Just a few minutes ago US Circuit Court Judge Denny Chin rejected the $125 million settlement that would have brought an end to this six year long court battle. Here’s a snippet from the decision which explains why the judge rejected it:
While the digitization of books and the creation of a universal digital library would benefit many, the ASA would simply go too far. It would permit this class action–which was brought against defendant Google Inc. to challenge its scanning of books and display of “snippets” for on-line searching – - to implement a forward-looking business arrangement that would grant Google significant rights to exploit entire books, without permission of the copyright owners. Indeed, the ASA would give Google a significant advantage over competitors, rewarding it for engaging in wholesale copying of copyrighted works without permission, while releasing claims well beyond those presented in the case.
One problem with the settlement was that it affected authors and creators who were not involved with the lawsuit. The settlement set up a situation where Google could digitize everyone’s works and then use them until someone objected.
The judge had concerns with this, for obvious reasons. If someone did not join in the lawsuit then they should not be affected by the settlement.
Update: Here is a copy of the decision.