BRUSSELS — The European Commission said Thursday it does not object to Google digitizing 160,000 books in the archives of the National Library of the Netherlands if they will be made publicly available.
EU spokesman Jonathan Todd said the EU executive welcomed the digitization of materials from public libraries provided "they are made available to European citizens" and meet EU copyright and competition laws.
Google said Wednesday it will scan more than 160,000 public domain books in the Dutch National Library and make them available through Google Books.
The out-of-copyright works from the 18th and 19th centuries will also be accessed through the library's website and Europeana, the online showcase for European culture.
Google has similar deals with Italy's cultural heritage ministry and Austria's National Library.
The company set out in 2004 to digitalize all the books in the world but has run into legal battles. It has made digital copies of more than 12 million books so far but they aren't all publicly available because of a dispute over out-of-print books still protected by copyrights.
Google awaits a U.S. federal judge's ruling on a proposed settlement over digital rights to the out-of-print books. The U.S. Department of Justice, consumer watchdog groups and Google rivals fear Google may get too much power in the digital book market.