Law school intervenes in Google book-scanning settlement

A federal judge will allow New York Law School to argue that a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit about Google Book Search should be delayed pending further review, reports MediaPost Publications. The school’s Institute for Information Law & Policy intends to argue that federal antitrust authorities should weigh in on the case before the court decides whether to approve the settlement.
James Grimmelmann, the law school associate professor behind the initiative, said his main concern about the settlement stems from "orphan works" — material under copyright, but whose owners can’t be found. The agreement between Google, the Authors Guild, and the Association of American Publishers would allow Google to digitize and sell such works — which offers both benefits and disadvantages, Grimmelmann said. Currently, anyone who reprints orphan works could face copyright infringement liability, which has resulted in many books remaining out of print. "The settlement is an improvement in the status quo, because these books are unavailable to the public and not making money for anyone," Grimmelmann said. But the downside is that Google would become the sole company able to publish such books without facing potential copyright lawsuits — which could raise antitrust issues…

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