Google, the Author's Guild, and the Association of American publishers have decided to take the advice of the Department of Justice and return the Google Book Settlement to the drawing board indefinitely in order to change key parameters and ostensibly make the Settlement legal, fair, and non-exclusive.
From the memo to adjourn:
"In short, both the United States government and the parties are agreed: "[A] properly structured settlement agreement in this case offers the potential for important societal benefits." Therefore, as the United States government put it, no one wants "the opportunity or momentum to be lost."
It is because the parties wish to work with the DOJ to the fullest extent possible that they have engaged, and plan to continue to engage, in negotiations in an effort to address and resolve the concerns expressed in the U.S. Statement of Interest. The parties are committed to rapidly advancing the discussions with the DOJ."
A status hearing will now take place November 6th instead of the "fairness hearing" scheduled for October 7th. The fairness hearing has been canceled. At this new status hearing, the plaintiffs will discuss where they stand as far as reforming the Settlement to cope with antitrust issues, foreign rights issues, and privacy issues.
I don't know why they are still calling this "negotiations." Who is negotiating with whom? This is a "we got caught; we are sorry; now we are gonna fix it" session.
There's basically only one thing that needs to be fixed in this Settlement: Google should not be the only company in the world that has legal immunity when it comes to publishing orphan books. Any company or individual should be able to scan and electronically publish in-copyright, out-of-print literature if Google is allowed to do it.
Also, the "Book Rights Registry" should be a public institution; not a private "non-profit."
Also, Google -- and all other electronic publishers -- should be prohibited from keeping tabs on what you read in their library and using it in a criminal investigation.
But enough ornery sniping.
Winners must be gracious and humble. Today is a good day for the law and for business. Today is a good day for fiction and writers.
Posted by miracle on Wed, 23 Sep 2009 02:42:24 -0400 -- permanent link