[LINK] No to Google Library
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Wed Mar 23 14:23:43 EST 2011
"NY judge calls off plans for Google library
By LARRY NEUMEISTER Associated Press
Posted: 03/22/2011 01:19:41 PM MDT
Updated: 03/22/2011 06:25:55 PM MDT
NEW YORKA judge on Tuesday rejected a deal
between Internet search leader Google and the
book industry that would have put millions of
volumes online, citing anti-trust concerns and
the need for involvement from Congress while
acknowledging the potential benefit of putting
literature in front of the masses.
U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin in Manhattan said
the creation of a universal library would "simply
go too far," and he was troubled by the
differences between Google's views and those of
everyone affected by the settlement. Still, he
left the door open for an eventual deal, noting
that many objectors would drop their complaints
if Mountain View, Calif.-based Google Inc. set it
up so book owners would choose to join the
library rather than being required to quit it.
The $125 million settlement had drawn hundreds of
objections from Google rivals, consumer
watchdogs, academic experts, literary agents and
even foreign governments. Google already has
scanned more than 15 million books for the project.
Google's managing counsel, Hilary Ware, called
the decision disappointing and said the company was considering its options.
"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," Ware said in a statement.
She said that, regardless of the outcome, Google
would "continue to work to make more of the
world's books discoverable online" through Google
Books, a searchable index of literary works, and
Google eBooks, which allows readers to access
books wirelessly on digital devices.
The judge said the settlement that the company
reached with U.S. authors and publishers would
"grant Google significant rights to exploit
entire books, without permission of the copyright
owners." He was particularly critical of the
access Google would have to so-called orphan
worksout-of-print books whose writers could not
be locatedsaying the deal gave the company "a de
facto monopoly over unclaimed works."
That was one of the fears raised in 2009 by the
Department of Justice when it concluded that the
agreement probably violated antitrust law and
could decrease competition among U.S. publishers
and drive up prices for consumers.
The deal, the judge said, gives Google "a
significant advantage over competitors, rewarding
it for engaging in wholesale copying of copyrighted works without permission."
He noted that the case was not about full access
to copyrighted works or the sale of them because
Google did not scan the books to make them
available for purchase, but he said the deal
still would let Google sell full access to
copyrighted works that it otherwise would have no
right to exploit. The litigation focused on the
use of an indexing and search tool.
The judge said Congress should ultimately decide
who should be entrusted with guardianship over
orphan books and under what terms, rather than
the issue being resolved by private, self-interested parties.
He said Congress also could address the concerns
of the international community of authors and
publishers. He called it significant that foreign
authors, publishers and even nations were saying
the agreement violates international law. France
and Germany had objected to the deal, along with
authors and publishers in Austria, Belgium,
India, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Spain,
Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Department of Justice spokeswoman Gina Talamona
said in a statement that the government was
pleased with the ruling. The settlement, she
said, "exceeded the scope of the underlying
lawsuit on which it was based and created
concerns regarding antitrust, class certification and copyright issues."
The president of the Authors Guild, an advocate
for writers' interests in copyright protection
and other issues, said the organization planned
to talk with publishers and Google "with the hope
that we can arrive at a settlement within the
court's parameters that makes sense for all parties."
Guild President Scott Turow said the online
library was "an idea whose time has come."
"Readers want access to these unavailable works,
and authors need every market they can get," he
said. "There has to be a way to make this happen.
It's a top priority for the Authors Guild."
John Sargent, chief executive officer at
Macmillan Publishers Limited, noted in a
statement on behalf of publisher plaintiffs that
the judge had invited the parties to request
approval of a revised deal if they can reach one.
He said the publishers were prepared to modify
the deal and work to overcome the judge's objections.
He said the publishers wanted to "promote the
fundamental principle behind our lawsuit, that
copyrighted content cannot be used without the
permission of the owner or outside the law."
The Open Book Alliance, a group that includes
Google rivals Microsoft Corp., Yahoo Inc. and
Amazon.com Inc., called the ruling "a victory for
the public interest and for competition in the
literary and Internet ecosystems."
Attorney Cynthia Arato, representing a number of
leading foreign publishing societies and foreign
book publishers that objected to the settlement,
said it vindicates the important concerns of foreign rights holders.
"Their interests weren't adequately protected,"
she said. "It would be wrong for a U.S. court to
allow one company to usurp their fundamental
right to control their copyrighted works."
The judge acknowledged in his decision that there
are many benefits to Google's project, including
that libraries, schools, researchers and
disadvantaged populations would gain access to
far more books; that authors and publishers would
find new audiences and new sources of income; and
that older booksparticularly those out of
printwould be preserved and given new life.
The case developed after Google in 2004 announced
it had agreed with several major research
libraries to digitally copy books and other
writings in their collections. The authors and
publishers sought financial damages and a court
order to block the copying when they sued Google
in 2005 after Google failed to obtain copyright permission to scan the books.
A deal was first reached to settle the claims in
2008 and was tentatively approved by the judge in November 2009."
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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Our truest response to the irrationality of the
world is to paint or sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
~Madeline L'Engle, writer
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