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Major publishers accused Google Thursday of "brutally" exploiting France's literary heritage as they launched a court challenge to the Internet giant's drive to scan digital copies of books and put extracts online.

Publishing house La Martiniere, the French Publishers' Association and authors' group SGDL asked a Paris court to fine Google 15 million euros ($22.09 million) and 100,000 euros for each day it continues to violate copyright by digitizing their books.

The trial caps a three-year challenge to what publishers say is the web giant's 2005 plan to create a massive online library without prior approval.

"It's an anarchic way of brutally stockpiling French heritage," Yann Colin, the publishers' lawyer, told the court.

"Digitizing is reproduction," he added. "Once it is digitized, you can't undo it."

Colin argued that the case, which targets Google's French unit, should be tried under local law as the publishers, scanned works and authors were French.

The publishers also argue that Google's massive profits are "parasitic," as they were generated from sponsored links which are presented to web surfers searching for copyrighted books.


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