Google 'Opt-in Settlement' in the Works Said to Judge in the Google Book Search Lawsuit

On July 19th status conference in the Google Books case, a federal judge Chin started threatening to put schedule pressure on the parties; However, a Google attorney Michael Boni, speaking for Google and the plaintiffs, told a federal judge today that the two sides involved in the long-running Google Book Search lawsuit settlement are negotiating […]

On July 19th status conference in the Google Books case, a federal judge Chin started threatening to put schedule pressure on the parties; However, a Google attorney Michael Boni, speaking for Google and the plaintiffs, told a federal judge today that the two sides involved in the long-running Google Book Search lawsuit settlement are negotiating an "opt-in settlement" in an attempt to finally put the case to rest.

Boni, asked Judge Chin for more time, until the middle of September, to continue their negotiations. Unlike last time, however, Judge Chin expressed some mild impatience. He was concerned that this six-year-old case wasn't moving forward, so he suggested that he might give the parties a deadline to make them negotiate a little more efficiently.

In the process of trying to reassure Judge Chin that the negotiations were making real progress, while at the same time not promising any particular outcome, Boni then explained that the parties "have been aiming for an opt-in settlement*." That would likely please Chin, who specifically suggested when he rejected the original settlement in March that an opt-in settlement would be a good idea:

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.

A follow-up status conference is scheduled for September 15 at 11:00 AM. If the parties don't have at least an agreement in principle by then, Judge Chin will give them a "tight discovery schedule."

*What that might mean is not obvious. It could mean an actual opt-in settlement, one that binds only class members who send in claim forms. It could mean a settlement in which Google commits to an open-ended offer to all class members. it could mean a narrower, scanning-and-searching-only settlement, so that copyright owners can "opt in" to book sales by striking their own individual deals with Google.

[Via: The Laboratorium ]