The sequel stinks: critics trash new Google Books settlement

29 01 2010

With everyone from authors to librarians upset about the initial settlement of the Google Books copyright lawsuit, and the US Department of Justice hinting that it was likely to be illegal, the parties involved withdrew it from consideration. After some modifications, it was resubmitted to the court; the deadline for comments on the new version passed yesterday, and many of the same parties submitted new briefs. But anyone who read the initial round may feel like they’re experiencing déjà vu when reading the new batch. For most of the settlement’s critics, very little has changed, and their initial complaints remain.

To be sure, Google has now won over a number of authors groups, including groups from Australia, Canada, and the UK. But in the list of filings tracked by the public index, objections abound. Some of these come from the authors themselves. Ursula K. Le Guin, for example, organized over 350 authors who objected to the fact that the agreement would apply to anyone who didn’t opt out of it, a condition that most observers consider a major change in US copyright policy.

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