Google’s Book Settlement Has Many Critics in the US and EU

09 September 2009 Internet, IT & e-Discovery Blog Blog
Authors: Peter Vogel

No surprise that dozens of filings were made in opposition to the proposed settlement of the lawsuit between the Google and the Authors Guild and Association of American Publishers which was filed in “2005 by the authors and publishers against Google over its plan to digitize millions of books from libraries without authorization from rights holders.” Although Google has received the support of Sony, civil rights groups, and antitrust experts, there were notable opponents to the settlement including “individuals, rival companies like Amazon and Microsoft, advocacy organizations, groups representing authors and publishers and even some foreign governments.”

EU Opposition of Google’s Settlement

Many voices in the EU complained at a hearing that the proposed settlement would give Google more power to exclusive rights to sell million of out-of-print works even though the copyrights are still valid. Not much of a surprise that Microsoft is backing the anti-Google settlement groups in the EU. Many groups in the EU feel that since they did not participate in the settlement that they were discriminated against.

What’s Next in the Lawsuit?

Federal District Judge Denny Chin must now sort through the filings to try to determine if the proposed settlement properly protects the authors, or else the case may continue on to trial. Among other issues for Judge Chin to consider are antitrust concerns that Google’s control over these works would give Google too much market power. There are many antitrust issues on the horizon for Google it seems with many opponents, not just with books but more broadly in the entire space known as eCommerce. Stay tuned as we see Google and eCommerce evolve.

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