The German authorities want to ensure that their artists will not be penalized by the agreement signed between Google and two of the main entities representing copyright in the United States last year.
The agreement is being analyzed by the Department of Justice, which, following some complaints, decided to investigate the possible damaging impacts on competition of the agreement, which created conditions for Google to take to the service of digitizing books and accessing free online publications, that although still protected by copyright, have already left the store shelves.
Since the investigation began, dissenting voices have continued to emerge and a kind of pressure movement has already been created where there are big names like Microsoft, Yahoo or Amazon.
Germany now comes to say that, at the date of the agreement, the entities that manage copyright in the country were not heard and therefore did not have the opportunity to comment on whether or not they were in agreement in relation to the end of restrictions on the online availability of books not accessible on traditional channels.
A head of the Commercial and Economic Law Directorate at the Ministry of Justice ensures that Google’s plans violate German copyright laws regarding the copying, editing and digital dissemination of protected content.
The agreement signed in the United States, says the agency’s director-general, quoted by the international press, may «create a new world regime on copyright in which some of the affected parties did not participate». This if the American investigation into the case finds no illegality or infringement, it is understood.
At stake is the agreement reached last year with the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers that threatened Google with a lawsuit for considering that the project offended copyright, but ended up reaching an agreement with the company, which paid 125 millions of dollars to cover possible damages before the agreement and to implement a compensation system that guarantees to the copyright holders part of the revenue obtained from the bonds.
The dissenting voices have several tones to do so. From the expected concentration of the offer that the service will create, to the impacts that this may have on publishers, who fear being excessively in the hands of Google to set prices for books that are digitized at their expense.
The final hearing with the US Department of Justice on the case is scheduled for October 7.
Remember that German publishers have been one of the most active voices in Europe against Google Books. It was in fact in the country that the Heidelberg Manifesto was born, which brought together 1,300 personalities.