A US judge set February 18 for a hearing on the revised legal settlement between Google and US authors and publishers that would allow the Internet giant to scan and sell millions of books online.
Judge Denny Chin also granted preliminary approval to the agreement in a move welcomed by Google but which opponents said has no bearing on whether he will give a green light to the settlement at the February hearing.
Chin on Thursday also set January 28 as the date for groups to lodge objections to the controversial and complicated class action settlement with his Southern District of New York court.
The US Justice Department, whose reservations about the original agreement forced Google and the authors and publishers to go back to the drawing board, has until February 4 to make its views known.
Google and the authors and publishers submitted a revised settlement to Chin last week which seeks to address the copyright and anti-trust concerns raised by the Justice Department and others to the original agreement.
Google and the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers reached the settlement last year to a copyright infringement suit they filed against the Mountain View, California, company in 2005.
Under the settlement, Google agreed to pay 125 million dollars to resolve outstanding claims and establish an independent "Book Rights Registry," which would provide revenue from sales and advertising to authors and publishers who agree to digitize their books.
Amid objections from foreign rights holders, the revised settlement narrowed the definition of books covered under the settlement to those registered with the US Copyright Office by January 5 or published in Australia, Britain, Canada or the United States.
(c) 2009 AFP
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