Groups File Briefs In Google Books Case

Thu, Jan 28, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    groups that have been critical of Google’s digital books project said
    Thursday the Internet firm’s revised settlement with the Authors Guild
    and the Association of American Publishers does little to fix the
    structural flaws with the deal. The Open Book Alliance and Consumer
    Watchdog filed briefs with the federal court weighing the settlement,
    which was initially opposed by the Justice Department.

    Google has argued that the revised settlement will open "access to
    millions of books while providing rights holders with ways to sell and
    control their work online." A hearing on the case is set for Feb. 18.

    Consumer Watchdog urged the court to reject the settlement, saying
    it’s anticompetitive and violates U.S. and international law. "This
    scheme acts to the disadvantage of absent class members and would
    result in unfair competitive advantages to Google in the search engine,
    electronic book sales, and other markets, to the detriment of the
    public interest. Along the way, the settlement raises significant
    international law and privacy concerns," the group said in its brief.

    The Open Book Alliance outlined several issues with the revised settlement in its brief.
    They include the group’s claims that "Google’s anticompetitive bundling
    undermines competition" in the distribution of digital books and that
    the deal fails to resolve antirust concerns because it gives "Google a
    de facto exclusive license to millions of books and continues to set a
    price floor for out-of-print books."

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