Court Rejects Google Settlement​

by | Mar 23, 2011 | 0 comments

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From The Authors Guild, March 22, 2011:

We’ve just learned that Judge Chin has rejected our proposed settlement in our lawsuit against Google.  In a 48-page opinion that lauds the many benefits of the settlement, the court has left the door open for a revised agreement.  In his conclusion, Judge Chin says that “many of the concerns raised in the objections would be ameliorated if the ASA [the Amended Settlement Agreement] were converted from an ‘opt-out’ settlement to an ‘opt-in’ settlement.  I urge the parties to consider revising the ASA accordingly.”
We will have more on this for you soon.

From Scott Turow, March 22, 2011:

“Although this Alexandria of out-of-print books appears lost at the moment,” said Authors Guild President Scott Turow, “we’ll be studying Judge Chin’s decision and plan on talking to the publishers and Google with the hope that we can arrive at a settlement within the court’s parameters that makes sense for all parties.”
“Regardless of the outcome of our discussions with publishers and Google, opening up far greater access to out-of-print books through new technologies that create new markets is an idea whose time has come,” said Mr. Turow. “Readers want access to these unavailable works, and authors need every market they can get. There has to be a way to make this happen. It’s a top priority for the Authors Guild.”

Judge Chin’s decision on the proposed settlement of the Google litigation, released earlier this afternoon, is here.

From the Wall Street Journal, March 22, 2011:


Google Inc.’s six-year struggle to bring all the world’s books to the Internet suffered another big setback at the hands of a federal judge.

Judge Denny Chin, in a ruling filed in U.S. district court in Manhattan, rejected a 2008 settlement that Google forged with author and publisher groups to make millions of books available online. The 48-page decision concludes that the $125 million deal would give the Internet giant the ability to “exploit” books without the permission of copyright owners, echoing the U.S. Justice Department’s concerns about the deal.

Read more online here.

From the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), March 23, 2o11:

Thank you, Judge Chin, for listening to the world’s writers!

Writers everywhere are relieved that Judge Denny Chin has tossed out a second settlement attempt in the Google Book Search suit. Judge Chin, ruling in the Southern District Court of New York, yesterday rejected the settlement plan, saying it would have given Google “significant rights to exploit entire books, without the permission of the copyright owners.” The plan went far beyond compensating wronged authors and had morphed into a “forward-looking business arrangement,” Chin said.

Thank you, Judge Chin, for hearing the many writers who sought redress. Last October, Google announced it had scanned some 15 million books, all without permission of the copyright holders, who often are the authors.

“All along, we’ve been saying it can’t possibly be right or legal for an American court to bless Google’s plan to profit from stolen books,” said ASJA president Salley Shannon.

Hundreds of individuals, organizations, corporations, the attorneys general of many states, the Justice Department and a long list of foreign governments have objected to both versions of the settlement. The parties haven’t listened. “Now one courageous judge has looked grabby Google in the eye and said NO. Powerful as you are, you cannot profit from riding roughshod over the rights of individuals,” said Shannon.

Judge Chin declared “a copyright owner’s right to exclude others from using his property is fundamental and beyond dispute.” He affirmed that Congress should write copyright law, not a court or “self-interested parties.” He denied Google the exclusive right to sell “orphan books,” those whose authors (theoretically) can’t be found, noting that blessing such a plan would hardly give Google an incentive to find those who wrote them, so they could share in profits.

ASJA joins Judge Chin in urging the parties to let writers “opt in” to any future settlement plan, and stop trying to force them into the fold willy-nilly. That’s always been ASJA’s solution.

Of course we applaud the goal of a worldwide, searchable, digital library — but it wasn’t in this settlement. Instead, we saw a digital bookstore designed to sell books Google obtained by callously disregarding writers’ rights. We create the books, which are our livelihood, but Google thinks trampling us doesn’t matter. Frankly, that’s evil.

The Google Bookphoto © 2007 Jim Barter | more info (via: Wylio)

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