Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Google Book Settlement; Opt-Out Period Approaching

In 2005 several authors and publishers filed class action lawsuits against Google over the agreement that Google obtained with several libraries. The agreement allows Google to digitize the libraries’ collections and make them available in searchable format over the Internet. Authors and publishers objected to this unauthorized copying of their copyrighted work. In response to these lawsuits, Google entered into a tentative settlement agreement by which Google will pay $125 million plus future royalties into a Books Rights Registry to be distributed to the rights holders pursuant to a formula. In exchange, Google will have the right to digitize and make millions of books available online. Rights owners have until September 4, 2009 to “opt out” of the settlement. The New York court’s hearing on the fairness of the settlement is scheduled for October 7, 2009. The EU is undergoing a similar fairness review of this agreement, and the U.S. Department of Justice is reviewing the anti-trust implications of this settlement.

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