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Friday, September 11, 2009

Consumer Watchdog Criticizes Google Books Settlement criticizes the proposed Google Books settlement. From their press release:

“Congress must resolve the ’orphan rights’ issue,” [Consumer Watchdog’s John M. Simpson] said. “It could also step in with legislation about what exactly constitutes fair use in the digital age, though that matter could be fairly adjudicated by the courts. Privacy guarantees are another area appropriate for legislative action.”

He said the problem is Google’s monopolistic digital library and how it would be implemented. “The proposed class-action settlement is monumentally overbroad and invites the court to overstep its legal jurisdiction, to the detriment of consumers and the public,” he said. “The proposed settlement agreement would strip rights from millions of absent class members, worldwide, in violation of national and international copyright law, for the sole benefit of Google.”

“The parties in the suit negotiated the Google Books settlement in secret and there was no opportunity to represent and protect the broad interests of all consumers,” Simpson told the Committee. “This deal simply furthers the relatively narrow agenda of Google, The Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers.”

Amazon also recently opposed the settlement, saying, according to PC World, that it “creates a cartel of authors and publishers ... operating with virtually no restrictions on its actions, with the potential to raise book prices and reduce output to the detriment of consumers and new authors or publishers who would compete with the cartel members”.

[Thanks Juha-Matti and Carmen!]


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