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Google copyright dispute put on hold

Google Books halted a scheduled negotiation over alleged copyright violations with China's copyright society in Beijing yesterday, leaving a formal apology hanging in air. 

Google Books' top negotiator in China, Erik Hartmann, called his counterpart, Zhang Hongbo, deputy director of China Written Works Copyright Society (CWWCS), at about 10 am and said Google wanted to postpone the negotiation scheduled for 2 pm that day. 

"He (Erik) was friendly, but did not explain the exact reason, and we are discussing when to restart the negotiation," Zhang told China Daily. 

Google Books was accused of scanning 18,000 books by 570 Chinese writers without paying or notifying the authors. It plans to set up a digital library. 

Google Books supplied a list to the CWWCS of more than 80,000 Chinese works in late December, but Chinese representatives claimed it was incomplete as it did not include books published before 1987. 

The Chinese Writers' Association (CWA) published a reply from Google Books last week in which company officials said they are "ready to apologize to Chinese authors." (China Daily)