Google, the Department of Justice, and you
In it’s bid to digitize the world, Google has moved forward again in it’s application to digitize the worlds libraries. Lately however, things have taken a decidedly more serious turn with the Department of Justice weighing in with it’s concerns. The DoJ became the latest party to file its concerns about Google’s book settlement and it appears the search giant will have to either make tweaks to the deal, or allow the feds—and maybe even Congress—to poke around. You should be betting on the tweaks.
While there were some good points made by the DoJ :
The United States strongly supports a vibrant marketplace for the electronic distribution of copyrighted works, including in-print, out-of-print, and so-called “orphan” works. The Proposed Settlement has the potential to breathe life into millions of works that are now effectively off limits to the public. By allowing users to search the text of millions of books at no cost, the Proposed Settlement would open the door to new research opportunities. Users with print disabilities would also benefit from the accessibility elements of the Proposed Settlement, and, if the Proposed Settlement were approved, full text access to tens of millions of books would be provided through institutional subscriptions.
They also made it very clear, that there are valid concerns about the settlement as it exists now.
..the breadth of the Proposed Settlement – especially the forward-looking business arrangements it seeks to create – raises significant legal concerns. As a threshold matter, the central difficulty that the Proposed Settlement seeks to overcome – the inaccessibility of many works due to the lack of clarity about copyright ownership and copyright status – is a matter of public, not merely private, concern. A global disposition of the rights to millions of copyrighted works is typically the kind of policy change implemented through legislation, not through a private judicial settlement.
In the end, Google is most likely going to make a few tweaks to it’s compensation agreement and try to placate everyone as best as possible.