Berlin plans response to Google Books project

The German government has agreed to a plan to save digital copies of over 30,000 works from German cultural and scientific organizations in an online library. It’s seen as a response to Google’s Book Search project. The German Cabinet agreed Wednesday to a plan that would fund the digitization of books, pictures, sculptures, notes, music and films and make them available on the Internet. The project, called the German Digital Library (DDB), would go online in 2011 and play a major role in the preservation of Germany’s cultural identity, Culture Minister Bernd Neumann said. Initial funding of EUR 5m as well as annual costs of EUR 2.6m will come from a German economic bail-out program and be split by the federal and state governments. The German project is a response to the Google Book Search program, which the German government opposed, saying it lacked sufficient protections for copyright holders. The German project would first seek copyright holders’ approval before digitizing a work, rather than following Google’s strategy of allowing copyright holders to have their works removed from the database after being digitized. The online library would also be publicly funded and without commercial interests, Neumann added. The DDB would also be linked to Europeana, a similar project being undertaken by the European Union,,4964982,00.html


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