Press Release

As Deadline Passes, NWU, Consumer Watchdog Join Google Books Objectors


Tue, Sep 8, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    The National Writers Union and Consumer Watchdog were among those to
    file briefs urging rejection as the Google Book Search Settlement
    deadline officially passed this morning. Although the final lineup of
    objectors won’t be known until all the last-minute briefs have been
    processed by the court, the groups join DC Comics, The American Society
    of Journalists and Authors, a coalition of some 58 authors and the Open
    Book Alliance (which includes Google competitors Microsoft and in urging the court to reject the proposed settlement. 

    National Writers Union president Larry Goldbetter said that the
    settlement has prompted “justified outrage and objections from writers
    of all types, across the country and around the world,” by abridging
    writers’ economic and "moral" rights. “We can’t let Google or any
    mega-corporation steal our work, re-publish it and sell ads around it
    without permission and paying us only a pittance.” Goldbetter said NWU
    would fight the proposed settlement in court, with the antitrust
    division of the Department of Justice, and through Congress, and last
    week, called on former Vice President Al Gore, a Google senior advisor, to urge Google a delay in the settlement proceedings.

    Consumer Watchdog, meanwhile, a Washington-based advocacy group, this morning filed a brief urging
    the court to reject the settlement as anticompetitive, lacking in
    privacy protections for consumers, and counter to U.S. and
    international law.  “The proposed class-action settlement is
    monumentally overbroad and invites the Court to overstep its legal
    jurisdiction, to the detriment of consumers and the public,” read the
    Consumer Watchdog brief, adding that the deal would “strip rights from
    millions of absent class members, worldwide, in violation of national
    and international copyright law, for the sole benefit of Google.” 

    In a statement, Consumer Watchdog’s John Simpson also criticized the
    deal’s lack of transparency and representation. “The proposed book
    settlement was negotiated in secret by the parties in the suit and
    there was no opportunity to represent and protect the broad interests
    of all consumers,” said John M. Simpson, consumer advocate with
    Consumer Watchdog. “The proposed class action settlement claims to
    resolve the actual dispute between the parties, but it also goes much,
    much farther, and purports to enroll millions of absent class members
    in a series of new business ‘opportunities.’"

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