Revised Google Books settlement pleases few
January 29, 2010 | 8:02 pm
The deadline for comments on the revised Google Books settlement passed yesterday, and all indications are that there are still nearly as many people upset with the second version as there were with the first.
Ars Technica has an article covering some of these objections in detail, and links to The Public Index’s list of individual filings. The Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog had another piece from before the deadline looking at Amazon’s and academic authors’ objections, and the Times Online had a look at British authors’ reactions.
The revision does not seem to have changed many peoples’ minds. Even organizations such as Public Knowledge that approved of the spirit of Google Books felt that the orphaned works problem could be better solved through a change in copyright law.
But then, few expected it to. The main problems opponents have with the settlement—its opt-out instead of opt-in nature, the end-run around copyright law that it represents, the major first-mover advantage it cedes to Google—are endemic to its very nature.
No matter what changes Google makes, it is doubtful it could do anything to placate the critics without altering its plans beyond recognition. What happens now is anybody’s guess.