Google sued in China

2009-12-29 21:03

Beijing - A Chinese novelist is suing Google Inc over its project to scan books into its online library.

Mian Mian, a counterculture writer known for her lurid tales of sex, drugs and nightlife, filed suit in October after the US search giant scanned her latest book, Acid House, into its library.

The two sides were due in a Beijing court on Tuesday, said her lawyer, Sun Jingwei. He said the author wants damages of $8 950 and a public apology.

A Google spokesperson in Beijing, Marsha Wang, said the company removed Mian Mian's works from its library as soon as it learned of the lawsuit. Wang said Google had no further comment on the suit.

Google's ambitious effort to make printed works available online has faced opposition from writers in the United States, Europe and elsewhere.

In China, a government-affiliated group, the China Written Works Copyright Society, is calling on Google to negotiate compensation for Chinese authors whose work is scanned into its library.

Mian Mian, who lives in Shanghai, shot to fame in 2000 when she published the novel Candy, which caused a stir with its graphic depiction of heroin use. Most of her work is banned in China, though pirated copies are widely available.

Google, based in Mountain View, California, negotiated a $125 million settlement last year with American authors and publishers. It is waiting for final court approval after objections by US regulators and other companies that said it might hurt the growth of the electronic book market.

The Chinese writers' group said on Monday it has found more than 80 000 works by Chinese authors scanned into the library. The group said it would hold talks with Google in January on resolving the dispute.