Google Walled Off by New York Federal Judge
New York Federal Judge Denny Chin has rejected a settlement Google reached with publishers in 2008. Google and publishers were previously at odds because of Google’s intent to create the world’s first digital library.
The settlement would give Google the right to display excerpts of out-of-print books, even if they are not in the public domain or authorized by publishers to appear in Google Books.
According to court documents, Google now has a library of 12 million publications.
In 2004, Google began scanning hard-to-find books held in university libraries, so that they could be readily available to millions of users, instead of collecting dust. When it began scanning books that were still under copyright protection, The Authors Guild and Association of American Publishers filed a class action suit against it.
Along with the original complaints, are additional concerns held by authors, publishing houses, and other competitors. Some authors have pointed out that while Google only shows snippets of books that are under copyright and in print, permission was not given to scan in the first place. These authors have expressed wariness over Google’s future plans. Along with authors, Amazon and Microsoft are opposed to the settlement, claiming it violates existing copyright laws.
Hilary Ware, counsel to Google, says the company is considering other options.
"Like many others, we believe this agreement has the potential to open up access to millions of books that are currently hard to find in the U.S. today," Ware said.
Of particular concern to the judge was the “orphan book”—a book still under copyright but out of print, whose author cannot be located.
Chin ruled that how to deal with these books “are matters more appropriately decided by Congress than through an agreement among private, self-interested parties.”Continued on the next page