Competition Law Copyright

Google Books Settlement Rejected

In a decision sure to have important implications for antitrust, copyright law, digital archiving and class action issues, a federal district court in New York rejected the settlement that Google had reached with layers of publishing houses and authors themselves, to digitise books to create a universal library of digital content.

After a significant lull in the updates on the Google Book Settlement, the long-awaited decision has finally come through, putting to rest the $125 million deal, in its current form which was unsurprisingly challenged by rivals of the search giant, civil society organisations, academics and foreign governments (including India).

The settlement allowed Google to scan books, index them and feed them as results based on search queries. There were several grounds of objections to such a move, and the District Court’s decision appears, on the face of it, to be grounded in these protests. For one, there was a great deal of concern about the anti-trust implications of allowing a single business venture to have the legal right to digitise and display the book online. Secondly, there were important reader’s privacy issues raised and lastly, the possibility that Google could claim “orphan” works was another bone of contention, since it would give the company an effective monopoly over unclaimed books.

I will follow up with a post later tonight after reviewing the decision in full, in an attempt to chart out the grounds for the decision and a brief analysis as well.


  1. AvatarAtlanta Roofing

    That was never the case; Google never was planning to sell it, or demanding exclusive rights. They wanted to be able to provide it for free as long as the author/publisher doesn’t say no.

  2. AvatarParul

    The judgment is totally welcome. Finally we see a proper authoritative legal intervention against Google’s moves. Why do people only see the “providing everything for free” aspect of it? Why do they overlook to see that Google is not doing it for free. It has lots to gain out of Google books software in the long run,that too by violating the authors’/ publishers’ rights.Google’s acts shall not be left unfettered anymore. Moreover, who knows it might start charging for the services which it now provides for free?


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