30 November 2009

It's Amended Settlement Day!

We file the amended Google settlement with the court today, but it's not quite out of the oven yet. While you're waiting, we thought we'd share some of the thoughts of others on the original settlement.

Normally, we wouldn't recommend a piece that in any way compares out-of-print books to sewage, but this piece in Slate is by Tim Wu, a Columbia Law professor and former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. Mr. Wu specializes in copyright law and telecommunications policy and is best known online as the popularizer of the net neutrality movement. He's also chairman of the board of Free Press, a nonprofit dedicated, among other things, to combating media monopolies. For those wary of Google, his concluding paragraph is worth reading:

"But if you want to put Google in its place, the book project is the wrong way to do so. It is Google's monopoly on Internet search that is valuable and potentially dangerous, not a quixotic project to provide access to unpopular books. So hold on to that sense of wariness, but understand that in this case, it's misplaced. To punish Google by killing Book Search would be like punishing Andrew Carnegie by blowing up Carnegie Hall."

Here's Mr. Wu's article: http://www.slate.com/id/2229391/pagenum/all

The editorial departments of some major publications found much to like in the settlement as well. Have a look--

The Economist: http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=14363287
New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/29/opinion/29wed3.html
Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/07/AR2009080703382.html

We're confident they'll all find even more reasons to cheer the amended settlement. We're holding to our core principles: lots of access to out-of-print books for readers, students and scholars; compensation and control for authors and publishers.

We'll be back later with details on the amended settlement.

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