The New York Federal District Court’s rejection of the Google Book Settlement is a victory for the public interest and for competition in the literary and Internet ecosystems. The U.S. Department of Justice and the State Attorneys General who fought to protect consumers and competition should be applauded. Judge Denny Chin’s reasoned and thoughtful analysis was worth the wait.
In his decision, Judge Chin confirmed that the proposed settlement “would give Google a de facto monopoly over unclaimed works” and concluded that the proposed settlement “is not fair, adequate, and reasonable.”
In his conclusion, Judge Chin gave voice to the authors and creators who have long opposed this proposed settlement by urging the parties to consider revising the settlement to an “opt-in” structure. While opt-in is a preferred structure, the Open Book Alliance (OBA) believes it requires complex changes to the proposed settlement and would not address the severe antitrust and privacy problems that the court describes in the decision.
“The ruling ratifies the objections of a diverse cross-section of voices who stood up to Google and its partners – from the Justice Department and State Attorneys General to authors and independent publishers to consumer and privacy advocates and members of the academic and library communities,” said Gary Reback, Counsel to the OBA. “We urge the Justice Department to remain vigilant and continue in its role as a leader in protecting consumers and competition from an entrenched monopoly in online search.”
The Open Book Alliance looks forward to participating in a collaborative process that will focus on developing an open digital public library created to serve the public interest that respects the rights of creators while promoting innovation and competition.
From the Open Book Alliance web page, (http://www.openbookalliance.org/), 3/22/11