Library Associations submit testimony to House Judiciary Committee on digital books hearing

The American Library Association (ALA), the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) have submitted testimony for the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee’s hearing on “Competition and Commerce in Digital Books” scheduled for 10 a.m. EDT tomorrow.

Specifically, the Library Associations shared their initial and supplemental filings with the U.S. District Court of New York and the letter sent to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) following a meeting with the Antitrust Division on the proposed private settlement agreement reached among Google, the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers on the Google Book Search product.

In their letter to House Judiciary Chairman Conyers and Ranking Member Smith, the Library Associations asserted the following:

In the absence of competition for the services it will enable, the settlement could compromise fundamental library values such as equity of access to information, patron privacy, intellectual freedom and fair use.  Specifically, the libraries are concerned about equal access for all users to the service, monopoly pricing and reader privacy.

As such, the Library Associations have requested the court to exercise its jurisdiction vigorously over the interpretation and implementation of the settlement and the DOJ monitor compliance of the parties involved in the lawsuit.

Additional information about the proposed settlement agreement is available at http://wo.ala.org/gbs/. Also, if the hearing is broadcast via video webcast, it will be available here.

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