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Judgment stalls Google book settlement

Judge declines to reward mass unauthorised scanning

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The 2008 settlement between the Authors' Guild and Association of American Publishers and Google is in limbo for a while, after a New York District Court judge rejected it as "going too far".

The settlement, reached after Google was sued for its mass-scanning of books without permission, had given the Chocolate Factory the green light if it paid US$125 million to copyright holders.

Handing down his judgment, Judge Denny Chin said the agreement gave Google a significant advantage over its competitors. Giving the company the right to scan books and make them available online without copyright holders' permission was, he said, "going too far".

The Wall Street Journal reports that the judge also said the previous agreement had rewarded Google for "engaging in wholesale copying of copyrighted works without permission".

The judge has suggested that the agreement be revised so that copyright owners opt-in to Google's book-scanning programme rather than opting out, as they have to do under the previous arrangement. ®

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