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The Economists' Voice 2.0The Financial Crisis, Health Care Reform, and More$
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Joseph Stiglitz and Aaron Edlin

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231160155

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231160155.001.0001

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The Google Book Settlement

The Google Book Settlement

Real Magic or a Trick?

Chapter:
(p.232) Chapter 30 The Google Book Settlement
Source:
The Economists' Voice 2.0
Author(s):

Pamela Samuelson

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231160155.003.0030

This chapter focuses on the proposed settlement of the Authors Guild v. Google lawsuit that charged Google with copyright infringement for digitizing millions of books for its Google Book Search (GBS) initiative. Proponents of the proposed settlement, which was announced in October of 2008, cast it as a win-win-win: for Google, the public, and rights holders who would stand to benefit from Google’s commercialization of books in the GBS corpus if they signed up with the Google Partner Program, or a new collecting society, the Book Rights Registry (BRR), which would be established upon approval of the settlement. However, a closer examination of the terms of the proposed settlement casts the deal in a far different and more troubling light. There are three main problems with the settlement. First, there are insufficient checks and balances in the settlement agreement to prevent abuses that seem likely to manifest themselves over time. Second, this settlement is deeply unfair to tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of members of the class on whose behalf the plaintiffs in the Authors Guild case purport to be acting. The third are the antitrust objections of the Department of Justice.

Keywords:   Authors Guild v. Google, settlement, copyright infringement, intellectual property, Google Book Search

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