Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Google Book Settlement Update As Suspense Builds

Thumbnail for version as of 19:55, 5 March 2009

We have just passed the one year mark since Judge Denny Chin (above) reserved his decision on the Google Book Settlement (“GBS”). The hearing was on February 18, 2010. Given the quantum and complexity of the material filed, and the extreme importance of the issues, it’s no wonder that he needs time to reach a conclusion and provide reasons. Judge Chin can certainly be very quick and decisive when the circumstances warrant - such as sentencing Bernard Madoff to 150 years in prison.

BTW, I understand that Judge Chin will be speaking at the Fordham IP Conference this year, but obviously NOT about the Google Book Settlement.

Here’s an update on the GBS from the Open Book Alliance, which consists of some very important entities including Amazon, Internet Archive, Microsoft, National Writers Union, and Yahoo.  This update also includes a summary of some of the key objections to the settlement, including citation of the US Department of Justice claim that that "Google and its partners failed to address DOJ’s concerns on foreign rightsholders" - which notably includes Canadians as I have pointed out on several occasions,

It’s interesting to reread their amicus brief, filed by the Gary Reback - the renowned IP and antitrust lawyer. It is strongly critical of the settlement from an antitrust viewpoint, but is quite readable by anyone.  It proposes, as a possible remedy regarding the antitrust concerns,  that Google’s database be made available to competitors on a compulsory licensing basis for fees that would be “not much”.

A reader of my blog has recently reminded me of  one of my New Year's resolutions for 2011:
    5.    Judge Chin will deliver his judgment on the Google Book Settlement approval case in the early part of the year. It will be dramatic. Google will not be happy.

Needless to say, suspense is building. 


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