Friday, February 19, 2010

GBBR: Here Comes The Judge

The ‘G day’ final arrived and not surprisingly Judge Chin declared that he would deliberate before announcing his verdict. Google's opponents made a formidable line up and claimed them to be monopolistic, rapacious, and contemptuous of laws that protect copyright and protect consumers from dominant corporations. Google's who mantra is "Don't be evil" continued to display innocence , but now an increasing number of legal systems and people are questioning how Google defines ‘evil’.

William Cavanaugh Jr. , Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Matters, representing the DOJ stated that “The underlying law is copyright law. This turns copyright law on its head.” He also stated that the issue would be best left to Congress. “If there’s going to be a fundamental shift [in copyright law]. If we’re going to establish compulsory licensing, that should be left to Congress.”

Judge Chin suggested that if the settlement were opt in and not opt out some of the objectors, “you’d eliminate a lot of objections.” The response from Author Guild attorney Michael Boni was, “You wouldn’t have a settlement.”

The Judge hit the nail on the head by saying "I would surmise that Google wants the orphan books and this is what it is about -- orphan books that will remain unclaimed."

We don’t know how long the deliberations will take but only that the publishing industry has been polarized and torn apart by Google’s actions and the perceived need to cut a deal and questionable negotiations. We still believe this is a bad deal, that is about an infringement that was settled by a give away of something no-one owned – orphans.

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