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Justice Department criticizes Google books settlement

updated 04:20 pm EST, Fri February 5, 2010

Google settlement still to broad, says DOJ

A Justice Department ruling on Thursday has potentially again delayed Google's plans to launch a digital library and bookstore, a lot of content for which would come from its controversial online rights registry. Despite recent revisions to a class-action settlement between Google and groups representing authors and publishers, the DOJ found significant legal problems, the New York Times reported on Friday. A 31-page filing of the revised settlement is still full of concerns that Google would have a monopoly over millions of works whose rights holders are unknown or not found.

The department also noted in its findings that both the old and new settlement proposal was too broad in scope and did not respect author copyrights. The department asked the court to encourage the parties to further revise the settlement. The new agreement attempted to use a class-action method to implement forward-looking business agreements that run deeper than the dispute in the court.

The settlement is a result of copyright lawsuits from the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers after Google announced plans to digitize books from major libraries. If it went through, Google would be allowed to sell digital copies of millions of books online and create a new way for authors and publishers to earn money from them. Critics of such a deal include Amazon, Microsoft and a number of authors, academics and public interest groups.

The next hearing on the matter in front of Judge Denny Chin of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, is scheduled for February 18th.



By Electronista Staff
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