is no stranger to allegations that it wields too much power in the
search and advertising market online. However, one of the most
controversial of the programs Google operates has been its book
fear that by allowing Google to scan books and put them online, the
company will have a monopoly and a competitive edge in the digital
book market that other providers can’t match. Among the major tech
firms that have spoken out against the Google Books deal are
Microsoft and Amazon. Google fired
back against the two companies in February 2010 stating that
its scanning service would not harm libraries, which was one of the
claims cited by opponents to the book scanning program.
the deadline for the Google Books deal to move
forward this summer draws near, opponents to the program are
still fighting to stop the digitization of orphan works by Google.
The latest attempt to stop the book deal comes from the Open Book
Alliance (OBA) to convince the judge presiding over the case that the
deal – reached between Google, the American Association of
Publishers, and the Authors Guild -- violates
provisions of the Berne Convention for the Protection of
Literary and Artistic Works.
provision being cited by the OBA states that no copyrighted works can
be used without express permission of its author. The OBA has hired
the legal firm Macht, Shapiro, Arato, and Isserles to represent them
on the matter. Cynthia Arato, one of the partners at the firm, issued
a memo concerning the case that read in part, "If approved, the
settlement would (1) grant Google automatic rights to exploit
digitally millions of books without requiring Google to obtain any
authorization from any foreign copyright owner or author; and (2)
require these foreign rights holders to jump through burdensome hoops
simply to exercise a watered-down contractual right—that the
settlement creates—to halt such use."
states that it has not yet fully reviewed the document, but it is
sure that its deal with the publishers and authors unions meets all
U.S. and international copyright laws. A Google spokesperson stated,
"The settlement offers an extraordinary opportunity to unlock
access to millions of books for students, readers, and researchers
across the U.S. It exposes readers to information they might not
otherwise see, and it provides authors and publishers with a new way
to be found."
maintains that the settlement infringes on the Trade-Related Aspects
of Intellectual Property rights rule that states any deal granted by
a World Trade organization member to the nationals of one member
country should be granted to all WTO members. So far, the Google
settlement deal only applies to certain WTO member countries.
said, "If the settlement is approved, it may give rise to legal
action against the U.S. before an international tribunal and will
certainly expose the U.S. to diplomatic stress."