Google given more time to reach book settlement

June 1, 2011
The screen of a computer featuring a Google Book search. A US judge on Wednesday allowed Google and US authors and publishers more time to seek a new settlement over the Internet giant's plan to create a massive online library and bookstore.

A US judge on Wednesday allowed Google and US authors and publishers more time to seek a new settlement over the Internet giant's plan to create a massive online library and bookstore.

US Denny Chin gave and the and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) until July 19 to hammer out a deal to settle a 2005 class action charging Google with over its huge book-scanning project.

In March, Chin rejected a settlement calling for Google to pay $125 million to resolve outstanding copyright claims and to establish an independent "Book Rights Registry" which would provide sales and advertising revenue to authors and publishers.

Google said in a statement Wednesday that it has been "working closely with the authors and publishers to explore a number of options in response to the court's decision.

"At today's status hearing, we asked the court for more time to discuss those options," Google said. "Regardless of the outcome, we'll continue to make the world's books discoverable online through Google Books and Google eBooks."

Google's plan to scan and put online some 15 million books from more than 100 countries has come under heavy criticism in the United States. In France, three leading publishers have also sued Google for allegedly scanning thousands of books without permission.

Supporters of the settlement argued that Google's proposed digital library and e-bookstore would make millions of out-of-print books available and provide a new avenue for authors to profit from their works.

Opponents urged the judge to reject the deal on antitrust, copyright and privacy grounds and said it would give Google exclusive rights to digitize "orphan works" -- out-of-print books which remain under copyright but whose authors cannot be traced.

In his ruling, Chin said the proposed agreement was "not fair, adequate and reasonable" and would give Google "a significant advantage over competitors, rewarding it for engaging in wholesale copying of copyrighted works without permission."

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