Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Congress to Weigh Google Books Settlement; New York Times, 9/9/09

Miguel Helft via New York Times; Congress to Weigh Google Books Settlement:

"On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing titled Competition and Commerce in Digital Books that will be all about the landmark settlement of the class action filed by the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers against Google in 2005.

Although the hearing is likely to attract some attention, the voice that settlement watchers are most eager to hear is that of the Justice Department, whose lawyers are investigating whether the agreement violates antitrust law. The Justice Department has until Sept. 18 to file its views with the court.

The debate Thursday is certain to be lively, with Google’s top lawyer, David Drummond, squaring off against Amazon’s top public policy executive, Paul Misener. Other speakers include Paul Aiken of the Authors Guild, Marc Mauer of the National Federation of the Blind and David Balto of the Center for American Progress, who support the deal.

Others witnesses are likely to cast a more skeptical eye on the agreement, including John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit that has opposed the agreement; Randall Picker, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School who has raised antitrust concerns; and Marybeth Peters, the head of the United States Copyright Office, who has also raised questions about the deal."

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