Friday, August 21, 2009

Tech's Heavyweights Put Google's Books Deal In Crosshairs; Wall Street Journal, 8/21/09

Jessica E. Vascallero and Geoffrey A. Folwer via Wall Street Journal; Tech's Heavyweights Put Google's Books Deal In Crosshairs:

"Three technology heavyweights and some library associations are joining a coalition led by a prominent Silicon Valley lawyer to challenge Google Inc.'s settlement with authors and publishers.

Peter Brantley, a director at coalition co-founder Internet Archive said the group, whose members will be formally disclosed in the next couple of weeks, is being co-led by Gary Reback, a Silicon Valley lawyer involved in the Department of Justice's antitrust investigation against Microsoft Corp. last decade. Microsoft, Inc. and Yahoo Inc. have agreed to join the group. Mr. Reback did not reply to requests for comment.

Microsoft and Yahoo confirmed their participation. Amazon declined to comment.

The coalition is the latest sign that Google's rapid ascent has made it a prime target for competitors, just as Microsoft was reviled as the industry's bully in the 1990s.

Google defended the settlement, struck last October with the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers. "The Google Books settlement is injecting more competition into the digital books space, so it's understandable why our competitors might fight hard to prevent more competition," a Google spokesman said in a statement...

Since last year, a broad group of authors, librarians, European publishers and privacy advocates have argued that the settlement gives Google an unfair copyright immunity in offering future services around digital books that would be tough for other businesses to match."

No comments: