Concept & Editing by: Dr. Niti Dewan
Google’s ambitious but controversial project of digitising all the books in the world has hit another speed bump. A US District court denied approval of the proposed Amended Settlement Agreement to be entered between Google and various authors and the Authors Guild. The Court stated “The question presented is whether the ASA is fair, adequate, and reasonable. I conclude that it is not.”
To briefly sum up the facts of the case- The Authors Guild and others had sued Google in 2005 for copyright infringement for Google digitizing millions of books that were under copyright. The authors also sought injunctive relief. In 2006 negotiations for settlement began. In 2008 the parties filed a proposed settlement in the Court. This however triggered many objections. In 2009 the Amended Settlement Agreement (“ASA”) was filed for which notice was circulated. Once again hundreds of objections were raised; the court conducted a fairness hearing in Feb 2010.
The Court rejected the ASA stating "While the digitization of books and the creation of a universal digital library would benefit many, the ASA would simply go too far……It would permit this class action--which was brought against defendant Google Inc. to challenge its scanning of books and display of 'snippets' for on-line searching--to implement a forward-looking business arrangement that would grant Google significant rights to exploit entire books, without permission of the copyright owners. Indeed, the ASA (Amended Settle Agreement) would give Google a significant advantage over competitors, rewarding it for engaging in wholesale copying of copyrighted works without permission, while releasing claims well beyond those presented in the case."
To read the Court’s Decision on the matter please click here