Friday, November 13, 2009

Google Battles For Book Rights; Forbes, 11/12/09

Oxford Analytica, via Forbes; Google Battles for Book Rights:

"A settlement between Google and a U.S. court on the digitization of books is expected this week, after Google presents a new version of its proposed settlement with the Association of American Publishers and the Authors' Guild. If approved, it will enable the full roll-out of Google Books in the U.S. market.

However, in October, the European Commission announced that it wanted to resolve the copyright problem in advance of the U.S. company, which had hitherto set the pace on this issue...

New approach. The Commission has recently taken the initiative on issues of digitization and copyright. Interestingly, while Information Commissioner Vivien Reding has talked much about the possibilities for an E.U. approach to the issue, the Commission's paper makes no direct mention of Google. Perhaps the Commission is trying to walk a line between its own enthusiasm for an E.U. solution, and the clear hostility of some member states towards Google Books. This new stance is in contrast to Reding's earlier "pro-Google" stance and may be related to her concerns to secure a further term in the Commission.

Outlook. While a U.S. settlement for Google looks likely to be reached this week, it may not be acceptable to critics at home and abroad. This provides an opportunity for the Commission to push forward with a European regime for digitized libraries. This will depend on the member states' willingness to harmonize copyright rules, a process where progress in the past has been slow."

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