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.