Google's book deal rejected by the courts

Search engine outfit Google received a nasty surprise when a District Court judge rejected its settlement with publishers.

If Judge Denny Chin had approved the Google Books Settlement, the search outfit could have scanned and distributed millions of works.

Normally, settlements are rubber stamped by Judges but this agreement had opposition, including the US government.

Judge Chin rejected it after agreeing with opponents that it would give Google an unfair advantage. Chin said that while the digitisation of books and the creation of a universal digital library would benefit many, the Amended Settlement Agreement went too far.

He was worried that it would be possible to set up a future business arrangement that would grant Google significant rights to exploit entire books, without permission of the copyright owners.

What was bad was that the ASA 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.

He concluded that the ASA was unfair, adequate, and reasonable. Many of the concerns raised in the objections would be ameliorated if the ASA were converted from an ‘opt-out’ settlement to an ‘opt-in’ settlement.”

Google has not replied yet. If it wants to get the matter sorted out it probably would follow Chin’s opt-in suggestion as the quickest and easiest way to resolve the matter.