Google Books Settlement Still Unsettled

107373734 Google Books Settlement Still Unsettled

Scan, scan, scan.

Judge Denny Chin expressed frustration at a hearing today about how long everyone is taking to come up with a plan for a settlement between the Author’s Guild and the Association of American Publishers (plaintiffs) and Google Books (defendant). At issue is just how Google will compensate writers whose books it scans while the work is still under copyright.

The 2005 lawsuit alleged copyright infringement when Google Books embarked on its plan in 2004 to scan every bound page on the planet (or something like that — they’re at about 12 million books). They also happened to scan millions of books still under copyright.

The case reached a proposed settlement, which Judge Chin then rejected for its monopolistic tendencies and for allowing Google to post book snippets without first getting the authors’ permission. His rejection of the settlement was applauded by Google’s competitors, as well as by independent publishers and libraries, but it meant the litigants had to return to the drawing board.

Still no deal! Next hearing is September 15, at which point Judge Chin said he would start cracking the whip. “One thought is to put you on a schedule, give you a deadline,” he said. No, not that!