Google and the authors and publishers that sued them have until midnight tonight to file a new proposed settlement in their long-running dispute over digital book rights.
After going back to the drawing board to address criticism from the Justice Department and others for the $125 million agreement they reached last October, the new proposal will be submitted to the federal court and a fairness hearing will be held.
The Washington Post: Critics, including the Justice Department, said the deal could unfairly advantage Google and possibly lead to price-gouging because Google would have greater control over the titles. Justice, which has been investigating the deal, said last September it wouldn’t approve of it as it currently stands and ordered Google and parties in the settlement to rewrite their deal.
Specifically, Justice suggested limiting the provisions for future licensing, a part of the settlement that some critics said would give Google dominant power over the licensing of digital titles. The agency also recommended adding more protections for the holders of rights to little-known books and eliminating the joint pricing deal between publishers and authors.
The settlement has drawn criticism from authors, e-book dealers, and potential e-book dealers such as Yahoo, Amazon and Micrososft.
Even with an agreement being filed today, this is still far from over. After the new proposal is submitted, the Justice Department will again weigh in, likely after it hears comments from the interested groups.
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