For the past six years, Google has been embroiled in a debilitating dispute over digitisation with French book publishers and authors. French authors and publishers sued Google for copyright violations back in 2006.
Also, U.S. authors and publishers also sued. Although Gooogle reached an agreement with the American Author's Guild and Association of American Publishers in 2008, a U.S. District court in New York last year rejected the agreement.
Today, Google gets a relief in France, as both the French Publishers Association (Syndicat national de l'édition) and the French Author's Association (Société des gens de lettres) have withdrawn their suits.
In a blog entry announcing the path-breaking agreements that end Google's legal battles in France, Philippe Colombet, Strategic Partner Development Manager of Google Books France, stated, "this agreement represents an extension of our larger engagement with French culture. Over the past two years, we have signed agreements with several French collecting societies representing musicians, screenwriters and other creators. Our international culture center is based in Paris."
"We are taking other measures as well to support French publishing. As part of this agreement, we'll sponsor publishers' new Young Reading Champions Program, aimed at promoting the pleasures of reading among young people. Even before, we supported the publishing laboratory - le Labo de l'édition - which helped publishing startups and traditional partners test digital technologies."
"In this win-win solution, publishers and authors retain control over the commercial use of their books - while at the same time, opening a practical path to bring to a wide audience our decade-long efforts to digitize books." he said. "We remain hopeful to reach a solution in the US allowing us to make the world's books searchable and discoverable online," he said.
In other Google legal tangle, Google's Street View which was under scrutiny in much of Europe, where privacy groups worry that the service is violating the rights of citizens by collecting images without permission.
A Swiss Federal Tribunal today ruled that the company won't need to guarantee 100 percent accuracy when blurring out the faces of individuals who appear in Street View images.
The ruling overturns a previous decree which required all images be anonymized throughout the service. "It must be accepted that up to a maximum of 1 percent of the images uploaded are insufficiently anonymized," the Tribunal was quoted as saying.
In addition to forcing the blurring of faces, some countries have placed restrictions on the height of the Street View cameras.