Revised Google Books Settlement Still Has Critics

    November 16, 2009

Another milestone in a significant legal dispute has passed; a revised version of the Google Books settlement was submitted to U.S. District Court late Friday.  It looks like the book-scanning clash isn’t nearly over, however, since some powerful groups still have qualms about Google’s proposed resolution.

Google tried to dial back both the scope of the agreement and the degree to which it would represent a be-all, end-all decree.  The settlement would now just cover books published in Australia, Canada, the U.K., and the U.S., and more of an effort would be made to find and pay the creators of so-called orphan works.

Also, Google promised that it would price its out-of-print books so that they’re in line with a competitive market, and repeated an older pledge to allow book retailers to sell online access.

But here’s what Peter Brantley, co-chair of the Open Book Alliance, had to say in a statement emailed to WebProNews.  "Our initial review of the new proposal tells us that Google and its partners are performing a sleight of hand; fundamentally, this settlement remains a set-piece designed to serve the private commercial interests of Google and its partners."

Brantley later continued, "By performing surgical nip and tuck, Google, [the Association of American Publishers], and [the Authors Guild] are attempting to distract people from their continued efforts to establish a monopoly over digital content access and distribution; usurp Congress’s role in setting copyright policy; lock writers into their unsought registry, stripping them of their individual contract rights; put library budgets and patron privacy at risk; and establish a dangerous precedent by abusing the class action process."

Jessica E. Vascellaro and Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg reported that the Department of Justice is unhappy, too.

This promises to stay interesting, then, or at least get interesting again following a lull.  The next hearing on the matter should be held sometime early next year.

Related Articles:

> (Another) New Google Books Deadline Set

> Google Books Gets A Little More Organized

> November 9th Target Set In Google Books Case