German publishers set up rival to Google Print

A group of German publishers are coming together to create an alternative to Google Print. The association plans to create their own network of scanned books and other printed material which can be accessed and used by any search engine. The intention is that the publishers will retain copyright and control over the uses made of their material.

The German association is the latest development over the battle to digitise the world’s libraries. Ever since the search engine giant announced its intention to put the contents of many of the world’s greatest archives online, there has been a storm of controversy ranging from accusations of cultural imperialism to allegations of copyright theft.

The German publishers plan to set up a network of servers. Each publisher would scan their own books into the system and partial texts would be offered to each of the search engines – including Google.

The group says it already has around 100 publishers on board many of which make up the vast majority of German language book sales. The association is saying that it hopes to officially launch next spring.

Last week, Google announced that it would be setting up versions of Google Print in several European languages other than English.

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