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Google settlement (finally) gets its day in court

The so-called “fairness hearing” to assess the legality of the much-debated Google Book Search settlement was supposed to have occurred one month ago in New York, but in the face of international opposition and an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, judge Denny Chin delayed the proceeding until today.

Though it’s too soon to know the outcome of that hearing, yesterday the Financial Times bravely jumped on the current newsgathering bandwagon by reporting what is expected to happen (reporting what has happened is so 2006):

Few expect fundamental changes to the overall structure of the class action settlement. This would allow Google to show segments of all published works whose authors have not opted out. It would also be able to sell digital copies, and hand 63 per cent of the proceeds to a new Book Rights Registry representing publishers and authors.

I assume it will be more a surgical type of change, without changing the core direction, said Peter Brantley, director of the Internet Archive, a rival book-scanning project.

Given the timing, it is inconceivable they would have made big changes, added Randall Picker, a law professor at the University of Chicago.

The FT article is reasonably cagey, and refrains from making any definitive statements, but it does suggest that one possible way to defuse the international opposition to the settlement would be to institute an “opt-in” clause for foreign publishers, which would require them to sign on before any of their titles could be included in Google’s digital library.

FT‘s measured suggestion did not prevent The Bookseller from running an article based on the FT report and sporting the headline, “Opt in for foreign publishers expected in revised Google Settlement.” Maybe they know something we don’t?


November 9th, 2009

3:21 pm

Category: Book news

Tagged with: Google settlement