Judge Gives Justice Until Fall To Dispute Google Book Settlement

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The Justice Department confirmed last week that it is conducting an antitrust investigation into the $125 million settlement between Google and book publishers who alleged Google’s book-scanning plans violated copyrights. 

The settlement is not final until approved by the court.

The investigation into the Google settlement is the Obama administration’s first high profile step in fulfilling its promise for increased antitrust scrutiny, so its report to the Court could show exactly how aggressive it really plan to be – and how the administration will walk the line between Google’s constantly expanding presence and marketplace competition.  

In a letter to U.S. District Judge Denny Chin (Judge Chin was quite busy pre-holiday, as he also handed Bernie Madoff his 150-year sentence), the Justice Department said it had reached no conclusions but would continue to speak to all parties and was aware of “public comments expressing concern” that the settlement could violate US antitrust laws. 

Judge Chin responded via letter, saying the government has until September 17 to present its concerns in writing or that it may attend the pre-scheduled “fairness hearing” on October 7 and present oral arguments then.

Critics of the settlement, including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, support an an investigation into its fairness.  Marketplace concern abounds that the settement will prevent companies other than Google from entering the digital book market.


Google Books Justice

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