Friday, 11 September 2009


Google Will Allow Access & Resale To Retailers of Digital Database


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Like a heavy weight boxer in the ring taking a few well-targeted blows to the head, Google continues to defend its position and the strengths of the Google Books Settlement, while at the same time clarifying detailed points and casting out its own interpretation and concessions to the gathered crowds.

Yesterday, at the US congressional hearing on the settlement, Google confirmed that it intended to allow online retailers access to their database of out-of-print digital books. These retailers would be able to resell and keep ‘more than half’ of the proceeds from any sale after the deduction of the 67% share paid first to authors and publishers.

Gary Reback, an antitrust lawyer, representing a coalition of opponents to the deal, argued that this offer changed nothing in principal. ‘Other retailers will sell them, but Google will set the price at retail, so nothing changes. They still retain control, that’s the objectionable part–it would just extend their monopoly.’

The US Department of Justice will file its report and opinion on the settlement next Friday with the Federal District Court and Judge Denny Chin who is currently reviewing the submission of objections received this week.



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2 comments:

  1. A burglar who, under threat of losing in court, agrees to leave the door open as he slips away so other burglars can grab what they want is still a criminal.

    Take note of the fact that both Microsoft and Amazon have refused to scan in-copyright books and refused to join Google's scheme. They know the law. Google does too, but it doesn't care. That's a good measure of just much fouler it is than the other two.

    You might want to download this objection sent by the writers in The Japan P.E.N. Club to the court handling the settlement:

    http://thepublicindex.org/docs/letters/japan_pen.pdf

    The settlement, if approved, would Google permit to publish the books of any author in the world who didn't formally opt-out of the settlement by last Friday. Do you know what Google did to "inform" the writers of Japan? They took out tiny one-day ads in two daily newspapers and one in a publisher's magazine. That's all. No other ads, no letters to known authors, even the best-known. And Google made no effort to get the complex 300+ page agreement translated into Japanese. Google deliberately intended to steal the books of Japanese writers without their knowledge or consent.

    A just settlement of this dispute would have Google paying over $1 billion in fines for this gross abuse of copyright law. The pain of paying is the only thing that will get their attention and perhaps change their behavior.

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  2. Ouch-- I'm seeing more and more problems with this settlement as time goes on. But I don't know the answer. Eventually, everything will be digitized. As I hold on to my PDF files desperatel afraid that someone will ""steal" my work, a bootlegger is happily feeding my pages into OCR software somewhere. I don't know the answer, but it all sucks.

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