Google and a coalition of authors and publishers are hoping a second draft of a legal settlement will clear the way through a thicket of copyright laws to let Google to build the library of the future. The second version, filed close to midnight Friday night in federal court, needs to placate the Justice Department and a federal judge, who nixed the first draft over copyright and monopoly concerns.
The new version gives more representation to unknown and unfindable authors of out-of-print books. Under the new agreement, Google would get the right to scan their still copyrighted books without permission, and then use snippets in search results, show full-text in the licensed institutional copy, as well as sell copies of the books.
But the Open Book Alliance, a motley collection of objectors that range from Yahoo to the non-profit Internet Archive, says the changes don’t go far enough to keep Google from getting a monopoly on the world’s books.
Authors and publishers sued Google in 2005, shortly after the search and advertising giant began systematically making digital copies of books in the U.S.’s leading university libraries. Google initially defended showing snippets of the books online as fair use. But in November 2008, Google came to a settlement in the class action suit that covers all authors of books published before January 5 2009. The settlement gave the company far greater rights, along with legal immunity, in exchange for a cut of the profits.