Advocacy group Consumer Watchdog has joined the ranks of organizations
expressing concern about the proposed Google Book Search settlement. The group criticizes the settlement on the grounds that it would give
Google "an effective monopoly over digitized books" and is asking the
Department of Justice to intervene.
Traditional media is once again rattling sabers in the direction of Google and other sites that aggregate the news. There’s tough talk coming from managers at The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press that include threats of legal challenges and even name calling. Google’s plan to scan orphan books and preserve them in a database is
also being challenged. Google has an agreement with the The Authors
Guild and the Association of American Publishers to scan the books, but
a group called Consumer Watchdog says the agreement is anticompetitive
and has called on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to intervene.
With May 5 the deadline for filing objections to Google’s settlement
with the AAP and the Authors Guild, the consumer advocacy group
Consumer Watchdog has sent a letter to the Justice Department asking
the department to delay the settlement, which still needs court
approval. The letter cites two objections to the agreement: a so-called
“most favored nation” clause and the mechanism to deal with orphan
works. The group maintains that because the settlement was negotiated
between Google and the AAP/authors, there was no one representing the
public interest in what Consumer Watchdog calls an agreement that will
While much mainstream news coverage of the pending Google Book
Search settlement has focused on the potential boon to researchers,
concerns raised by librarians and consumers have begun to hit critical
mass. One sign was a front-page article in the April 4 New York Times, headlined Google’s Plan for Out-of-Print Books Is Challenged, which noted that two sets of academics plan to intervene in the settlement. Consumer Watchdog,
a public interest group in Southern California, also has asked the
Justice Department to intervene in the case to “serve the public
interest,” Helft noted.
Google’s recent and far-flung attempt to digitize the world’s "orphan"
books, or out-of-print tomes that remain under copyright but whose
rights-holders cannot be found, may soon hit a roadblock in the form of
the U.S. Department of Justice, at least if a consumer group gets its
wish. John Simpson, a consumer advocate for Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit
consumer advocacy organization, wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General
Eric Holder asking the government to intervene in Google’s recent
settlement with The Authors Guild and the Association of American
"Orphan Works" provision and "Most Favored Nation" Clause Raise Antitrust Concerns
Santa Monica, CA — Google’s proposed settlement with authors and
publishers raises antitrust concerns, Consumer Watchdog said today and
the nonpartiasn, nonprofit group called on the U.S. Department of
Justice to intervene.
Earlier this week, Google’s public relations team sent around to reporters a story from Wired suggesting that Microsoft was behind
the opposition to its sweeping settlement with book publishers and
authors over its book scanning project. I covered a focal point of the
opposition to the agreement, the concerns over Google’s virtually
exclusive license to millions of so-called orphan books, in Saturday’s Times. And in a letter sent last week, Consumer Watchdog, a public interest
group in Southern California, has asked the Justice Department to
intervene in the case to “bring about changes that will truly serve the
Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, has pushed the patients’
rights movement in the United States for more than a decade by
sponsoring successful laws in California. As part of his work for the
California-based nonprofit, Court is closely watching Google’s and
Microsoft’s entry into the electronic medical records field. He spoke
with The Plain Dealer about patient privacy and his concerns in the
A security consultant has found more problems with Google Docs, a so called "cloud computing" application.
The revelation by …
One of the editors of Adbusters magazine has a populist strategy to create an online revolt against Google’s latest forray into targeted online advertising, a tactic that Congress Quarterly reports, from behind its subscription wall, caught the eye of federal lawmakers Wednesday.
Google Health has a new feature that lets users share medical information with others through an e-mail link. Google has tried to take safety measures. A link to a shared profile
will only work in connection with the specified e-mail address, so the
link does not work if it is forwarded. Also, all links expire after 30
days. Jamie Court, president of the Washington D.C.-based consumer advocacy group Consumer Watchdog doesn’t think that’s enough. "Doctors and hospitals have a duty to keep this information
confidential, but others don’t," he told The Industry Standard. "In the
hands of the wrong workplace colleague, friend or vendor, this
information could be used against patients."
The recent incident involved a privacy group called Consumer Watchdog.
The organization and Google have had a history of run-ins. Consumer
Watchdog has been critical of Google in terms of privacy, and has been
aggressive at times in publicly challenging the search giant, as can be
seen in this video ironically documented on YouTube, which is owned by
In the face of criticism from privacy advocates, the White House website apparently has ended its ties to Google’s YouTube video service.