US court: Google book settlement not “fair, adequate and reasonable”

U.S.  Judge Denny Chin released his decision today on whether to approve the class action settlement with Google involving the Google book scanning project. Judge Chin rejected the settlement as not being fair, adequate, and reasonable.

His 48 page reasons were summarized as follows:

While the digitization of books and the creation of a universal digital library would benefit many, the ASA would simply go too far. It would permit this class action – which was brought against defendant Google Inc. (“Google” )to challenge its scanning of books and display of “snippets” for on-line searching to implement a forward-looking business arrangement that would grant Google significant rights to exploit entire books, without permission of the copyright owners. Indeed, the ASA would give Google a significant advantage over competitors, rewarding it for engaging in wholesale copying of copyrighted works without permission, while releasing claims well beyond those presented in the case.

Although the motion for final approval of the agreement was denied, it was done “without prejudice to renewal in the event the parties negotiate a revised settlement agreement.”

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2 thoughts on “US court: Google book settlement not “fair, adequate and reasonable””

  1. Darryl Moore says:

    Perhaps this is a blessing in disguise for Google, as well as the rest of us. It will force them to argue that they have a legitimate ‘fair use’ right to do what they are doing. That is the argument they should have been making in the first place, but were not doing for the sake of expediency. It will be a great benefit for everyone if they do successfully present this argument.

  2. The judge made some important comments on Google’s conduct which would have a bearing on the fairness of Google’s approach. You might consider his remarks in forming your conclusion on whether Google would have a fair use defense.

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