Sarkozy To Throw Another Billion At Digitizing Books

from the and-he-could-have-let-Google-do-it-for-free... dept

As a few folks sent in, Nicolas Sarkozy has pledged to spend approximately $1.1 billion scanning books. Does this sound familiar? It should. Five years ago, French officials freaked out about Google scanning all those books, and declared they were going to spend $2.5 billion on its own project, called Quaero. And what happened? Well, it turned into a huge boondoggle with a bunch of companies claiming the money, but nothing of substance ever coming from the project, which has now been mostly abandoned.

So, now we’ve got Sarkozy — defender and mass infringer of copyrights — who recently warned that Google’s book scanning project was somehow a threat to French culture. So, now he’s going to spend $1.1 billion more on a project that we hope will be at least marginally more well defined than Quaero. In the meantime, France’s national library is apparently all set to have Google scan its collection of books. Seems easier. In fact, the report notes that the $1.1 billion will go to private companies to scan books, and it’s entirely possible that Google could be one of those companies. After all, it’s pretty good at book scanning.

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