' copyrighted works may be used in Google’s Book Rights Registry. The web kingpin also agreed to pay $125m to resolve any outstanding claims"

    So what does that actually mean. That Google has the right to publish anything they like in any language written in any country in the world as long as there is something to gain from it and "outstanding" claims are paid .

  13. James O'Brien

    @Roger Pearse

    Who the hell pissed in your Wheaties this morning?

    What Google is doing is tantamount to outright theft. If I was to try to do the same thing I would be locked up. Personally I think in some respects this is a good idea but at the same time if they are going to ignore copyright and make it hard for people to opt out of this then they should not be allowed to continue down this road.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    You Europeans need to remember...

    that the American government is the most corporately owned government on the planet and Google is a very wealthy corporation.

    I'm very thankful for those European governments, and the EU, that stand up and say to these huge corporations, NO.

    I hope Germany gives Google a thorough ass kicking over this and that other countries follow suite.

    I'm afraid my own country, Canada, is much too far down the route of the American government to stand up and do the right thing.

  15. Mike007


    why are they even bothering? a much more effective solution would be to just admit that the US ruling is irrelevant, and begin proceedings in german court for the violations - which will make google restrict the service to only be hosted from its US datacentres, requiring the US to enforce the rulings

    when the US refuse to enforce it, make a statement officially acknowledging the US withdrawal from the treaty - the US will be begging to be allowed to rejoin the treaty within weeks

    i say weeks purely because it'll take a little time for it to sink in what they just did - give it a week for all the "completely legal free downloads of US books/films/software" websites to spring up, followed by a week or two for it to really sink in what a major mistake they just made... cue the remaining US content producers moving abroad in order to get copyright protection

  16. Anonymous Coward

    This is why

    It is a lot more difficult to burn books once they're online...

  17. JohnG Silver badge

    Books in the USA / MP3s in Russia

    How the Google idea is significantly different from allofmp3 in Russia? Allof mp3's stance was that they were paid up to the Russian government's copyright outfit (ROMS) and were therefore complying with local law and could sell whatever MP3s they liked.

    The yanks don't seem to have thought through the wider implications of such a unilateral move on books at a time when they are trying to get the rest of the world to be more draconian about other forms of intellectual property. Some countries might decide that they will only recognise software copyrights if these have been first registered via local organisations to which the copyrigt owner has to be accepted for membership.

  18. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
    Gates Horns

    All your copyright material is belong to U.S.

    So what is the difference between what Google is doing and somebody downloading music (or films). Has a legal precedent been set for 'merkins?

    Would it mean that the copyright mafia would have to specifically opt out of allowing material to be downloaded by notifying each potential downloader that they have done so.

    One rule for the greedy mega corporations and a different rule for the plebs.

    Using Balmer until we get the evil Larry Page/Eric Schmidt icon

  19. The First Dave

    @Sabine Miehlbradt

    Did you get a bit confused there?

    The only thing I can see that is wrong with this is that no National Government should ever need to keep an eye on random court cases in other countries, just in case that other country should happen to make a ruling that allegedly covers other countries. It should be perfectly obvious that a ruling that goes against international treaties is not going to be enforceable anywhere else.

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