A US District Court in New York just rejected Google’s book settlement with publishers – the one that allows Google to scan all the books in the world and index them online.
In a summary, Judge Denny Chin writes “many of the concerns raised in the objections would be ameliorated if the [Google Booksagreement] were converted from an opt-out to an opt-in settlement.”
The settlement was first reached in November 2008.
Complaints about the agreement were:
- Class members were given inadequate notice of the original proposed settlement
- Certain objectors, including some foreign authors, academic authors, Insert authors, and others object to the adequacy of representation.
- Certain objectors, including two of Google’s major competitors, Amazon.com, Inc. (“Amazon”) and Microsoft Corp. (“Microsoft”), object to the ASA on the grounds it would violate existing copyright law.
- Privacy violations (Google shouldn’t know what I’m reading!)
- Foreign law problems.
The big problem was antitrust concerns. Here’s how Judge Chin put it:
“Certain objectors oppose the ASA on antitrust grounds, arguing that (1) certain pricing mechanisms would constitute horizontal agreements that would violate the Sherman Act; (2) the ASA would effectively grant Google a monopoly over digital books, and, in particular, orphan books; and (3) such a monopoly would further entrench Google’s dominant position in the online search business.”