Google’s plan to digitize books and create the world’s largest digital library and bookstore has received a blow on Tuesday when the federal judge rejected Google’s $125 million class-action settlement with authors and publishers. By this ambitious plan Google was looking forward to digitizing millions of books from various libraries including rare books as well.
Google was sued by the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers in 2005 over its digitizing plans. however, later the authors and publishers agreed for a settlement that would have helped to bring much of the publishing industry into the digital age. But, Google’s settlement agreement was termed as a complex document. It put the burden on authors and publishers to police their works’ inclusion in the archive. It provides that Google will remove books on request, but without an explicit request, it will otherwise digitize anything it can get hold of.
The deal was also opposed by companies like Amazon and Microsoft, few academics, authors, legal scholars, states and foreign governments. The Justice Department opposed the deal, fearing that it would give Google a monopoly over millions of so-called orphan works, books whose right holders are unknown or cannot be found.
Denny Chin, Judge, District Court of Southern District of New York, USA has rejected this settlement concluding that the settlement went too far in granting Google rights to profit from books without the permission of copyright owners, and that it was “not fair, adequate and reasonable”. Further, the Judge stated that “The questions of who should be entrusted with guardianship over orphan books, under what terms, and with what safeguards are matters more appropriately decided by Congress than through an agreement among private, self-interested parties”. He also feared that such settlement will result into “de-facto monopoly” of Google and the right to profit from books without permission of copyright owners. Google is yet to determine on its strategy against the decision.
Authored by Vishal Jain
Image from www.google.com