The U.S. Justice Department advised a federal judge on Sept. 18 that a proposed legal settlement giving Google Inc. the digital rights to millions of out-of-print books threatens to thwart competition and drive up prices unless it's revised.

The brief filed in New York federal court marks the first time that the Justice Department has publicly shared its thoughts about Google's agreement with a large class of U.S. authors and publishers.

The nation's top law enforcement agency began looking at the Google book settlement earlier this summer amid a loudening outcry against the agreement, which affects a huge reservoir of human knowledge.


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