Google French fine could be increased, claims lawyer

<p>Google could be fined considerably more on appeal than the &euro;300,000 (&pound;267,000) in damages it has been ordered to pay the La Martini&egrave;re group for digitising copyrighted books without permission, according to La Martini&egrave;re&#39;s lawyer Yann Colin.</p><p>Last Friday&#39;s &quot;ruling concerned only 300 titles, whereas we estimate that Google has digitised at least 4,000 to 5,000, and maybe as many as 100,000 for France as a whole,&quot; Colin told <em>The Bookseller</em>. However, he added: &quot;No one knows exactly how many titles are involved-not even Google knows.&quot;</p><p>Google France confirmed Monday (21st) that the group would appeal the ruling, which covered &quot;only some works of the La Martini&egrave;re group&quot;. But if upheld, it would &quot;deprive French internet users of access to some of the French literary heritage, [and] publishers of an opportunity to promote their titles and develop their sales&quot;.</p><p>Google has three months to lodge its appeal, since the parent company Google Inc. is the defendant. Meanwhile, Google France will have to pay &euro;10,000 a day if it fails to comply with the court ruling within a month.</p><p>The French court considered that French law applied, despite Google&#39;s demand that the case be heard in the United States since that is where the books were digitised.</p><p>Commenting on the ruling, La Martini&egrave;re chairman and chief executive Herv&eacute; La Martini&egrave;re said that it should bring Google to the negotiating table to seek a global settlement with French publishers.</p><p>&quot;I would prefer to forgo the &euro;10,000 and to reach an agreement with Google,&quot; he said. &quot;There is no reason why we should not come to an understanding one way or another with Google, [which is] a respectable company.&quot;</p>Although the publisher had demanded &euro;15m initially, La Martini&egrave;re said that victory on the substance of the case mattered more than the cash. It was out of the question for Google to digitise its books, he added. Already, Eden-Livres, La Martini&egrave;re&#39;s joint venture with Gallimard and Flammarion, has digitised 1,000 titles since March and should process another 4,000 by the end of 2010, he was reported as saying.</p>