French Publishers Sue Google Over Torn Pages

    October 31, 2006

The French Publishers Association (SNE) has joined a lawsuit targeting the Google Book Search service. The group’s objections stem from its interpretation of intellectual property laws. It also – this is not a joke – objects to the way in which Google depicts search results as “ragged-edged” pieces of paper.

A spokeswoman for La Martiniere Groupe, which instigated the legal proceedings, told Macworld that this “angers the French publishers because it portrays their work as just one step away from the trash can.”

“We know that Google is powerful, but they have to show some respect for books,” continued Tessa Destais.

The Web appears to be rolling its collective eyes in response. Philipp Lenssen made a post on Google Blogoscoped to say that “this argument is so embarrassing, you get the feeling Google is secretly paying these guys to say that . . . .” Ionut Alex. Chitu also weighed in, titling his article “(Some) French Book Publishers Are Crazy.”

French-bashing ensued in the “Comments” section, although I have yet to see the phrase “cheese-eating surrender monkeys.” To be fair, the SNE and La Martiniere are not the first publishers to sue over Google’s book-related endeavors. They are admittedly, though, the first to be offended by the Book Search graphics.

La Martiniere Groupe is pressing for $1.3 million in damages, and the SNE represents 400 French book publishers, but Google has yet to respond to this latest attack. I have a feeling that the company’s spokespeople are too busy laughing about it.


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Doug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest eBusiness news.