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DOJ on Amended Google Books Settlement: Better, but Still Opposed

February 5, 2010 Competition , Fair Use , Google Book Search , Monopoly , Orphan Works

Sherwin posted last week about the amended Google Books settlement and our amicus brief expressing our opposition to the settlement as written and our concern that it would lead to a monopoly on providing access to orphan works. The DOJ's Antitrust Divison has once again weighed in on the settlment (their previous brief is here, with our analysis here). Their conclusions appear to be largely the same as ours: "Although the United States believes the parties have approached this effort in good faith and the [Amended Settlement Agreement (ASA)] is more circumscribed in its sweep than the original Proposed Settlement, the ASA suffers from the same core problem as the original agreement: it is an attempt to use the class action mechanism to implement forward-looking business arrangements that go far beyond the dispute before the Court in this litigation."

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Public Knowledge Files Brief Opposing Amended Google Books Settlement

January 29, 2010 Antitrust , Competition , Google Book Search , Orphan Works

Today is the last day for commenters and objectors to weigh in on the amended Google Book settlement before the district court in New York that’s overseeing the case. Yesterday, Public Knowledge filed its amicus brief in opposition to the new settlement.

Our concerns are the same as they were when the settlement deal was first announced—that, if approved, it would result in Google becoming the only company that can sell access to orphan books without risking a massive lawsuit.

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What Do Ebooks, Zombies, and Copyright Terms Have in Common Besides this Headline?

December 14, 2009 Orphan Works , Public Domain

Two articles in Sunday’s New York Times might appear unrelated at first, but together they illustrate some interesting points about copyright. The first discussed problems related to getting “backlist books” (books that were published a number of years ago but are still actively being sold) into an ebook format. The second had to do with zombies.

The ebook article was interesting, but it should not have surprised anyone who has been looking at digital copyright issues for the past few years. Actually, it is more of a contract issue than anything else. Before about 1994 publishing contracts did not contain any language that explicitly granted publishers the right to print books in an electronic form.

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The New Google Book Settlement: First Impressions on Orphan Works

November 17, 2009 Antitrust , Competition , Google Book Search , Orphan Works

Late on Friday, a federal court in New York received a new version of the Google Book Search settlement. As with the old version, the new one was drafted jointly by Google and its erstwhile litigation opponents: the publishers and authors who sued Google for scanning their books without permission.

Substantively, the new settlement bears a great resemblance to the old one.

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DOJ Weighs in on Google Book Search Settlement

September 21, 2009 Competition , Fair Use , Google Book Search , Monopoly , Orphan Works

On Friday, the Department of Justice Antitrust Division submitted a "Statement of Interest of the United States of America" to the court about the proposed Google Book Search settlement. Its conclusion: "the Proposed Settlement does not meet the legal standards this Court must apply." It seems the DOJ shares both our hopes for and appreciation of the Google Book Search service and many of the concerns about the settlement that we expressed in our amicus brief filed two weeks ago.

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