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Ruling on Google EBooks Settlement Postponed

The Washington Post recently reported that the U.S. District Court has again delayed a ruling on the case over Google’s move to digitize millions of out-of-copy books. Google, whose name has become synonymous with internet search functionality, sought to create a massive online database that would allow its users access to millions of books, many of which were dubbed “orphan works.”Orphan works are texts where the original author or rights holder cannot be located.

The Google Books product has been controversial since its launch in 2004, as many publishers and authors felt they were not fairly compensated when Google made excerpts of copyrighted works and intellectual property available online. Google recently settled a suit brought by the American Publishers and the Authors Guild of America in which it agreed to pay out 125 million dollars to resolve pending claims. This was also done to create an independent unit that would pay out authors and publishers.

As part of the settlement, authors and publishers were given the chance to opt out of the settlement. The settlement is still pending and has been delayed numerous times. Most recently, Judge Denny Chin announced that there was “too much to digest” after hearing over 500 comments from parties who were for and against the Google Books settlement. Among the concerns most recently voiced is the issue of whether or not Google will gain exclusive rights to the titles that it digitizes and publishes on the Internet. Opponents to the settlement as it currently stands include authors, library groups and competitors such as Amazon (that provides the Kindle E-Books service) and Microsoft (that offers Microsoft Reader, a similar service that sells e-books for use on mobile devices and computers). There has been no definitive date announced for when the decision will be made final.

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