Google Books Settlement Proceedings to Drag on Until Mid-February
The latest revision of the Google Books settlement has been granted preliminary approval by a New York district judge, though it will be some time before approval is finalized–if it is finalized. Judge Denny Chin of the Southern District of New York said Thursday that he will hold a hearing Feb. 18 on the new agreement, which will restore access to millions of out-of-print books, but may also one day give the company a monopoly on the largest digital library in the world.
Filed last Friday, the latest version of the settlement is more limited in scope, but has still drawn the ire of critics, who claim it remains rife with “anti-trust, class action and copyright violations.”
Chin evidently disagrees, and Google (GOOG) is obviously quite pleased that he has done so. “The preliminary approval order sends a positive initial message; this agreement promises to benefit readers and researchers, and enhance the ability of authors and publishers to distribute their content in digital form,” the company said in a statement.
“We remain hopeful that the agreement will receive final approval from the court,” Google continues, “and will realize the goal of significantly expanding online access to works through Google Book Search, an ambitious effort to make millions of books searchable via the Web.”
In a statement of its own, the Open Books Alliance, one of the settlement’s harshest critics, warned Google not to get too, too hopeful. “Today, in an expected procedural move, Judge Denny Chin granted preliminary approval to the revised Settlement of Google’s copyright infringement lawsuit,” the group said.
“This is not a surprising development and is not any indication that the court will or will not accept the terms of Settlement 2.0,” the Alliance warned. “The same procedural preliminary approval was given to Settlement 1.0, and now sets up a court process that will allow those opposed to the revised settlement to let their objections known to the court. The U.S. Department of Justice has until February 4th to weigh in with the court, as their investigation into the matter continues.”