D-Day for Google book deal
Google’s controversial plan to make millions of books available online will be heard by a federal court judge later today.
The search giant’s proposals would see it pay $125 million to the Authors Guild and Association of American publishers to create a massive repository of digitised books, where authors and publishers can register works and receive a portion of the revenues earned from ads, subscriptions and sales.
The deal will be ruled on by Judge Denny Chin of the Southern District Court who will listen to the testimonies of 26 interested parties, including Google, the US Department of Justice, and the Open Book Alliance representing Amazon, Microsoft and Yahoo – which all oppose the deal.
Approval of the settlement will open the virtual doors to the greatest library in history. To deny the settlement will keep those library doors locked
The Open Book Alliance claims that a verdict in Google’s favour would give the search giant a monopoly on online books sales. “Google is focused on becoming the sole owners of an immense digital library that will improve the company’s advertising-based search business,” say the alliance. “This de facto exclusive licence will provide Google with an enormous advantage over its search competitors”.
However, Google has argued that the deal is crucial to the development of the internet. “Approval of the settlement will open the virtual doors to the greatest library in history. To deny the settlement will keep those library doors locked,” the company says in its court filing.
Representatives from France and Germany’s publishing industry will also appear at the hearing, which has been coming since 2005 – when Google was first sued by the Authors Guild and Association of American publishers for “massive copyright infringement”.
Google managed to hammer out the $125 million settlement, but ran into trouble again when the Department of Justice raised antitrust issues.
Opposition from rivals, most notably Amazon, forced judge Chin to delay the hearing from the proposed October 2009 date to wade through the evidence.