Monday, March 16, 2009

The Great Book Bank Robbery, Part 18 - Google World

There were three interesting issues raised in the article in Publishers Weekly ‘Drummond Talks Google Settlement at AAP Meeting’. David Drummond is senior v-p for corporate development & chief legal officer at was invited to talk about the settlement between the parties at last week’s AAP annual meeting.

1. He is reported as saying that Google resisted the idea of “pushing a legal point to a conclusion,” and rather than see fair use vindicated in court, decided it was more important to take advantage of the opportunity to find an agreement that could benefit the world.

Some may question whether they consciously set out to ensure the point on ‘fair use’ was never clarified as this would have left them either out in the cold if they had lost, or in a competitive position if they won. Now the benefit is not Google Earth, but Google World?

2. Google has generally been reluctant to sell content, it realized that at some point it would have to and the sale of digitized books is an example of that. He said Google fully intends to actively sell and promote whatever products are created following the judge’s approval of the agreement.

At what point did they decide to sell content and become a bookseller at the start of the program, during the litigation process or when negotiating the settlement?

3. The settlement covers U.S. publishers only, but Drummond said Google is eager to reach deals with publishers worldwide.

This clearly declares the intent to globalize the deal and raises the question of recognition and conformity with territorial rights especially where the rights are with different publishers. It also says that others need to be fully engaged now and ensure that they are not simply knocked over like dominos.

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