John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Nov. 9 Deadline Set for Amended Google Book Deal

fingerNovember 9. That’s the day on which Google, the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers are to submit an amended version of their book settlement, one that addresses concerns that it might give them unfair advantage over other digital libraries or violate copyright laws abroad.

The judge presiding over the case, who’d been urged by the U.S. Department of Justice to reject an earlier version of the settlement, set that date during a morning hearing so brief that when MediaMemo’s Peter Kafka asked Google CEO Eric Schmidt about it at a company roundtable this morning, Schmidt was unaware a date had been set. When Peter broke the news to him, Schmidt didn’t have much of a comment, but he did speak briefly about the settlement and Google’s view of it earlier in the morning.

From Peter’s paraphrased notes on the session:

With respect to book search, we were doing something that we thought was appropriate. We were sued, and after three years of discussion we’ve come to a settlement. This is perfectly normal. From our perspective, this is a settlement we like, it’s a settlement we think they’ll like, and we’ll hear what the court says, within minutes. Let me reframe your question: There’s nothing particularly exclusive about what we’re doing. The rights registry we’re doing is for the benefit of orphan works. “It’s not a particularly good business for us. We’re doing it because we think it’s the right thing to do.” We don’t think the settlement is perfect, but we think it’s good.

Though it’s not yet clear what form the revised settlement might take or what adjusted terms are being discussed, Google and the authors and publishers it has allied with it have quite a few critics to appease, including academics, librarians, privacy advocates, would-be rivals and the French and German governments.