Judge delays Google book ruling

Google's book deal is promising, but antitrust concerns remain, says the DOJ.
Google's book deal is promising, but antitrust concerns remain, says the DOJ.

As educators and researchers await a landmark decision with enormous implications for schools and colleges, a Manhattan judge says it will take some time to decide whether Google can legally build the world’s biggest digital library.

Google’s effort to create the world’s largest library by scanning millions of books for use on the internet faces a courtroom fight as authors, foreign governments, corporate rivals, and even the U.S. Department of Justice line up to challenge it.

Judge Denny Chin heard oral arguments on Feb. 18 and said he already had read more than 500 written submissions about Google’s $125 million deal with authors and publishers, which was aimed at ending a pair of 2005 lawsuits and clearing legal obstacles to a gigantic online home for digital books. (See “Google rebuts DOJ objections to digital book deal.”)…Read More

Google rebuts DOJ objections to digital book deal

Google is taking on the DOJ in defending its book-scanning settlement.
Google is taking on the DOJ in defending its book-scanning settlement.

Google Inc. wants the digital rights to millions of books badly enough that it’s willing to take on the U.S. Department of Justice in a court battle over whether the internet search leader’s book-scanning ambitions would break antitrust and copyright laws—a battle with important implications for students, teachers, scholars, and researchers.

The stage for the showdown was set Feb. 11 with a Google court filing that defended the $125 million settlement of a class-action lawsuit the company reached with U.S. authors and publishers more than 14 months ago.

Google’s 67-page filing includes a rebuttal to the Justice Department’s belief that the settlement would thwart competition in the book market and undermine copyright law. The brief also tries to overcome a chorus of criticism from several of its rivals, watchdog groups, state governments, and even some foreign governments.…Read More

Professors file petition against Google Books settlement

From UC Berkeley to Cornell, more than 80 professors have signed a petition against a pending settlement agreement between Google Inc. and authors and publishers, reports the Daily Californian. The petition calls into question provisions within the settlement that its signers say will give Google a “de facto monopoly” over books scanned in a digital library project. According to the petition, co-written by Pamela Samuelson, a UC Berkeley professor of law and information, two of the main concerns that professors have with the settlement are the amount of compensation authors will receive for the past scanning of books, and insufficient privacy protections. Jan. 28 is the last day for authors to reject the terms of the settlement, as well as to file objections to the settlement for the presiding judge to review. In a Jan. 27 campus memo in response to Samuelson’s petition, UC Berkeley professor of economics, business, and information Hal Varian said he sees the benefits the settlement would bring. “The agreement is not perfect, but I believe it to be a huge improvement over the status quo for authors, publishers, scholars, and the general public,” Varian said in the memo. “In my view, it deserves the enthusiastic support of all Berkeley faculty.”

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