In response to the rallying opposition to the Google Book Search settlement, a federal judge in New York has extended the opt-out deadline, giving authors an additional four months to consider Google’s terms.
As if that weren’t enough, the U.S. Justice Department has also opened an antitrust investigation into Google’s actions. Mobylives reports:
The probe seems to be focussed on the fact that, as a Reuters wire story reports, the settlement would allow Google “ and only Google “ to digitize so-called orphan works and sell access to them. Orphan works are books that are out of print, but still in copyright. (Reuters is not correct when it indicates that it is unclear who owns copyrights in this situation “ often, ownership is clear, as we here at Melville House can attest about several books we’ve brought back into print that are available now through Google Books.)
There are legitimate antitrust issues related to Google’s ability to solely commercialize this content, commented Peter Brantley of the Internet Archive. IA also digitizes books, and Brantley said his organization had ˜multiple conversations’ with the Justice Department about the Google plan, according to Reuters.