[LINK] Google Book Hearing cancelled - Negotiations Continue
kim at holburn.net
Sat Sep 26 18:13:06 AEST 2009
> Judge Nixes Google Book Hearing as Negotiations Continue
> Google’s drive to create the online library and bookstore of the
> future is being delayed indefinitely after the judge overseeing a
> controversial settlement with the world’s authors and publishers
> over copyright issues postponed an upcoming hearing, citing
> opposition from the U.S. and foreign governments.
> Federal district court judge Denny Chin canceled the so-called
> fairness hearing on October 7, since Google is currently re-
> negotiating the agreement with the plaintiffs. Those negotiations
> over Google Book Search re-opened after the Justice Department
> weighed in with a critical filing last Friday that effectively
> killed the version that had been under intense public discussion for
> nearly a year.
> “The current settlement agreement raises significant issues, as
> demonstrated not only by the number of objections, but also by the
> fact that the objectors include countries, states, nonprofit
> organizations and prominent authors and law professors. Clearly,
> fair concerns have been raised,” Chin wtote in a Thursday ruling
> But, critically, Chin found, like the Justice Department before him,
> the settlement negotiations should not be scuttled yet.
> “On the other hand, the proposed settlement would offer many
> benefits to society,” Chin wrote. “It would appear that if a fair
> and reasonable settelment can be struck, the public would benefit.”
> The ruling was not unexpected, given that the plaintiffs in the case
> — The Author’s Guild and the American Association of Publishers —
> asked for a postponement, without objection from the search giant.
> Those groups sued Google in 2005, arguing that its project to make
> digital copies of millions of books in the nation’s top
> universities’ libraries and make them searchable violated copyright
> The two sides came to a landmark agreement that cut through thorny
> copyright provisions for out-of-print works whose authors couldn’t
> be found and proposed to set up an independent Book Registry that
> would set and collect royalty rates, much like those that exist for
> musicians and songwriters.
> But an odd-fellows union of opposition grew in strength over the
> months that authors and publishers had to decide whether to fight or
> sign onto November’s settlement. Union members included Microsoft,
> the the hard left-leaning National Writers Union, the Internet
> Archive (archive.org), the French government and copyright scholars
> such as UC Berkeley’s Pamela Samuelson.
> Google attempted to rally support for its project, which has now
> digitized more than seven million books. Sony, which makes a e-book
> reader to compete with Amazon’s Kindle, supported the project for
> making millions of books available
> Google has already offered concessions, including an offer to let
> other online retailers — such as e-retail giant Amazon.com — resell
> the books Google digitized. Amazon quickly shot down the idea of
> becoming a Google affiliate.
> A Google spokesperson noted that the judge expressed hope that a
> good settlement be reached quickly, and said Google was working to
> iron out a new agreement.
> “We are engaged in focused discussions with Department of Justice
> regarding specific points it has raised, and are considering
> potential amendments to the agreement,” the spokesperson said.
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