Judge sets deadline for new Google book deal

Cavanaugh asked that the judge give the government a week to 10 days after any deadline for objections to be submitted for the Justice Department to prepare its analysis of the new deal.

At one point, Chin asked what will happen if negotiations break down and no deal is reached.

Google lawyer Daralyn Durie reassured the judge, saying: “The parties’ expectation is we will be able to reach agreement.”

Chin did not set deadlines for when objections will be required to be submitted but said he expected he will allow objections only to any new provisions, because core features of the agreement are expected to remain intact.

“Everyone has a pretty good idea what’s on the table,” he said. “Targeting the changes, I think, is the right way to do it.”

The judge received nearly 400 submissions about the original deal, many of them expressing disapproval.

After the Justice Department said the orginal deal probably would have violated antitrust law, plaintiffs–which include the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers–began renegotiating with Google.

In its current form, the settlement would entrust Google with a digital database containing millions of copyright-protected books, including volumes no longer being published. The internet search leader would act as the sales agent for the authors and publishers, giving 63 percent of the revenue to the copyright holders.

Authors and publishers could either set their own prices for their books, or rely on a formula drawn up by Google–a provision that has raised fears of the partnership turning into a price-gouging cartel.