This past Saturday, I participated on This Week in Google, a Netcast hosted by TWiT.tv founder Leo Laporte and hosts/bloggers Jeff Jarvis and Gina Trapani.
But most of the talk time was devoted the Google Book Search deal, which of course dominates the news these days.
It is proving to be the bane of my existence because every time I turn around, there is a new development, or at least the hint of one that bears scrutiny.
Leo asked me whether New York District Judge Denny Chin would actually decide whether or not to approve the deal between Google and authors and publishers after he holds a hearing on the matter Oct. 7.
I said I wasn't sure, but that I doubted it because the Department of Justice just asked Chin to reject the settlement until it can be modified to address concerns that it violates class-action, copyright and antitrust laws.
Profound, I know. But this case is unprecedented and I'm no lawyer, so I'm learning the process on the fly.
The DOJ does not want Google hoarding the out-of-print orphan works, whose authors cannot be found. The DOJ also has concerns that the deal does not adequately satisfy the government's rules for class-action agreements or properly make room for others, presumably Amazon, to access orphan works.
Today, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and others are reporting that Google, the Author's Guild and the Association of American Publishers are scrambling to change the deal to assuage the various antitrust, copyright and privacy concerns.
This comes despite Google CEO Eric Schmidt's exasperation that no one else is offering to scan orphan books online as an alternative. Amazon doesn't even get a nod because, well, Amazon is limiting its purview to public domain works to date.
I'll reiterate what I said on the show and expand on it some.
This is going to take some time to suss out. Google and the authors and publishers will have to make changes, agree on them, then resubmit their settlement proposal to the New York court, only to bear the scrutiny all over again.
Net-net -- no settlement until at least 2010, if it even sees the light of day at all.