Judge Rejects Google Book Search's Class Action Settlement

In the Google Book Class Action Settlement, today, the court finally announced its decision "a defeat for Google and those who supported the settlement."The Authors Guild brought a class action lawsuit against Google in 2005 for "massive" copyright infringement over its book scanning project. The parties worked out a settlement in 2008 and had sought […]

In the Google Book Class Action Settlement, today, the court finally announced its decision "a defeat for Google and those who supported the settlement."

The Authors Guild brought a class action lawsuit against Google in 2005 for "massive" copyright infringement over its book scanning project. The parties worked out a settlement in 2008 and had sought to finalize that settlement after many rounds of hearings. The settlement called for writers who objected to opt-out or be bound by its terms.

Judge, Dennis Chin found that the proposed settlement terms weren't "fair, adequate, and reasonable." Chin said:

In the end, I conclude that the ASA is not fair, and reasonable. As the United States and other objectors have noted, many of the concerns raised in the objections would be ameliorated if the ASA were converted an "opt-out" to an "opt-in" settlement.

I urge the parties to consider revising the ASA accordingly. The motion for final approval of the ASA is denied, without prejudice to renewal in the event the parties negotiate a revised settlement agreement.

Google via Hilary Ware, Managing Counsel, said: "This's clearly disappointing, but we'll review the Court's decision and consider our options. Like many others, we believe this agreement has the potential to open-up access to millions of books that're currently hard to find in the US today. Regardless of the outcome, we'll continue to work to make more of the world's books discoverable online through Google Books and Google eBooks."

The Authors Guild issued the following statement:

Although this Alexandria of out-of-print books appears lost at the moment, said Scott Turow, "we'll be studying Judge Chin's decision and plan on talking to the publishers and Google with the hope that we can arrive at a settlement within the court's parameters that makes sense for all parties.

Regardless of the outcome of our discussions with publishers and Google, opening up far greater access to out-of-print books through new technologies that create new markets is an idea whose time has come," said Mr.Turow. "Readers want access to these unavailable works, and authors need every market they can get. There has to be a way to make this happen. It's a top priority for the Authors Guild."

Here's the full verdict: