deal wasn't popular with Google's competitors -- Amazon, Microsoft,
and Yahoo. These competitors recently shacked up with the Open
Books Alliance, a group that was opposed to basically all things
Google Books related. The group is taking its complaints to
federal court, challenging
the legality of the settlement.
Yesterday, Amazon filed a
criticism at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of
New York. Writes Amazon, "Amazon also brings a unique
perspective to this court because it has engaged in a book scanning
project very similar to Google's, with one major distinction: As to
books still subject to copyright protection, Amazon has only scanned
those for which it could obtain permission to do so from the
"[The Google Books deal] is
unfair to authors, publishers, and others whose works would be the
subject of a compulsory license for the life of the copyright in
favor of Google and the newly created Book Rights Registry.
[It] represents an unprecedented rewriting of copyright law through
Google does have some powerful
supporters as well. Sony,
the American Association for People with Disabilities, and the
European Commission have all filed legal briefs in support of the
These groups support the site for a variety
of reasons. First, it provides orphan works, which are
currently unpublished and otherwise would be made unavailable.
It is estimated that over half the books published in the last
century have become orphaned. The site also provides easier
access for people with disabilities such as impaired vision or
impaired movement, which otherwise would have trouble getting access
to these books or getting them in a form they could use.
Aiken, executive director of The Authors Guild, one of the groups
that settled with Google says that Amazon's criticism is
self-centered. He says they want to make Kindle the primary
source of digital books. He states,
"Amazon apparently fears Google could upend its plans."
is essentially fighting for the service's life. If federal
courts overturn the settlement, Google's online library would likely
become prohibitively expensive, and it would likely be forced to
abandon the project for the time being. Microsoft, Amazon, and
Yahoo wouldn't be terribly sad to see this happen.
its supporters from civil rights groups and advocates for people with
disabilities will be holding a press conference later this afternoon
in defense of the settlement. We'll post an update then.
quote: I wouldn't know what "Better to ask forgiveness that permission" means
quote: The content owners however were very nervous about putting these audio tracks on BDs, specifically allowing PC users access to them. After all, if you had unencrypted access to one of these tracks you could potentially...uh...idunno, turn them into MP3s? Stop going to the movies? I have no idea.