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Google Sued by French Publishers for $14 Million Over Books

Google Inc. was sued for 9.8 million euros ($14 million) by three French publishers who said the search-engine company scanned books without permission.

Editions Albin Michel SA, Editions Gallimard SA and Flammarion claimed Google has scanned 9,797 copyright-protected works for its digital library. The publishers are seeking compensation of 10,000 euros per book, Google said today.

“We have been working with French publishers for some time to find ways to increase audiences and revenue opportunities for publishers, authors and booksellers,” Google said in an e-mailed statement. Google, based in Mountain View, California, said it believes the Google Books project complies with French law and international copyright rules.

Google reached an agreement six months ago with Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Livre publishing to allow the scanning of out-of-print French books. A Paris court said in December 2009 that Google’s book project had violated French copyrights and ordered the company to stop scanning works without permission. The company has appealed.

Calls to the publishers for comment on the suit weren’t immediately returned.

Trade publication Livres Hebdo reported the claim earlier today on its website.

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