Publishers, Authors Have Nine Months to Work out Differences with Google: Judge

By Ed Silverstein September 16, 2011

A federal judge hopes that within nine months Google, publishers and authors will be able to unravel the ongoing dispute over the company’s digitizing of books.

Reuters reported that the controversy has been going on for about six years as Google develops what would be the biggest digital library in the world.

U.S. District Court Judge Denny Chin said he is “still hopeful” the parties could come up with a settlement, Reuters said.

Chin, however, is realistic about the discussions. “You're essentially starting from scratch,” he told attorneys from Google and those from groups representing authors and publishers. Google has been having talks with the Authors Guild and Association of American Publishers on the unresolved issues, according to Reuters.

Michael Boni, an attorney who is representing the Authors Guild, said his organization “very much wants to work out a settlement.”

In addition, the Association of American Publishers said the five publishers who brought the case against Google “have made good progress” in the case, Reuters said.

But there has been continuing conflict. For example, the Authors Guild has sued the University of Michigan, the University of California, the University of Wisconsin, Indiana University and Cornell University after Google allegedly gave the universities “unauthorized scans of some 7 million books under copyright,” according to Reuters.

In addition, the two sides are trying to amend a settlement from a lawsuit in 2005 brought by the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers.

Chin ruled against the settlement because of antitrust and copyright issues. In his ruling, Chin rejected the $125 million settlement of the six–year–old lawsuit after hearing objections from interested parties, according to a report from The Associated Press carried by TechZone360.

Chin wants the settlement to include “only books whose copyright owners agree to the arrangement, rather than require authors to ‘opt out,’” Reuters said.

Google has scanned about 15 million books from U.S. libraries.

Ed Silverstein is a TechZone360 contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

TechZone360 Contributor

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