A copyright group on Wednesday accused Internet giant Google of scanning Chinese books for its online library without authorization, in the latest criticism hurled at the controversial project.
The China Written Works Copyright Society said its data showed at least 17,922 books had been scanned and included in Google Books, the Internet giant's project to digitize millions of books and post them online.
"Google has violated a widely-accepted international copyright rule that any scanning, collecting and using of protected works should obtain permission and pay a fee before usage," society deputy general-director Zhang Hongbo said.
The society is a body tasked by the government with collecting information on copyrights involving written materials.
Zhang said the books involved the works of at least 570 Chinese writers, including government officials and prominent academics.
"None of the writers we contacted said he or she received any notice from Google for the usage of their works," Zhang said, adding they had not been paid either.
He said it was hard to estimate damages so far because new complaints from writers and publishers were coming in "every day."
Zhang said his group would ask Google to acknowledge the infringement of Chinese copyrights and seek a negotiated solution, but he did not rule out a lawsuit.
Officials at Google China were not immediately available for comment.