[Nfbk] FW: [Chapter-presidents] AP: Judge says no quick ruling on Google bookplans

Cathy cathyj at iglou.com
Sun Feb 21 20:27:32 UTC 2010

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Subject: [Chapter-presidents] AP: Judge says no quick ruling on Google

Judge says no quick ruling on Google book plans

By LARRY NEUMEISTER (AP) – 21 hours ago

NEW YORK ­ Supporters of Google's effort to create the world's largest
digital library Internet told a federal judge Thursday that it would benefit

Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind, said the
audio capabilities of Google's system "will give us access to 10 million

One of the opponents ­ which include authors, foreign governments, corporate
rivals and even the U.S. Department of Justice ­ countered at a packed court
hearing in Manhattan that Google's plans were more about commerce, not
access to books.

"It's not going to be a great library, it's going to be a good store," said
Sarah Canzoneri, a member of the Children's Book Guild and plaintiff in a
lawsuit by authors and publishers.

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin already has read more than 500 submissions
about a $125 million settlement aimed at ending a pair of 2005 lawsuits that
tried to stop Google from scanning books into a gigantic online database.

On Thursday, he was hearing statements from interested parties before
deciding whether changes made to a deal first announced in October 2008 are
sufficient to withstand constitutional scrutiny.

"To end the suspense, I'm not going to rule today," he said at the start.
"There is just too much to digest."

He added, "Voluminous materials have been submitted. There is a lot of
repetition. Some of the submissions even quote other submissions."

In court papers submitted last week, Google Inc., which is based in
<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns =
"urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Mountain View, Calif.,
defended its deal with authors by saying its digital library lives up to the
purpose of copyright law, which is to create and distribute expressive

"No one seriously disputes that approval of the settlement will open the
virtual doors to the greatest library in history, without costing authors a
dime they now receive or are likely to receive if the settlement is not
approved," Google said.

The Department of Justice said Google and the plaintiffs have made
substantial improvements to the original settlement, but it said
"substantial issues remain."

It said the new deal raised antitrust concerns and suffered from the same
core issue as the original agreement because it establishes forward-looking
business arrangements that "confer significant and possibly anticompetitive
advantages on a single entity ­ Google."

Still, the Department of Justice said it believes an approvable settlement
may be achievable, perhaps by requiring rights holders to opt in to the

France and Germany, which oppose the settlement, noted they support a
European book-scanning project, Europeana, because it is in compliance with
their laws and requires permission from copyright holders before books are

Obtaining permission beforehand is what Amazon.com Inc. said it did when it
engaged in a similar book-scanning project. Amazon's lawyers oppose the
Google settlement and have asked to address the court. Other Google rivals
including Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. also oppose it.

Among authors opposing the deal are folk singer Arlo Guthrie and writer
Catherine Ryan Hyde, whose novel "Pay it Forward" was adapted and released
as a movie.

"While I believe that the proposed Google Books Settlement has the potential
to provide authors with additional exposure and perhaps additional sources
of revenue for their works," Hyde wrote, "I continue to believe that the
proposed settlement as amended remains critically flawed and is unfair to
authors in a number of crucial respects."

Lawyers for the plaintiffs who brought the 2005 lawsuits defended the
settlement. Their submission to the judge said there were relatively few
complaints, considering the ambitious plan to digitize all the world's
books, and that many opponents "advance competitive and other parochial
self-interests" that conflict with the broader interests of the publishing

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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