After a month of scrambling, Google has presented a revised version of their book settlement to the federal courts, hoping that the illusion of compromise will quell their biggest detractors.
They have limited the scope of their theft to books from English-speaking countries and have created an "independent fiduciary" that will try reaaaal, reaaaaalllll hard to find the rightsholders of orphan books while these books are being exploited for profit in absentia. They have not addressed the fundamental problem of the settlement: the special immunity that Google will have to scan and sell copyrighted books without getting sued.
WHAT WE ALL WANTED FROM GOOGLE
1). An "opt in" settlement class, where Google only gets the rights to books that the rightsholders have agreed to relinquish, ensuring that no one is crushed by the momentum of Google's huge bad deal
2). Protections from censorship, abuse, spying, and deletion, in addition to privacy restrictions regarding the data that Google will be able to collect from their customers
WHAT GOOGLE IS GIVING US
1). They are no longer stealing books from Europeans, because Europeans know their rights and would bury Google with lawsuits.
2). More bureaucracy dedicated to finding the "parents" of these orphan books
From James Grimmelmann at the New York Law School:
"The DOJ all but invited Google and the plaintiffs to empower the Registry to license Google's competitors; they declined that all-but-invitation. They're going to try to tough this one out; the DOJ will have to decide whether to back down or to fight, as this amended settlement doesn't give it one of the central changes it asked for."
Honestly, I'm not too worried about this Settlement revision, because I think it is a slap in the Justice Department's face and will be treated accordingly. I think as a result of Google's hubris and condescension, this Settlement will now be torched and terminated, root and branch.
So carry on, Google. Carry on.
"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake." -- Napoleon
Posted by miracle on Mon, 16 Nov 2009 12:32:43 -0500 -- permanent link