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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Google books agreement torpedoed by US court

Google books agreement torpedoed by US court

BBC News 22 March 2011 Last updated at 22:00

An agreement between Google and publishers over the web firm's publication of books online has been blocked by a US court.

The court ruled that Google's deal with authors and publishers would give it an unfair advantage

The web giant has scanned millions of books and made them available online via its eBooks platform.

Google had negotiated the deal to settle a six-year-old class action suit claiming infringement of copyright.

But the New York court said the deal would "simply go too far", giving Google an unfair competitive advantage.

Copyright concerns
Under the agreement with the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers, Google would continue to digitise books and sell access online.

In return, the company would pay $125m (£76.9m) in royalties every year to the copyright owners of the books being scanned.

However, copyright concerns persisted, as the ownership of many of the works being scanned by Google could not be established, meaning many would be unable to claim the royalty payment.

"The [amended settlement agreement] would give Google a significant advantage over competitors, rewarding it for engaging in wholesale copying of copyrighted works without permission, while releasing claims well beyond those presented in the case," said judge Denny Chin.

The agreement is also separately being investigated by the US Department of Justice on competition and copyright grounds.

"This is clearly disappointing, but we'll review the Court's decision and consider our options," said Google's managing counsel, Hilary Ware.

"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 US today," she added.

"Regardless of the outcome, we'll continue to work to make more of the world's books discoverable online through Google Books and Google eBooks."

Google has already scanned some 15 million books.

1 comment:

Atlanta Roofing said...

I don't consider this a good decision. The books they are talking about are completely out of print; many haven't been purchased or printed in ages. In fact, a particular book in the lawsuit had about a 1000 book run, sold only a few and went belly up, years ago, than the author died, and...The judge still wants him to opt-in? Please, make no sense. People are free to opt-out as they please.