Two Congressmen ask Justice to scrutinize Google Books deal, government will comment on revised deal Thursday

Wed, Feb 3, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Two Texas Congressmen have asked the U.S. Department of Justice to ensure that  the proposed Google Books Settlement not hurt minority publishers and small businesses. The department is scheduled to file its view of the amended settlement in federal court on Thursday.

    The letter to Attorney General Eric Holder from Rep. Charlie Gonzalez and Rep. Gene Greene said there are thousands of authors and hundreds of publishers who would be affected by the settlement.  "Yet their voices have been largely excluded from the process."

    "We don’t want this settlement process to go forward if it will not protect the work of small and minority publishers," Congressman Green said.

    The Congressmen wrote Holder after a group of minority publishers wrote the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Hispanic Caucus expressing concern with the Google Books deal:

    "Until and unless the process is opened up and the creative voices we represent and serve are allowed a seat at the table and a stake in the process — along with others who have been shut out so far– we believe the proposed settlement will fall short of creating the kind of future digital marketplace that serves the true interests of consumers and creators."

    Consumer Watchdog has filed a brief urging Judge Denny Chin to reject the revised deal because it remains anticompetitive and violates both U.S. and international law.  Kasowitz, Benson filed the brief on our behalf.

    Though the original settlement was withdrawn and amended in the face of objections from the U.S. Justice Department, Consumer Watchdog and others, our latest friend-of-the-court brief argues “the revised settlement suffers from the same fundamental problems as its predecessor.”

    The Justice Department needs to stick to its  guns and block the deal.

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