Fairness hearing postponed for Google books deal

Sep 24, 2009 By LARRY NEUMEISTER , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- A judge noted the many objections to a $125 million deal giving Google Inc. digital rights to millions of out-of-print books as he agreed Thursday to postpone a fairness hearing so the agreement can be rewritten to comply with copyright and antitrust laws.

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin said the deal reached last year between some authors and and Google "raises significant issues, as demonstrated not only by the number of objections, but also by the fact that the objectors include countries, states, non-profit organizations, and prominent authors and law professors."

He added: "Clearly, fair concerns have been raised."

The comments in a two-page order indicated Chin had taken a critical look at the settlement after receiving nearly 400 submissions about the deal, many of them expressing disapproval.

The Department of Justice said last week that the agreement as it now stands probably violates antitrust law. That conclusion led plaintiffs including The Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers to say that they and Mountain View, Calif.-based Google had decided to renegotiate.

This time, the plaintiffs said, negotiations will include Justice Department officials.

Chin encouraged the talks in Thursday's order, saying a fair deal "would offer many benefits to society." He cited a statement by the Department of Justice saying an agreement "has the potential to breathe life into millions of works that are now effectively off limits to the public."

The judge said it made no sense to stage the fairness hearing on Oct. 7 when it appears that the deal will be rewritten. He asked parties to the case to appear on that date to discuss how it will proceed but said he will not hear from objectors or supporters, though they are free to attend.

He said he wanted to proceed "as expeditiously as possible" because the case was already four years old.

In a statement on its Web site acknowledging the postponement, The Authors Guild said: "We'll continue to work on amending the settlement to address the Justice Department's concerns."

John M. Simpson, a consumer advocate with Consumer Watchdog who testified about the deal before the House Judiciary Committee, said any agreement should also involve input from Congress.

He said the agreement as it now stands would have given a monopoly over the digitizing of .

"The judge put his fingers exactly on the issues in the case," Simpson said.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Brazil passes trailblazing Internet privacy law

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Google book settlement facing antitrust scrutiny

Apr 29, 2009

Google's settlement with US authors and publishers over its book scanning project still needs the green light from a US judge but it may first have to pass muster with the US Justice Department.

Feds balk at Google book deal, hopes for changes

Sep 19, 2009

(AP) -- The U.S. Justice Department advised a federal judge Friday that a proposed legal settlement giving Google Inc. the digital rights to millions of out-of-print books threatens to thwart competition ...

Top US copyright cop opposes Google book deal

Sep 10, 2009

(AP) -- The nation's top copyright official has joined the mounting opposition to a class-action settlement that would give Google Inc. the digital rights to millions of out-of-print books.

Key DOJ opinion due in Google's digital book deal

Sep 18, 2009

(AP) -- The U.S. Justice Department is expected to file court documents that may help determine the fate of a class-action settlement that would give Google the digital rights to millions of out-of-print books.

Recommended for you

Brazil enacts Internet 'Bill of Rights'

2 hours ago

Brazil's president signed into law on Wednesday a "Bill of Rights" for the digital age that aims to protect online privacy and promote the Internet as a public utility by barring telecommunications companies ...

Brazil passes trailblazing Internet privacy law

Apr 23, 2014

Brazil's Congress on Tuesday passed comprehensive legislation on Internet privacy in what some have likened to a web-user's bill of rights, after stunning revelations its own president was targeted by US ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

SK Hynix posts Q1 surge in net profit

South Korea's SK Hynix Inc said Thursday its first-quarter net profit surged nearly 350 percent from the previous year on a spike in sales of PC memory chips.

FCC to propose pay-for-priority Internet standards

The Federal Communications Commission is set to propose new open Internet rules that would allow content companies to pay for faster delivery over the so-called "last mile" connection to people's homes.

Brazil enacts Internet 'Bill of Rights'

Brazil's president signed into law on Wednesday a "Bill of Rights" for the digital age that aims to protect online privacy and promote the Internet as a public utility by barring telecommunications companies ...

Is nuclear power the only way to avoid geoengineering?

"I think one can argue that if we were to follow a strong nuclear energy pathway—as well as doing everything else that we can—then we can solve the climate problem without doing geoengineering." So says Tom Wigley, one ...

When things get glassy, molecules go fractal

Colorful church windows, beads on a necklace and many of our favorite plastics share something in common—they all belong to a state of matter known as glasses. School children learn the difference between ...

FDA proposes first regulations for e-cigarettes

The federal government wants to prohibit sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels under regulations being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration.