Gilian Wong wrote an article for Canadian Press called "China writers' group says Google ready to apologize, work out deal on book scanning dispute". Read more here. Hat tip to Jeff Roberts' McGill's CIPP IP 'News This Week'.
So Google is ready to apologize to China's writers for scanning the Chinese books (as part of the Google Books project) without asking for permission to the copyright holders, according to China Written Works Copyright Society. Google confirmed that a letter signed by Erik Hartmann, head of Google Books Asia Pacific, was sent to the writers' society. However, Google insists that the Google Books project is fully compliant with Chinese law.
It's probably easy to be ready to apologize if there is no reason to apologize. I'll do anything, when hell freezes over?
Three further remarks:
- Seems Google is adapting to the Chinese yin and yang (complementary opposites) concept quite literally.
- Gilian Wong quoted the letter which says that Google made the "unprecedented move" of making a complete list of the books scanned, in response to a request by the writers' society. I think it is incredible that this move is unprecendented. Given the character of the whole project, I think it would be fair to disclose the list. How else is it possible for authors or publishers to opt out of the Google's project?
- After the Writers' society told Google that they were not amused by the scanning of Chinese books which included titles of their members. Shanghai's 'Bad Girl' Mian Mian sued Google, read here. It's no surprise that China's people's court who heard Mian Mian asks the two sides to hold talks on a settlement. It is compliant to article 54 Copyright Law: "A dispute over copyright may be settle by mediation. lt may also be submitted for arbitration to a copyright arbitration body under a written arbitration agreement concluded between the parties or under the arbitration clause in the contract."