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19 Sep 2009 07:14
The US Justice Department urged a New York court on Friday to reject Google’s controversial deal with authors and publishers that would allow the search engine giant to create a massive online digital library.
The Justice Department said in a filing that the court “should reject the proposed settlement in its current form and encourage the parties to continue negotiations to modify it so as to comply with ... copyright and antitrust laws.”
The filing was to a New York court considering settlement of a 2005 class action lawsuit which accused Google of copyright infringement for scanning libraries full of books.
The proposed settlement, which was reached last October, would establish a registry to pay authors for works in Google’s book search.
The project has been criticised for a variety of reasons, including charges by rivals that Google is using the settlement to get a near monopoly status in the nascent digital book industry.
In addition, research libraries worry that access will become prohibitively expensive.
Privacy rights activists were concerned about Google’s use of information about readers to advertise.
The Justice Department indicated that ongoing talks with Google could lead to changes in the settlement that would make it acceptable.
“The parties have represented to the United States that they put this court on notice of their ongoing discussions and that they may present a modified version of the proposed settlement in the future,” the department said in its filing late Friday.
Under the terms of the settlement, Google will pay $125-million to create a Book Rights Registry, where authors and publishers register works and are paid for books and other publications that the search giant would put online.
A fairness hearing on the settlement has been set for October 7 in the federal court in Manhattan. - Reuters
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