CEPIC Response to Google Agreement with French Publishers

The framework agreement was announced on Monday between the Syndicat National de l’Edition (National Syndicate of Publishers) the Société des Gens de Lettres (SGDL) and Google, constituting a hard fought victory for the whole of the online book market, and a first step towards the recognition of the need for the protection of cultural and artistic heritage.

After six years of dispute with Google, a framework agreement has been established, aiming to regulate and indexation of works unavailable for sale in paper versions (out of commerce books) and still under copyright. From now on, Google will only be able to digitize and exploit works with the agreement of the French publishers concerned.

This initiative constitutes a step forward in the spread of the e-book and the diversity of creation, as well as the respect of copyright.

CEPIC welcomes the initiative, but questions the use of images in the books in question. Out of print books include numerous images which are still under copyright and should give way to a new reproduction  right in case of reprint of the book. Does this initiative include a diligent search on protected photographic material or will all pictures be treated as orphan works, or constitute a new kind of “DR”? The implementation of the agreement should therefore be closely monitored.