Resistance stiff outside the Anglosphere: Governments of France and Germany taking a stand

Resistance stiff outside the Anglosphere: Governments of France and Germany taking a stand

The Tokyo Shimbun, September 28, 2009.

Résumé en anglais

The copyright lawsuits against the US Internet giant Google created a stir beyond the Atlantic. Opposition is mounting in non-anglophone countries with some governments taking a legal stand. The Federal District Court of New York, reviewing the settlement proposal, delayed the hearing originally planned for October 7.  

Dr. Jean-Noël Jeanneney, the author of Quand Google défie l'Europe : Plaidoyer pour un sursaut (Japanese translation available from Iwanami Shoten) and the former President of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, was invited to Japan by the National Diet Library, giving a lecture at its Tokyo Main Library on September 15.

Dr. Jeanneney criticized the attitude of Google. “Although digitization is vitally important, Google arrogantly pressed on with the digitization project without agreements from the authors.”  He was also apprehensive about cultural monopoly by Google. “They seemingly offer diversity, but no, that’s wrong. The future of cultures should never be entrusted to a private corporation which lives off advertising. They will cut out things that require long-term vision to protect.”

According to Dr. Jeanneney, resistance to the settlement proposal is stiff in European countries such as France, Germany, Italy and Belgium. The United Kingdom, on the other hand, is taking a wait-and-see approach to the matter.

The governments of France and Germany submitted their opinions to the US Federal Court, making their opposition clear. The US Department of Justice expressed a view that it would like to see several modifications made in the proposed settlement, pointing out such unsettled issues as consideration for  foreign copyright holders. Faced with domestic and foreign concerns, the Federal District Court decided to postpone the hearing.