[LINK] No to Google Library

Jan Whitaker jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Wed Mar 23 14:23:43 AEDT 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 YORK—A 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 
works—out-of-print books whose writers could not 
be located—saying 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 books—particularly those out of 
print—would 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."


  more at the site

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
blog: http://janwhitaker.com/jansblog/
business: http://www.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

_ __________________ _

More information about the Link mailing list