>Google has found itself left outside in the proverbial cold. A judge has struck down, seemingly forever, their hope to place all the books in the world, on their online library. I can see both points: Google wanting (billions…er…) readers to have available all the works in the world at their fingertips, the lawyers wanting (billions…er…) authors and rights represented. Onto the article, in part:
After Rejection, a Rocky Road For Google Settlement
By Andrew Albanese
As for a revised agreement, legal experts agree that Chin offered a pretty clear-cut path by encouraging a resubmitted, scaled-back opt-in settlement. The problem is, we’ve been down this road before. In September, 2009, when the Justice Department essentially killed the first draft of a settlement, it suggested that an opt-in settlement could work, and there was much talk of a “road-map” to success. That road map was rejected by the parties, however, as they declined to address this ultimately fatal flaw in their amended agreement.
That was not by oversight. An opt-in deal holds significantly less allure for the parties, especially for Google. For one, there would be no orphan works, and thus the library database envisioned by the plan would be significantly less valuable. “The attractiveness of the proposed settlement to Google is that if conferred to them all kinds of benefits that they couldn’t have gotten from a contract agreement,” Gant explains, “benefits that flowed from being an opt-out agreement. If you flip this from an opt-out agreement to an opt-in, all those benefits disappear.” It remains to be seen if the prospect of no settlement at all is enough to make the opt-in agreement palatable.
Whether for or against the settlement, it is hard to deny the clear benefits it would have brought. Throughout the process, the parties have rested their settlement on those public benefits. The public will now see exactly how committed the parties, as well as the objectors, are to realizing those public benefts. Grimmelmann neatly captured the state of play: “The Google Books Settlement is dead,” he blogged. “Long live the digitized book.”
By Brick ONeil
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