updated 05:05 pm EDT, Tue March 22, 2011
Search giant said to receive too much power
Despite Google's recent move to amend its settlement with the Authors Guild, a New York district court has rejected the proposal and its revisions. The court argues that the amended settlement agreement (ASA) would still give Google too much power, particularly regarding the search giant's insistence on copying books without first receiving explicit approval from content owners.
"[The settlement] 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," reads the court document, which was quoted by CNET. "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."
The court points out that Google has already amassed over 12 million titles in its digital collection, which includes many works that are out of print but still protected by copyright. Opponents to the settlement argue that the company should be required to receive approval before copying content. The current proposal would have allowed the process to continue as long as copyright owners did not actively opt out of the program.
"Like many others, we believe this agreement has the potential to open up access to millions of books that are currently hard to find in the U.S. today," Google attorney Hilary Ware said in a statement.