3 Count: French Toast

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1: Fine for Google Over French Books

First off today, Google has suffered a setback with its Google Book Search project as a court in France has ordered Google to pay 300,000 euros (approx $430,000) to French publisher La Martiniere for the digitization of the company’s books without permission and including them in the new search engine.

A recently revised draft of the Google Book Search settlement in the U.S., which is between Google, the Author’s guild and publishers, has exempted foreign works, such as La Martiniere’s, from the deal if they were not published in the U.S. The deal would, in theory, allow Google to scan, display and sell copies of in-copyright but out of print works in exchange for a portion of the revenues going to authors and publishers.

The French Court, however, has found Google to be infringing and has also the company to pay 10,000 euros (approx $14,000) per day until it removes the works from its database.

It is unclear whether or not Google will appeal.

2: This Was Not the Decision Lucas Was Looking For

Next up today, George Lucas has suffered yet another legal setback as an appeals court in the UK turned down his bid to enforce a $20 million judgement he won in the U.S. against UK citizen Andrew Ainsworth, the designer of the stormtrooper costume in the Star Wars movie series.

Lucas and Ainsworth have been locked in a heated copyright dispute over replicas that Ainsworth has sold of the helmet and outfit worn by the stormtroopers in the original movies. Lucas won a $20 million judgment in the U.S. but was unable to get a British court to enforce it saying that Ainsworth’s sales were not significant enough to place him under U.S. jurisdiction. The court also rejected a copyright claim under UK law claiming that, according to their code, the uniform was not copyrightable.

But with the appeals court rejection of the the case, Lucas is limited to either appealing the case again or leaving it be, possibly bringing this case to an abrupt end.

3: Chinese E-publisher Plans Baidu Copyright Lawsuit

Finally today, Chinese search engine Baidu may soon again find itself on the wrong end of a copyright lawsuit as a Chinese e-publisher, has announced plans to sue for infringement of at least five of its works that have been made available on the site for illegal download.

The publisher, Shanda Literature, claims that Baidu’s forums are a “disaster zone” for copyright infringement and that at least one of its works appeared illegally in the forums within thirty minutes of going online.

Baidu did not comment on the story but has been the focus of many copyright issues both within China and internationally, many over its MP3 download service that is roundly criticized by record labels.


That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.

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