Judge Gives Google Until Sept 15 to Strike a Deal with the Authors Guild Publishers

Posted by at 2:39 pm on July 19, 2011

A US District judge in New York has given Google, authors, and publishers until September 15 to settle a lawsuit over Google’s plans to create an online digital library. In March, the presiding judge rejected a proposed $125 million settlement. The court battle has been ongoing for six years, and if not resolved in September, the judge has promised a speedy trial.

The conflict began after Google scanned 12 million, mainly out-of-print books, with the intent of creating a pay-for-view library. Publishers and authors, represented by The Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers, filed suit.

Ultimately, Google and the plaintiffs reached a tentative settlement, whereby Google would pay authors and their publishers $125 million, in return for which Google would have the right to sell access to the digitized volumes. Google would also search out authors whose works had been scanned but had not, as of yet, participated in the law suit. The settlement had both supporters and opponents. Amazon, whose Kindle is not compatible with the scanned content, objected, as did Yahoo and Microsoft. The US Department of Justice also objected on legal grounds. Sony, whose e-reader could access the online library, was in favor.

The presiding judge, Denny Chin, however, expressing concerns over antitrust and copyright issues, rejected the settlement.
Judge Chin gave the two sides until early June to work things out, but that didn’t happen. He then extended his deadline until today.

In hearings today, the judge once again encouraged both sides to resolve the dispute quickly. If not settled by the September deadline, the judge warned that he would only give the parties a short time span before the trial would begin.

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