Court Rejects Google’s Deal to Rule Book World
Google has a bit more work to do before it rules the digital
U.S. Circuit Court judge Denny Chin has struck down a $125 million
settlement the company had reached with the Authors Guild, the Association
of American Publishers and others over concerns it “would grant Google
significant rights to exploit entire books, without permission of copyright
give it a “significant
advantage over competitors, rewarding it for engaging in wholesale copying
of copyrighted works without permission.”
As widely reported, the deal
had a long list of opponents, including Amazon, Microsoft, Yahoo! as well as
the U.S., French and German governments.
The Justice Department, Reuters reported,
was concerned about rights granted to Google for so-called “orphan works.” The
deal gave Google the right to market works where copyrights were in place but
the holder could not be found.
As part of the settlement with the authors and
publishing groups, Bloomberg
News reported, Google would publish “orphan works” and include
links to various other sites such as Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble for
“This is clearly disappointing, but we’ll review the court’s decision
and consider our options,” said Hilary Ware, managing counsel for Google,
in an emailed statement. “Like many others, we believe this agreement
has the potential to open up access to millions of books that are currently
hard to find in the U.S. today.”
The New York Times reported that Google has already digitized around
15 million books whose copyright protection has expired.
Paul Aiken, executive
director of the Authors Guild, told the Times that
it was not clear what would happen next. “The judge did expressly leave
the door open for a revised settlement,” he said.
- Google’s $125 Million Digital Library Accord Rejected by Judge – Bloomberg
- Judge slaps down Google’s digital library settlement – Reuters
- Judge Rejects Google’s Deal to Digitize Books – The New York Times
Discussion Questions: Do you agree with Judge Chin’s decision striking down Google’s deal to digitize millions of “orphan works” book titles? What do you think is likely to happen next and what will it mean for others competing with Google in the digital book space?