From Consumer Watchdog's letter to the Justice Department:
"Implementing such major changes in the way the publishing industry would function through a class action settlement is unprecedented. Normally Congress or regulatory bodies would be involved in a transformation of this magnitude and the interests of all stakeholders could be considered. Because that has not been the case, it is all the more important for the Justice Department to intervene in the proposed settlement before the settlement receives court approval.
"When rights holders balked, Google negotiated a settlement that simply rewards the most vocal dissidents and gives the Internet giant an effective monopoly over digitized books. No party to the settlement represents consumers and public interest."
Consumer Watchdog goes on to assert that the settlement creates a backhanded anti-compete clause that effectively creates massive protections for Google as far as copyright infringement on "orphan books" (out-of-print books that Google does not yet own) -- protections that a smaller competitor would not be able to fight. This means that while Google will be protected from stealing books online because of their brazen, illegal, comprehensive infringement, regular good-old day-to-day infringement (the kind you are probably doing right now in another window) will still be heavily prosecuted.
You will not be able to say, "Hey, GOOGLE pirated books, and they didn't get fined. In fact, they got to own the rights to the books forever. I should get to own the rights to 'Tron' forever. I am better at distributing it! Look how much I seed! TV never plays Tron, therefore I should own Tron."
Consumer Watchdog's letter comes hot on the heels of the revelation that Microsoft is funding New York Law School's legal research against Google, a compromised position for the rag-tag band of outcasts who are among the very few Americans interested in this clever, hyper-opportunistic info-grab: Americans who have come to the startling conclusion that an information search engine company should not be able to buy all of out-of-print literature in the world for $125 million dollars, which is basically the same thing as "no money."
The deadline to file grievances in the Google trial is May 5th, which is less than a month away.
Posted by miracle on Tue, 07 Apr 2009 10:07:50 -0400 -- permanent link