Friday, February 19, 2010

No Rush to Judgment on Proposed Settlement of Google Suit

Google Inc.Image via Wikipedia
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Denny Chin heard arguments this week on the proposed settlement of the class-action suit involving Google's book-scanning initiative, but did not indicate when he would decide whether to accept the proffered resolution reached by the parties in October 2008.

As reported on the Jurist legal news and research Web site (, the U.S. Dept. of Justice recently filed a statement of interest requesting that Judge Chin jettison the settlement because of antitrust and copyright concerns. The American Civil Liberties Union also has weighed in against the proposed settlement, contending that it fails to protect the privacy of readers by allowing Google to create "digital dossiers" tracking data such as which books readers search, which pages they read, and how much time they spend on each page.

Google initially was sued separately by the Authors Guild, which sought to preserve the copyright rights of its members, and by a group of publishers, including McGraw-Hill and Simon & Schuster. Under the terms of the proposed settlement agreement, in return for payment of $125 million to authors and publishers of copyrighted works, Google could display online a maximum 20 percent of a copyrighted book's total pages and invite readers to purchase the remainder of any book viewed.

In December, a French court found Google and its book-scanning initiative liable for copyright infringement (see "TUOL" post 12/23/09).

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