The Google Books Saga Continues

Last Friday, the Department of Justice said that the current deal between Google and authors and publishers should not go forward, at least not the way it stands now.  The DOJ, in a letter to US District Court Judge Denny Chin who will preside over the hearing originally scheduled for October 7 said “The breadth of the proposed settlement — especially the forward-looking business arrangements it seeks to create — raises significant legal concerns”.  Although it would be a boon to the world, as Google claims, to unlock the access to millions of books that might otherwise never be seen, the many opponents to the settlement object to the idea that Google would be the de facto owner, gatekeeper, and price-setter for all of them. The DOJ pointed out that such far-reaching changes are typically accomplished through legislation, not private lawsuits. “The central difficulty that the proposed settlement seeks to overcome — the inaccessibility of many works due to the lack of clarity about copyright ownership and copyright status — is a matter of public, not merely private, concern,” the government wrote.

Then, this week, the New York court which is hearing the case ordered that the case be postponed  after  Google, the Authors Guild, and the Association of American Publishers requested a delay in the  “fairness hearing” scheduled for Oct. 7 so that they can amend it. Instead, a “status conference” will be held on that date to determine “how to proceed with the case as expeditiously as possible”.  At about the same time, a French court adjourned their own authors and publishers’ case against Google until December.


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