• Google Book Settlement Stalls
  • May 7, 2009 | Author: Erach F. Screwvala
  • Law Firm: Robinson Brog Leinwand Greene Genovese & Gluck P.C. - New York Office
  • Today, Judge Denny Chin extended the deadline to opt-out of the Google Book Settlement. First, a little history. Several years ago, Google embarked upon an ambitious project to scan every book ever created. Working with several institutional libraries, Google has, thus far, scanned approximately 7 million volumes.

    In 2005, the Authors Guild and others commenced a class action against Google alleging that the scanning project infringed upon the individual authors copyright rights. We won't get into the basis for the lawsuit here. In 2008, the parties reached a complicated settlement that addresses Google's prior actions in scanning the 7 million volumes and also grants Google significant rights to continued use of its digital library going forward.

    The forward looking aspects of the settlement are unusual. Class action are typically resolved by providing some measure of compensation for prior acts and an agreement that the behavior that led to the class action is not repeated. This settlement is different. The settlement agreement runs 334 pages long (no, that's not a typo) and includes more in attachments (200 pages) than primary text (134 pages). A vast array of rights are implicated in the settlement agreement and a new entity -- the Registry -- is created to administer those rights on behalf of authors.