US Department of Justice Has Continued Concerns with Google Book Settlement

In its February 4th filing, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) again has recommended that the Court send the settlement parties back to the drawing board to re-negotiate the terms in the amended settlement agreement (ASA) due to continued concerns regarding the scope of the agreement.  Stating that the ASA “suffers from the same core problem as the original agreement,” the US DOJ argues that the class settlement mechanism has been used by Google, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the Authors Guild to settle a dispute that goes well beyond the initial complaint — whether the scanning of books to provide an online searchable index is a fair use.  Instead, the agreement establishes a new business arrangement for the sale of books without providing sufficient notice to rights holders in a fashion that conveys to Google market dominance.  The US DOJ also expressed concern about the Books Rights Registry and its control over the “Unclaimed Works Fiduciary,” that would dictate pricing and terms of use for unclaimed works.  The filing (pdf) also includes a list of recommendations for the Court should it decide to approve the ASA at the fairness hearing scheduled for February 18th.

About Jacob Roberts

Jacob Roberts is the communications specialist for the ALA Washington Office.

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