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Google's deal for book digitization rejected by judge, Books plans sent back to drawing board

Vlad Savov
March 22, 2011
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It's taken a long, long time to fully consider Google's proposed $125 million settlement with publishers and authors of out-of-print works, but now the ruling has been handed down and it's not the one the Mountain View team wanted. Circuit Judge Chin, who had preliminarily approved the deal back in November 2009, has returned with the new conclusion that actually it goes "too far" in Google's favor. The origins of this settlement stem from a class action lawsuit filed against El Goog for a book digitization project it began back in 2004, and it's important to note that terms were agreed way back in 2008, before a bunch of external objections made them revise the document to its current state and refile it with the court in '09. Since then, the Department of Justice has had a look at antitrust concerns relating to Google potentially having a monopoly on orphan works (those whose author cannot be identified) and Amazon, Microsoft and Yahoo have all piped up to say it's a bunk deal. Now, the one man standing between us and a whole ton of web-accessible reading materials has agreed with them. He does leave a pretty large door open for reconciliation, however, should Google be willing to accede to less favorable terms. Let's just hope whatever else transpires doesn't take another year and a half to do so.

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