Google continues to digitize everything from the view from the driver's seat to the contents of your appointment book, their tremendous attempt at digitizing the written word, Google Books, has run into a snag in the most ironic of places - China. While the country is infamous for copyright infringement, especially of intellectual property, it too is working to prevent the unfair use of its citizen's copyrighted works.While
Bloomberg reported this morning that Google "has agreed to meet demands from a local writers' group that it stop scanning and uploading books to the company's online library without authors' permission."
The company found itself in a Chinese court last month facing allegations of copyright infringement by Chinese author Mian Mian, whose book can still be seen in preview on the Google service.
This certainly isn't the first time Google has run into complaints over its practices with the project. Last month, the company was convicted of violating France's copyright laws. A Globe and Mail report on Google's practices stated that over 80% of the French books offered were still under copyright. The company has also faced criticism in Germany over its Google Books service, where today the German minister of Justice warned that the company may be reaching monopoly status, requiring government intervention.
The Bloomberg article notes that in China, Google trails behind the search engineBaidu. This is in a country with more Internet users than the entire population of the United States. But is the problem of supposed copyright infringement a public relations issue in a country where the average consumer sees counterfeit products in nearly every storefront window? While we stand on the side of writers getting paid for their work, we're not sure this issue would really stand in the way of Google gaining popularity in China.