“Progress is Being Made” on the Google Books Settlement

Today is 15 September, and that means that Google and the plaintiffs in the Google Books case are back in front of Judge Denny Chin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  Today was the deadline he set for all parties to agree on a settlement.Well, they didn't. As you could probably guess from the history of the 6 year old lawsuit, they're still negotiating. But they did release this nifty little statement.

“Today, we informed the court that the Association of American Publishers, the five publisher plaintiffs and Google have made good progress toward a settlement that would resolve the pending litigation regarding the Google Library Project.  We are working to resolve the differences that remain between the parties and reach terms that are mutually agreeable.

“Over the past decade, publishers have made transformative creative, technological and financial investments to significantly expand the digital reach of their content.  Protection of copyright in digital formats is essential to continue serving the interests of readers, researchers, authors, publishers and libraries.”

That alone probably took a good week of discussion.

Today's deadline came about after Judge Chin rejected the  proposed settlement back in March. While all parties had agreed to that settlement, the Judge did not. He objected because, as he phrased it in the ruling (PDF):

While the digitization of books and the creation of a universal digital library would benefit many, the ASA would simply go too far. It would permit this class action--which was brought against defendant Google Inc. to challenge its scanning of books and display of "snippets" for on-line searching - - to implement a forward-looking business arrangement that would grant Google significant rights to exploit entire books, without permission of the copyright owners. Indeed, the ASA would give Google a significant advantage over competitors, rewarding it for engaging in wholesale copying of copyrighted works without permission, while releasing claims well beyond those presented in the case.

Given that his chief objection was that the settlement affected parties not involved in the lawsuit, I have to wonder why it was not simply amended to exclude anyone who wasn't a plaintiff.

Unfortunately, it looks like this will go to trial. Judge Chin has adopted the proposed trial schedule, and everything kicks off on 12 December, when the plaintiffs are required to submit their first brief. Google’s rebuttal would follow on January 20, and discovery would wrap up in March. And the motions for summary judgement would be in by July 2012, with rulings to come later.

image by SeeMidTN.com

About Nate Hoffelder (11591 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

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