Court Rejects Google's Book Settlement With Publishers

Book Burning

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,, 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.”

Go here to read the whole settlement.

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