The Google book settlement: delayed indefinitely?

The New York Times is reporting that the Google book settlement has been delayed by the judge, perhaps sensibly given the scale of the objections raised against it.

While most readers of this blog will be well acquainted with what Google proposes to do (scan everything it can and pay copyright holders a royalty), it’s worth quoting Miguel Helft’s article and the judge’s comments:

“The current settlement agreement raises significant issues, as demonstrated not only by the number of objections, but also by the fact that the objectors include countries, states, nonprofit organizations, and prominent authors and law professors,” Judge Chin wrote. “Clearly, fair concerns have been raised.”

But Judge Chin also echoed comments made by the Justice Department last week that the settlement, if properly revised, could offer great benefits, most notably, by providing broad access to to millions of out-of-print books that are largely locked up in a small group of university libraries.

“The settlement would offer many benefits to society, as recognized by supporters of the settlement as well as D.O.J.,” he wrote, referring to the Department of Justice, which filed its own brief in the case last week. “It would appear that if a fair and reasonable settlement can be struck, the public would benefit.”

This suggests that the case has a good chance of success if it can negotiate the various objections raised to it, offering a potentially dazzling new vista for literary collection agencies and the possibility of real money for authors of long out-of-print books – but also, of course, the threat of the Googlization of Everything.

“The current settlement agreement raises significant issues, as demonstrated not only by the number of objections, but also by the fact that the objectors include countries, states, nonprofit organizations, and prominent authors and law professors,” Judge Chin wrote. “Clearly, fair concerns have been raised.”
But Judge Chin also echoed comments made by the Justice Department last week that the settlement, if properly revised, could offer great benefits, most notably, by providing broad access to to millions of out-of-print books that are largely locked up in a small group of university libraries.
“The settlement would offer many benefits to society, as recognized by supporters of the settlement as well as D.O.J.,” he wrote, referring to the Department of Justice, which filed its own brief in the case last week. “It would appear that if a fair and reasonable settlement can be struck, the public would benefit.
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