by Mike Masnick

Google Book Scan Plan A Threat To French Culture?

from the er...-scan-your-own-damn-books dept

The French government always seems to have a problem with the fact that us uncultured Americans use the internet. Years ago, they had to come out with a special French list of internet terms, out of a fear that French people would start using American terms to refer to things online (oh, the horror!). Now, it appears that the head of France's national library is quite upset about Google's plans to scan a large volume of books from various libraries. The fear is that Google, being an American company, will focus mainly on English-language books and American interpretations on events. The obvious answer to this, of course, is to tell him to go scan his own books. Why should he worry what Google is doing? If he's afraid that the books they scan aren't the books he wants, then he should organize an effort to solve that problem by getting the books he wants scanned himself.

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  • identicon
    dave, 22 Feb 2005 @ 1:11pm

    Books online

    France's national library has been digitizing books and putting them online since before Google existed....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DV Henkel-Wallace, 22 Feb 2005 @ 1:25pm

    The french are just different

    Since M. Jeanneney has announced a plan to scan the French press (newspapers etc) I suspect his editorial was actually a publicity play for his work.
    I am actually surprised to the extent that French people use specifically French terms for computer things in everyday conversation, given that (for example) the Germans just use English for computer terms as if they were ordinary German words. As I heard a Brazilian explain to me once, using English programming keywords and the like is no more culturally threatening (to him) that using Italian when talking about Music.
    However be that as it may: there are a lot of specific laws in France around books. For example bookshops are forbidden to discount, as a way of protecting small shops (FNAC gets around it by having a "frequent shopper" card). The "droit d'auteur" can make it impossible to scan something without the permission of the author (or his/her heirs), which oddly enough doesn't apply (yet) in the Anglo-Saxon world.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael Zimmer, 22 Feb 2005 @ 2:41pm

    There's more at play here...

    While its easy to poke fun at what appears to be yet another Internet-related French identity crisis, there are large issues at play here, including the hegemony of the West in general, and the United States in particular, in the creation & distribution of content on the Internet, the pervasiveness of Google, and the general implications of the Googlization of more and more of the world's information. More here

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
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