Washington Hotline

Jenni Terry


Google Book Search settlement

Judge Denny Chin’s ruling in the Google Book Search settlement—an anticipated decision for the library community—has created more questions for the future of mass digitization projects and the fate of orphan works.

On March 22, Chin, for the U.S. District Court Southern District of New York, rejected the settlement among the parties in The Author’s Guild et al. v. Google Inc.

In his opinion, he stated that, “While the digitization of books and the creation of a universal digital library would benefit many, the [Amended Settlement Agreement] ASA would simply go too far. It would permit this class action—which was brought against defendant Google Inc. to challenge its scanning of books and display of ‘snippets’ for on-line searching—to implement a forward-looking business arrangement that would grant Google significant rights to exploit entire books, without permission of the copyright owners. Indeed, the ASA would give Google a significant advantage over competitors, rewarding it for engaging in wholesale copying of copyrighted works without permission, while releasing claims well beyond those presented in the case.”

In response, Jonathan Band, the Library Copyright Alliance’s (LCA) legal consultant on copyright, updated the GBS March Madness chart created last year to depict the possible paths forward with the settlement (available at www.librarycopyrightalliance.org/bm~doc/gbs-march-madness-diagram-final.pdf).

The potential options for the parties moving forward include: 1) appealing the decision, 2) negotiating a new agreement, 3) moving forward with litigation, or 4) walking away. The next step is the status conference Chin scheduled for April 25, where the parties to the settlement instruct the judge on how they will proceed with the case.

In addition, LCA (comprised of ALA, ACRL, and the Association of Research Libraries) also enlisted Band to issue “A Guide for the Perplexed Part IV: The Rejection of the Google Books Settlement” (available at www.librarycopyrightalliance.org/bm~doc/lca_gbsstmt24mar11.pdf) to help inform the library community about the basis for the judge’s decision and its possible impact on libraries.

At the recent ACRL 2011 conference in Philadelphia, Corey Williams, a lobbyist and associate director of the ALA’s Washington office, led an informal roundtable discussion on the impact of the judge’s decision (pending the parties next steps) and the potential for renewed interest in pursuing legislation on orphans works—those copyrighted works whose rights holders can not be identified or found.

Discussion among ACRL members reflected a strong interest in librarians developing their own set of best practices for digitizing and making orphan works available. In addition, concerns were expressed that relying solely on a fix from Congress with regard to orphan works may result in legislation language that would be unduly burdensome, and therefore, not useful to the library community.

Additional information about the case, including the complete “Guide to the Perplexed” series, is available at wo.ala.org/gbs/.

National Library Legislative Day

The 2011 National Library Legislative Day (NLLD) is quickly approaching. The event will be held on Monday, May 9, and Tuesday, May 10, at the Liaison Hotel in Washington, D.C.

With a Republican-led House of Representatives and a Democrat-led Senate, many leaders in Congress have different ideas about the best course of action for our nation—particularly as we continue our efforts to recover from the economic recession. Members need to hear from constituents that support for libraries is always the best thing for our nation.

ALA has reserved a block of rooms at the Liaison Hotel at a reduced rate at the hotel, but they are going quickly. The block is listed under American Library Association 2011. Call 1-866-AFFINIA to make a reservation.

For more information or to register for NLLD, go to www.ala.org/nlld.

Copyright 2011© American Library Association

Article Views (Last 12 Months)

No data available

Contact ACRL for article usage statistics from 2010-April 2017.

Article Views (By Year/Month)

2021
January: 1
February: 2
March: 1
April: 2
May: 0
June: 2
July: 2
August: 0
September: 2
October: 3
November: 1
December: 1
2020
January: 1
February: 1
March: 3
April: 1
May: 1
June: 1
July: 1
August: 1
September: 1
October: 2
November: 0
December: 2
2019
January: 3
February: 2
March: 3
April: 1
May: 4
June: 6
July: 2
August: 3
September: 1
October: 2
November: 1
December: 1
2018
January: 2
February: 2
March: 3
April: 3
May: 4
June: 2
July: 0
August: 2
September: 2
October: 1
November: 3
December: 1
2017
April: 0
May: 1
June: 3
July: 2
August: 3
September: 3
October: 3
November: 2
December: 2