October 13, 2009
Catching Up on Google Books: Amended US Settlement Due Nov. 9, German Chancellor Denounces Google and Google Copyright and Forgery Trial Underway in Paris
|Washington Legal Foundation Videos|
Another hat tip to James Grimmelman for calling attention to the Washington Legal Foundation's recent publication of three short videos on the Settlement:
James Grimmelmann does a great job of summarizing last week's Google Books Settlement status conference conducted by US District Court Judge Denny Chin. Judge Chin (who, BTW, has been nominated for a seat on the Second Circuit) has set November 9 as the new date for submitting an amended settlement, with a final fairness hearing targeted for late December or early January. Grimmelmann writes "This is a very aggressive schedule, and it puts to rest my theory that the parties were stalling for time." See also Publishers Weekly's Amended Google Deal Targeted for November 9.
If you missed Sergey Brin taking the matter to the court of public opinion, see Mark Giangrande's LLB post, Google Defends Scanning Effort in NYT Op Ed, Barb Dybwad's Mashable post, Google on Books Settlement: It’s About Preserving Human Knowledge and Settling The Google Book Debate and Other Unicorn Fantasies by TechCrunch's Erick Schonfeld.
Using Class Actions to Settle Copyright Disputes. Google's settlement with book publishers is a brilliantly innovative use of the class action mechanism that could reshape copyright law writes Ben Hallman in his American Lawyer article, Scanning the Future. A snip from his very interesting article:
Lawyers who have studied the terms say it is the most creative use of the class action mechanism they have ever seen. If replicated, some say, it could change how businesses use class action law to resolve disputes, and could even lead to collectivized solutions to copyright disputes in other media-music, photos, and journalism, for example. Fred von Lohmann, a lawyer for the digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says the proposed settlement may encourage stakeholders to 'stop worrying about control, and to start worrying about remuneration.'"
Across the Pond. Ahead of the Frankfurt Book Fair (Oct. 14-18, 2009), German Chancellor Angela Merkel denounced Google Books for copyright infringement, said her government opposes the Company's digitization project, and appealed for more international cooperation on copyright protection. Markel's statement echoes the position of the German book publishing industry which attached European regulators for failing to take a stand against the Settlement last month. See German publishers attack EU over Google Books deal.
Also last month, a Paris court began hearing charges of copyright infringement and forgery brought by French publisher, Herve de La Martiniere, in 2006 and now supported by the 530-member French Publisher's Association (SNE) and the Society of Authors (SGDL). The plaintiffs have asked the court to fine Google 15 million euros ($22.09 million) and 100,000 euros for each day it continues to violate copyright by digitizing their books. See Google, French publishers face off in court. [JH]