Amazon: Google book deal possibly illegal, definitely bad

3 09 2009

This Friday is the deadline for documents to be filed with the court that’s overseeing the Google book settlement, which will absolve the search giant from liability for its book scanning activities and set up an independent entity that will oversee the distribution of e-books from its digital stacks. Amazon, given its sales of both print and e-books, has joined a group that opposes the deal, but that hasn’t stopped it from filing an objection to it individually. Amazon’s lawyers spend over 40 pages arguing why that the deal should be rejected on copyright and antitrust grounds, while throwing in a very explicit admission that it’s bad for its business model.

The proposed settlement arose form a series of lawsuits that accused Google of violating copyrights via its book-scanning agreements with various libraries. The settlement would absolve the company of further claims and set up an independent body, the Books Rights Registry, which would oversee payments for authors arising from Google’s use of the works; the Registry would also have the right to license the digital library to commercial or private entities.

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