He said Congress also could address the concerns of the international community of authors and publishers. He called it significant that foreign authors, publishers, and even nations were saying the agreement violates international law.

France and Germany had objected to the deal, along with authors and publishers in Austria, Belgium, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

College technologists said while Chin’s ruling could be a setback for digital publishing, campus IT chiefs would find new ways to share educational resources among institutions.

“Putting commercial considerations aside, eventually we need to come to terms with distribution of most all educational content, including books, online,” said Raymond Schroeder, director of the University of Illinois at Springfield’s Center for Online Learning, Research, and Services. “Increasingly, open educational resources are moving ahead in education. Those who cannot come to terms with some sort of program will be left in the digital dust.”

Schroeder said colleges and universities who see Chin’s ruling as a rejection of online textbook resources should reconsider before they fall behind peer schools.

“Their books will be replaced inevitably by newer, openly-available texts,” he said. “Whether it is Google’s plan or something else that will follow in the coming months, the momentum of online access to free or inexpensive resources will not be stopped.”

Department of Justice spokeswoman Gina Talamona said in a statement that the government was pleased with the ruling. The settlement, she said, “exceeded the scope of the underlying lawsuit on which it was based and created concerns regarding antitrust, class certification, and copyright issues.”

The president of the Authors Guild, an advocate for writers’ interests in copyright protection and other issues, said the organization planned to talk with publishers and Google “with the hope that we can arrive at a settlement within the court’s parameters that makes sense for all parties.”


Add your opinion to the discussion.