Open Book Alliance Wants DOJ to Listen
Microsoft abandoned its Live Search Books effort in May 2008, ostensibly to focus on verticals with high commercial intent, according to this post from Satya Nadella, senior vice president, research and development, for Microsoft's Online Services Division. In the October 2008 settlement with authors and publishers, Google announced its own plan for book search; if the plan comes to fruition it would make the search giant the de facto online book repository for the world's books. The Internet Archive is building an Internet library to allow researchers, historians and scholars to access historical works online.While companies fear Google's control over the e-book market, advocates and other parties are opposing the deal for a range of concerns. Some fear the deal gives Google too much control over digitized books, particularly over "orphan works," or those books that are out of print and whose authors or rights holders are unknown. Others are concerned that Google has not allowed for provisions to protect readers' privacy. In recent weeks, the American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Frontier Foundation, as well as professors from the University of California, have written objections or called for amendments to the deal. Soon, the Open Book Alliance will train its guns on Google. Brantley said he became aware Reback held a similar concern about the deal and contacted him. Together, they reached out to companies for help and to unify and provide a common voice to articulate the set of concerns the various parties have about the deal. Brantley said he and Reback also realized a group with Internet giants and Google rivals Microsoft, Yahoo and Amazon would capture the attention of the DOJ, which is also investigating the Google Book Search pact. Judge Denny Chin is reviewing for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Chin is holding a fairness hearing Oct. 7. Concerned parties have until Sept. 4 to file objections with the court. The Open Book Alliance is not filing an opposition to the court, according to Brantley. Read more about this challenge on TechMeme here.
This issue dates back to 2005, when authors and publishers filed a class-action lawsuit against Google because they were concerned Google's bid to scan millions of books from libraries and offer them online would violate their copyrights. In the settlement, Google agreed to pay authors and publishers $125 million for the right to scan and offer the books online to individuals and libraries for fees. Google also agreed to share sales from Google Book Search with authors and publishers.