Has GBS 2.0 Remedied Department of Justice Objections?

As the January 28 deadline for Google Books Settlement (GBS) 2.0 public comment quickly approaches, it is an excellent time to take a step back and remember the criteria that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will use to judge the quality of the revised settlement.

The DOJ called for several specific requirements including the following:

  • Any forward looking business models must not use opt-out, but use opt-in for absent rightsholders
  • Foreign rightsholders should be adequately represented
  • Author/publisher representatives that are parties to the settlement agreement must be bound by the settlement and not have separate deals
  • Funds escrowed from unclaimed works cannot be diverted to other rightsholders
  • Book rights registry should have additional obligations to find absent rightsholders to avoid conflicts among class members
  • Settlement notice needs to be more robust if broad class is being used
  • Settlement cannot allow horizontal pricing agreements by rightsholders
  • Settlement cannot create de facto exclusive copyright license for Google
  • Settlement cannot rely on additional class action litigation to ensure competition

The Open Book Alliance has thoroughly analyzed GBS 2.0 to see if it was altered to allay the DOJ objections.  While, some cosmetic alterations were made, the substance is still the same: GBS 2.0 imposes a Google monopoly and violates copyright laws and practices.    If GBS 2.0 were a home remodel, Google re-arranged the furniture and changed the drapes but neglected to fix the gaping hole in the roof and the flooding in the basement.

Our nation’s literary heritage should NOT be in the hands of one commercial entity.  The priorities needs to be  openness and access above search, advertising and profits.

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What Experts Are Saying About the Settlement…

Important Dates

December 14, 2009
Notice begins

January 28, 2010
Deadline for authors to opt out of the settlement

January 28, 2010
Deadline to file objections and/or amicus briefs

February 4, 2010
Deadline to file notice of intent to appear at Fairness Hearing

February 4, 2010
DOJ response

February 11, 2010
Plaintiffs move for final approval

February 18, 2010
Final Fairness Hearing

March 31, 2011
Deadline to claim Books and Inserts