Department of Justice filing on the Google Book settlement – wants to see changes
September 19, 2009 | 8:17 am
By Paul Biba
The DOJ has a number of concerns about the settlement. Resource Shelf has an excellent summary of all the coverage so I don’t feel that it need be repeated here. It covers articles from Reuters, Dow Jones Newswires, CNN, Washington Post, AP, New York Times, Financial Times, PC Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg, News.com, IDG News Service. It also carries comments from Google, Authors Guild, AAP, Open Book Alliance, Consumer Watchdog and the DOJ. The full 32 page DOJ response is here.
From the DOJ press release:
Given the parties’ express commitment to ongoing discussions to address concerns already raised and the possibility that such discussions could lead to a settlement agreement that could legally be approved by the Court, the public interest would best be served by direction from the Court encouraging the continuation of those discussions between the parties and, if the Court so chooses, by some direction as to those aspects of the Proposed Settlement that need to be improved. Because a properly structured settlement agreement in this case offers the potential for important societal benefits, the United States does not want the opportunity or momentum to be lost.”
In its filing, the Department proposed that the parties consider a number of changes to the agreement that may help address the United States’ concerns, including imposing limitations on the most open-ended provisions for future licensing, eliminating potential conflicts among class members, providing additional protections for unknown rights holders, addressing the concerns of foreign authors and publishers, eliminating the joint-pricing mechanisms among publishers and authors, and, whatever the settlement’s ultimate scope, providing some mechanism by which Google’s competitors can gain comparable access.