Feeds

States wade into Google book deal row

Never judge a search giant by its cover

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Hostility to Google’s proposed settlement with authors and publishers continues to build across the pond, where five state attorneys general have bemoaned the Books Rights Registry deal.

US state legal advisors from Missouri, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Washington filed briefs this week, according to Market Watch.

Their complaints join a chorus of disapproval levelled at Google, which has come under fire after agreeing a digital books settlement with the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers in October last year.

The deal followed a class action copyright infringement lawsuit filed by the two groups - on behalf of all US right holders - in 2005.

Google agreed to pony up $125m to resolve outstanding claims and establish an independent “Books Rights Registry” that would generate revenue for sales and ads to authors and publishers who consent to having their books digitised online.

The attorneys general argue that Google’s plan to use payments when the rights holders can’t be tracked down could be unlawful.

Under the settlement the registry, and not the state treasurer, would keep the proceeds on the author/s or publisher/s behalf while they continue to try and locate those individuals or groups, according to the brief filed jointly by the states.

They allege the unclaimed payments could "constitute a misdemeanor which carries a penalty ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 and up to 12 months imprisonment” because they ignore state unclaimed property laws.

Additionally Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said he was mulling antitrust and copyright concerns that had been raised about the deal.

The legal briefs are the latest in a long line of arguments filed with Judge Denny Chin of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York ahead of a 7 October hearing about the proposed settlement. The court is yet to approve the deal, so submissions both for and against the registry have swelled.

On Wednesday Chin confirmed the court had received around 400 submissions about the proposed settlement. The judge also extended the deadline for submissions again to 21 September due to what he described as the “apparent public interest in the case”.

Separately, Google is in talks with the US Department of Justice over possible changes to its controversial Book Search settlement.

Mountain View wonks have reportedly teamed up with the US authors and publishers on the other side of the pact in an effort to alleviate the DoJ's concerns that it would hamper competition in the fledgling ebook market. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.