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Reactions to Google Books Settlement Rejection

U.S. Circuit Court Judge Denny Chin has rejected the $125 million settlement negotiated between the Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers and Google. We’ve collected responses from Google, publishers, authors and the federal judge below.  Follow this link to read the complete decision.

Authors Guild president Scott Turow said that they still hoped to reach an agreement, adding had this statement: “Regardless of the outcome of our discussions with publishers and Google, opening up far greater access to out-of-print books through new technologies that create new markets is an idea whose time has come … Readers want access to these unavailable works, and authors need every market they can get. There has to be a way to make this happen. It’s a top priority for the Authors Guild.”

Google managing counsel Hilary Ware had this statement: “This is clearly disappointing, but we’ll review the Court’s decision and consider our options. Like many others, we believe this agreement has the potential to open-up access to millions of books that are currently hard to find in the US today. Regardless of the outcome, we’ll continue to work to make more of the world’s books discoverable online through Google Books and Google eBooks.”

Macmillan CEO John Sargent had this statement on behalf of the publishers involved in the settlement: “[The decision] provides clear guidance to all parties as to what modifications are necessary for its approval. The publisher plaintiffs are prepared to enter into a narrower Settlement along those lines to take advantage of its groundbreaking opportunities. We hope the other parties will do so as well.”

Sargent concluded:  “Publishers are prepared to modify the Settlement Agreement to gain approval. We plan to work together with Google, the Authors Guild and others to overcome the objections raised by the Court and promote the fundamental principle behind our lawsuit, that copyrighted content cannot be used without the permission of the owner, or outside the law.”

The judge concluded: “the ASA is not fair, adequate, and reasonable. As the United States and other objectors have noted, many of the concerns raised in the objections would be ameliorated if the ASA were converted from an ‘opt-out’ settlement to an ‘opt-in’ settlement.”

eBookNewser has an excerpt from the decision: “While the digitization of books and the creation of a universal digital library would benefit many, the ASA would simply go too far …  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.”

Editor’s Note: This post was updated as the story evolved.

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