October 29 – November 5, 2009 Edition

Opponents Ask Judge Not to Limit Arguments in Google Case

NEW YORK, NY/AUTHORLINK NEWS/10/29/09–A group of opponents to the Google Book Search Settlement have written a letter to Judge Denny Chin asking him to allow more time for potential class members to evaluate proposed revisions, according to an item this week in PW. Chin has set a deadline of November 9 for the Association of American Publishers and Authors Guild to submit specific amendments aimed at answering concerns by the Department of Justice and others who have opposed the original agreement. Judge Denny Chin tentatively agreed that any new objections will be limited to the new content in the hope of scheduling a final hearing in December or early January.

The opposition group, in their letter to Chin, said it would be unfair to “limit the notice, time and scope of objections.” They also questioned whether the timeline for revisions is realistic, given the highly complex

legal and technical issues and the sheer size and scope of the case, potentially affecting every author in the U.S. and abroad.

The revised settlement agreement seeks to address copyright and antitrust concerns raised by the U.S. Department of Justice in a September filing which urged the court to reject the deal in its current form.

The opposing group said in its letter to Chin, “Any amended settlement will add a new level of complexity, requiring careful analysis not only of the changes, but also of the way they affect all the other implications of the settlement.

“We believe that the Court should ensure robust notice to class members,” the letter said. “Given the large size and diverse interests of the class members, plus the multiple concerns raised by the Department of Justice and many of the foreign and domestic objectors about the adequacy of the class representatives to represent those interests, we are concerned that the determination of whether the amendments are ultimately beneficial to the class may be more complex than in other cases where the amendments to class action settlements added only small improvements for the class.”

Many detractors don’t think the issues outlined by the government could be addressed in such a brief time. Some believe the settlement may undergo massive changes before final Court approval, revisions that may include elimination of orphan works, all foreign works, or possibly making the settlement opt-in only. European publishers, authors, and booksellers have been adamantly opposed to the settlement, along with many publishers and authors in the U.S.