China author set to sue Google over web book scan: lawyer

Chinese author Mian Mian, who shot to fame with lurid tales of sex, drugs and alcohol in the underworld, will sue Internet giant Google this week for copyright infringement, her lawyer said Monday.

Sun Jingwei told AFP that the case -- the first civil lawsuit against Google in China over the scanning of books into its controversial web library -- would open at a Beijing court on Tuesday.

"Tomorrow afternoon at the Haidian court, representatives from both sides will hand over evidence," Sun said. "After that I will be preparing our case and I figure that the actual trial will take place next year."

The 39-year-old Mian Mian -- who won fame in 2000 with her novel "Candy," a story about prostitutes, gangsters and artists in the southern boomtown of Shenzhen -- is seeking 61,000 yuan (8,900 dollars) in damages.

She alleges that Google illegally scanned her third novel "Acid Lovers" into its digital library, Sun said.

Mian Mian's books have been translated into many languages but are largely banned in China, although they were widely available on the black market in the years following the publication of "Candy."

According to the China Written Works Copyright Society, tens of thousands of books by hundreds of Chinese authors have been added to Google Books, the US Internet giant's project to digitise millions of books and post them online.

Representatives of the society have said that talks with Google on the issue were "progressing well," the state-run Global Times newspaper reported Monday.

"First we want Google to admit their mistake and apologise, then we can talk about compensation," the paper quoted the society's deputy director-general Zhang Hongbo as saying.

"At the same time, we don't want Google to give up China in its digitised library project."

Google China was not immediately available to comment.

The All China Writers' Association has supported Mian Mian and called on the Internet giant to respect the rights of writers, the China Youth Daily reported.

The Google Books project has also raised objections from authors and publishers in the United States, France, Germany and other countries.

Google reached a settlement with US authors and publishers last year over a copyright infringement suit filed in 2005.

Under the deal, Google agreed to pay 125 million dollars to resolve outstanding claims and establish an independent unit to provide revenue from sales and advertising to authors and publishers who agree to digitise their books.

Source: AFP

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