Thu, Aug 04, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Google apps agreement a step closer: Taipei official

Staff Writer, with CNA

An agreement between Google Inc and the Taipei City Government over the city’s demands that the Internet giant offer a seven-day trial period for smartphone apps purchased online is a step closer after a meeting yesterday, a city government official said.

Yeh Ching-yuan (葉慶元), director of the city government’s Law and Regulation Commission, described the atmosphere at the talks as amicable.

“The stances of both sides have softened and misunderstandings have been cleared up,” he said.

The city government has scheduled a meeting with digital content providers and Google on Friday for a full discussion of the rights of all the parties involved, Yeh said.

He said the previous week he had met with four business associations — the Chinese Comic Publishers Association, the Taiwan Digital Publishing Forum, the Magazine Businesses Association of Taipei and the Association of Taipei Publishers — on purchases of digital content over the Internet.

He said if providers could give consumers a reasonable opportunity for a free trial, it might not legally be considered to be a product purchased over the Internet and therefore not subject to the seven-day refund mechanism mandated by the Consumer Protection Act (消費者保護法).

“That way, the impact would be smaller,” Yeh said.

The four associations held a press conference late last month in which they said that if the seven-day refund mechanism is applied to purchases of digital books, movies, music and games, as well as smartphone apps, the operating risks for digital content providers would be greatly increased.

Yesterday’s turnaround came after more than a month of negotiations between the city government and Google in which government officials have maintained that, according to the law, the world’s top search engine must provide a seven-day refund mechanism for its apps.

The city slapped Google with a NT$1 million (US$34,600) fine for breaching the terms of the act on June 27 and Google suspended its paid app offerings on its Android Market in Taiwan on the same day.

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