problem for many publishers and publishing groups is that they feel
that Google is infringing on their copyright by making the works
available in a digital version. Google proposed a settlement with
author groups in the U.S. in September that would allow it to
scanning the books. The same week, the FTC asked Google to draft
that the scanned books offering would allow. This was an effort to
prevent Google from targeting ads at readers that was "contrary
to reasonable expectations."
Reuters reports that
Google and author groups are trying to answer
the questions relating to copyright concerns that have been
raised in the U.S. and overseas. Google filed a 30-page court filing
Friday that eliminated a section of the proposed settlement deal that
would require the registry created, if the deal was enacted, to give
Google at least as good a deal as any competitor to access the
registry and the digitized works.
The Justice Department felt
that the registry had a conflict of interest since it was tasked with
locating the writers and paying them for their online sales. The
unclaimed funds from the use of author's works under the new plan
would eventually go to charity if the writers can’t be located. The
new agreement has to be approved by the courts. The Justice
Department recommended that the original version of the plan be
rejected because it might also violate antitrust law and
Richard Sarnoff, president of the Bertelsmann
Digital Media, "We've had numerous discussions and quite a lot
of dialogue with the Justice Department and feel we've addressed
their key concerns."
Part of the new plan would also
limit book in the registry to works with copyrights in the U.S. or
those published in Australia, Canada, and the UK. This was in
response to significant international objection to the deal on
grounds that non-English speaking authors had no negotiations in the
deal with Google.
Reuters reports that German book
publishers were criticizing regulators in Europe for not taking a
stand against the Google book deal. The French were also seeking to
block the deal and reportedly asked a Paris court to fine Google for
infringement when books by the publishers were digitized.
is also fighting
the deal in courts to prevent Google from digitizing books.
Amazon has a stake in the deal because a free digital Google library
could put a crimp in sales from the Amazon digital bookstore.
court document filed by Amazon stated, "[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
quote: its share of allegations that it has a monopoly in the online search/advertising world