Is Google trying to create a digital monopoly on online books? Microsoft, Yahoo, and Amazon think so.  (Source: EL Civics)
Settlement monopolizes a market they say

Google often goes its own way first, subsequently finding a way to deal with the resulting legal issues.  An excellent example of this was its Google Books content database.  Google began scanning books and posting them online, only to meet with threats from publishers that they might sue.  Google tidied up these legal loose ends with a $125M USD settlement in 2008 and an agreement to create a Book Rights Registry so authors and publishers could register works and get compensation from sales.  Google would get a 30 percent cut of all the sales and get the right to publish "orphan works" -- books with unknown rights holders, estimated to encompass 50-70% of books published after 1923.

However, Google now faces a new challenge, not from the book industry, but from its online competitors, who claim the deal is illegal and will create a monopoly.  Newly partnered Microsoft and Yahoo joined with Amazon as new members of the Open Book Alliance, an Internet Archive initiative.

The group hopes to fight the legality of Google's settlement with the publishers.  States Internet Archive's founder Brewster Kahle, "Google is trying to monopolize the library system. If this deal goes ahead, they're making a real shot at being 'the' library and the only library."

The group looks to push the U.S. federal courts to approve a New York class action lawsuit against Google.  They also hope to drive ahead a US Department of Justice investigation into the impact of the deal.

Some authors don't think the relationship with Google is unhealthy.  Michelle Richmond, author of the New York Times best seller The Year of Fog, states, "The thing I keep hearing from authors is 'I don't know what this settlement really means'. But this is the brave new world and we don't really know where it is going.  Most authors work for so little and start from the point of we are doing this for the love it. But when there is this company that has nothing to do with the creation of the book or its publication, I think a lot of authors are concerned about this being a portal to greater access to their work without compensation for writers."

Even if Google can overcome antitrust scrutiny, numerous issues persist, such as privacy.  The ACLU of Northern California and Electronic Frontier Foundation recently urged Google to do a better job keeping users' reading history private.

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