In a sign that the government has stepped up its antitrust investigation of a class-action settlement between Google and groups representing authors and publishers, the Justice Department (DOJ) has issued formal requests for information to several of the parties involved, reports the New York Times. DOJ has sent the requests to various parties, including Google, the Association of American Publishers (AAP), the Authors Guild, and individual publishers, said Michael J. Boni, a lawyer for the Authors Guild. "They are asking for a lot of information," Boni said. "It signals that they are serious about the antitrust implications of the settlement." DOJ began its inquiry into the sweeping $125 million settlement this year after various parties complained that it would give Google exclusive rights to profit from millions of out-of-print books that are still protected by copyrights. The complex settlement agreement, which is subject to review by a federal court, was aimed at resolving a lawsuit filed in 2005 by the Authors Guild and the AAP, claiming that Google’s practice of scanning copyrighted books from major academic and research libraries for use in its Book Search service violated the books’ copyrights…

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