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Date set for Google books deal

October 9, 2009 | 12:30 pm


Google, the Assn. of American Publishers and the Authors Guild will file new papers Nov. 9 in response to those objecting to their proposed settlement over book digitization. The hearing, delayed from an original date in August, may determine if the settlement can move forward. Our tech blog reports:

The previous agreement was scuttled last month when federal regulators notified the court that the pact may have been vulnerable to antitrust and copyright concerns. The Department of Justice filed an amicus brief after a wave of critics -- including authors, libraries and watchdog groups -- complained that the agreement was unfair.

A plaintiffs lawyer said the sides had been working "around the clock," and that the amended agreement would address the issues raised by the Justice Department, according to the Associated Press.

Google began scanning out-of-print books in major libraries, including the University of Michigan, Harvard, Stanford, Oxford and the New York Public Library, in 2004. By the time the settlement was announced in 2008, millions of books -- including 1.5 million in the public domain -- had already been digitized.What happens next is of great interest to the book world: How will new books fit in? What will it mean for libraries? Will people pay to download digital books? Will a rights registry really be created to administer payments? And who will get the money for existing books that are in the public domain? We'll learn more -- maybe -- in November.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Google book-scanning notice at the University of Michigan. Credit: Joseph Hardin via Flickr.