French project intends to fund digitization of half a million out of print books from 20th century

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French project intends to fund digitization of half a million out of print books from 20th century

Mar 06 2012

A plan to digitize half a million "unavailable" books from the 20th century is drawing fire from authors - 900 of whom have signed a petition saying the scheme is an abuse of their intellectual property rights. Authors have the option to opt out of the program within six months.

The project, which is receiving initial government funding to the tune of 30 million Euros (in return for 40% of royalties), guarantees that at least 50 percent of royalties will go to publishers and authors. The scheme is interesting in part as it comes in the wake of the French government's opposition to Google's plans to digitize French books last year.

Note: Some articles on this topic will reference people being upset that the French government is being snobbish about the choice of books to be digitized. Although this may turn out to be the case in time, the initial furor appears to be over a simple mis-translation of the French word indisponsibles as indispensable, whereas the translation is closer to unavailable. What the French would call a faux amis - a false friend - a pair of words or prhases that look the same in two languages but differ in meaning.

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