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Justice Department Tells Google Books: You'll Have to Do Less Evil than That

You might have heard how the Google Books plan to scan and digitize all the books of the world ran into some legal hiccups-what with that whole...


You might have heard how the Google Books plan to scan and digitize all the books of the world ran into some legal hiccups-what with that whole Authors Guild Inc., et al. v. Google Inc class action lawsuit. Back in September, Google made a number of concessions in hopes of reaching a settlement, including ditching its claim to own the rights scanned books for unspecified future uses. And both authors guild members and the Justice Department are impressed.But by scanning books without permission, it looks like Google has violated copyright law to the tune of about $125 million (which, to be fair, it has agreed to pay). According to Wired's Epicenter blog, neither Google's concessions nor that payment address the real issue of the lawsuit. Although the Justice Department believes that Google Books could provide a real societal benefit by helping build a "Noah's Ark to port our analog past into our digital future," the current settlement might still allow Google to have a monopoly of digital literature down the road. From Wired:
Even if Google agrees to license a massive digital book repository to anyone who wants it at a fair price, it would still have unfair advantages over any other entity in providing the books, and would likely dominate whatever market emerges for selling or embedding advertisements alongside digital books.
It's all about trust(s), no? Google will be back in court later this month trying to move things along. Here's to hoping we end up with an agreeable decision.Photo (cc) by Flickr user Dawn Endico.
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