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Google can’t catch a break in European courts. An organization of French publishers has filed suit against Google Book search, claiming that violates copyright law, making the same arguments that their U.S. counterparts have made in their lawsuit. This happened less than six months after it lost a copyright case in Belgium.
For Google, these sorts of legal claims are not monetarily significant. They are important, however, from a public relations perspective. Google actively has sought partnerships from media companies who were leery about the search engine and many value the huge amount of traffic driven to their site. Still, Google probably is going to be fighting over questions of what is fair use of copyrighted material for some time to come.
In the case in France, the publishers’ union, Le Syndicat National de l’Edition (SNE), joined book publisher Le Martiniere Groupe in its copyright suit against Google. according to Cnet News.com. Google Books Search “holds in contempt the fundamental rules of the right to intellectual property,” the SNE claims. As usual, Google is arguing that the service is legal since only excerpts and not entire books are available.
— Cnet News.com: In Belgium, Google denied a report saying that it was facing fines of $43 million in a case by Copiepresse, a publishers’ trade group. The company said it is complying with a court ruling that was issued against it in September and doesn’t face penalties.