Tuesday 28 April 2009

Google Four more months to opt in ... or out

Writing in CNET News, Daniel Terdiman relates that Judge Denny Chin (US District Court for the Southern District of New York) has granted authors worldwide four more months in which to decide whether to participate in a settlement involving Google's online Book Search service. If it were not for this ruling, authors would have had only till 5 May to decide whether to join the settlement or opt out. The deadline is now said to be 4 September 2009, with the final fairness hearing taking place in New York on 7 October.

The proposed settlement of the action filed by the Authors Guild and the American Association of Publishers in 2005 hinges on Google's ability to include content from books online. A particularly contentious issue is that of "orphan" works which are still under copyright, but the authors or copyright owners of which cannot be traced.

Background note: This dispute (more properly The Authors Guild Inc et al v Google Inc, Case No 05 CV 8136) reached a provisional settlement last autumn (or should that be "fall"?) under which Google is to obtain broad rights to monetise the books it has scanned into its BookSearch system for a down payment of $125 million and an ongoing 63% of revenue: see here), with over a quarter of the up-front payment going towards setting up the Book Registry, a clearing house (or quasi-collecting society) for authors and publishers to claim rights and receive payments.

Text by John Enser and Jeremy Phillips

1 comment:

CS Clark said...

I'm a little confused over who really asked for the extension. PW says it was a group of authors, while Google claims it for everyone, including itself.

Don't know if it's related to the extension or not, but the deal is being looked at by the DoJ for antitrust implications.