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A few days ago Google signed an agreement with the publisher Hachette Livre under which tens of thousands of French-language books will be pulled out of ink-on-paper purgatory and provided with a digital afterlife.
Hachette and Google reached a preliminary deal last year, but it was overshadowed by a far broader agreement between Google and U.S. authors and publishers that would have settled longstanding litigation. Like the deal with Hachette, the U.S. agreement involved books that were out of print but still protected by copyright, a category that accounts for the vast majority of the world’s books.