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EU fires 12 million pages at Google Books

At last, the 1953 Report on the Activities of the Community - in French

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The European Union has delivered a killer blow to Google's Book scanning powergrab by dumping two million pages of historic Euro documents onto the web.

Brussels has long been irked by Google's effort to scan the world's stock of the printer word, egged on sceptics like Angela Merkel. And the French.

It has thrown its backing behind efforts to do similar, but based on European technology and with a European twist on privacy and IP protection.

But it is undoubtedly the prospect of intellectuals worldwide plugging into 12 million pages of historic Eurobureauspeak, in 110,000 publications, that lay the foundations of the Euro culture Atlantic Wall against the Google Tide.

More recent documents, on the likes of as the ins and outs of the bolus-based tagging system for sheep or the Brussels edict on not eating your own horse, are already served up online.

But as the EU's release says, "The Publications Office's archives have long represented a veritable treasure trove of European history."

Wannabe Eurocrats will be able to thrill to "Publications such as the address delivered by Mr Jean Monnet, President of the High Authority before the Common Assembly at the first session of September 1952 or the General Report on the activities of the Community in French from 1953".

New publications will be added everyday, which in the words of Leonard Orban, Commissioner for multilingualism, means: “The digital library frees the memory of the European Union tied to paper since its beginning."

Of course, this will all be available in the 23 official languages of the Union. ®

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