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Google Apologizes to Chinese Writers

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Chinese Writers Association (CWA) said on Sunday it had received an apology from Google in the form of a written document.

Google admitted in the document which was forwarded to the CWA on Saturday that it had scanned books under Chinese copyright for its online library.

The act had caused dissatisfaction among Chinese writers, it said.

Google said through the recent talks it realized its communication with the Chinese writers was not good enough and would apologize for it.

Chinese books were an integral part of its book search service and would like to settle the dispute with Chinese writers through its negotiations with the China Written Works Copyright Society (CWWCS), the search engine said in the document,

Google also promised not to scan the books without authorization from Chinese writers.

The company planned to work out a settlement proposal and the framework of a agreement by March this year, the company said.

A formal agreement was expected to be reached by June, it added.

Yang Chengzhi, an official with CWA, said on Sunday that the association hoped the apology was sincere and the promise would be honored.

She said the CWA would not have direct talks with Google but would wait till satisfactory results come out.

In Oct. 2008, CWWCS officials revealed about 18,000 titles of books from 570 Chinese writers had been scanned by Google, with authors neither informed nor paid.

According to a list provided by Google at the end of 2009, its on-line library involves some 80,000 categories of Chinese books, ten percent of which were works of 2,600 members of the CWA.

The company was working on a complete list of the scanned Chinese books, according to the document.

It said the move was unprecedented and the company hoped the Chinese writers could feel its sincerity of settling the issue.

On November 18, the CWA issued a notice announcing its determination to defend the writers' copyright.

To date, three rounds of negotiations have been carried out between the CWWCS and the US company. The fourth round is due on January 12.

(Xinhua News Agency January 10, 2010)