We feel like Manhattan federal judge Denny Chin spoke for everyone yesterday when he said he would not rule from the bench on the Google books settlement because there was “just too much to digest.”
The hearing more or less went as expected, and it was a long one. For more than four hours, the settlement’s supporters said that the agreement would make millions of books available to a universal audience and the detractors (Amazon, et al.) voiced concerns about copyright violations and the stifling of competition. The New York Times has a full report.
We believe each side has valid arguments, and we do not envy Chin for having to make the call.
But for what will be such a huge decision, one that will impact millions of books and Americans’ access to them, it feels like we’ve all moved on…quite a while ago.
Are we letting this huge decision pass us by over simple fatigue and a desire to avoid wading into the intricacies of copyright law? Is it because we all secretly acknowledge our age-old copyright law is not really equipped for the broad reach of the Internet age? Has Google become so huge that we just figure they’ll take care of it and give us our books, even if some authors get burned in the process?
If all that is true, it maters little now. It’s in Judge Chin’s hands and, then, of course, an appeals court’s hands.
But either way, it’s out of ours. And very few seem to care at all.
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