26 September 2009


Google Settlement Fairness Hearing Adjourned

We just received word that Judge Denny Chin granted the motion of authors and publishers to adjourn the fairness hearing scheduled for October 7th. While noting that the current settlement raises significant issues, Judge Chin says that "the proposed settlement would offer many benefits to society, as recognized by supporters of the settlement as well as DOJ. ... It would appear that if a fair and reasonable settlement can be struck, the public would benefit."

Judge Chin ordered the parties to the settlement to appear on October 7th for a status conference "to determine how to proceed with the case as expeditiously as possible."

We'll continue to work on amending the settlement to address the Justice Department's concerns.

A copy of Judge Chin's order is here.

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Justice Department "Does Not Want Opportunity Lost," Urges Revisions

Beating their midnight deadline by about 90 minutes, the Justice Department on Friday filed a brief calling for modifications to the Guild's class-action settlement with Google over Google's scanning of millions of library books without permission. The Justice Department said the parties to the settlement should modify the settlement to address certain copyright, antitrust, and class-action concerns. While it opposes the settlement agreement as it now stands, the Justice Department "strongly supports" the settlement's goals of creating new markets for out-of-print works and committed itself to working constructively with the parties on a revised settlement.

The Justice Department urged everyone to seize the moment, saying, "this case offers the potential for important societal benefits, the United States does not want the opportunity or momentum to be lost."

The brief of the Justice Department is available here.

Also available at our website is the Guild's testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on September 10th. We argued that the settlement would help cure a market failure -- the inability of readers, students, and scholars to access out-of-print books -- by creating valuable new markets for those works. Authors Guild Testimony.

Finally, we ask you to take a moment to read Books In Limbo, Columbia University professor James Shapiro's article on the educational and scholarly benefits of the settlement. Books In Limbo was first published in The Huffington Post. James Shapiro is a member of the Guild's Council.