New York
– The U.S. Justice Department has voiced its objection to the revised
settlement between Google (NASD:  GOOG) and authors over the Internet giant’s plans to create
a digital index of the world’s books. While the Justice Dept. appreciated the
"substantial progress" made between the two sides since it objected
to the first version of the settlement submitted in September, it said this
week that "class certification, copyright, and antitrust issues
remain" with the revised settlement deal.

The Justice Dept. believes the
deal as structured would still give Google an unfair advantage in the digital
books marketplace, and also an unfair boost to its search engine business.

at issue is the service’s policy of asking publishers and authors to opt-out should
they not want their works included, while U.S. copyright law requires that authors
opt-in to users of their works, the Justice Dept. said.

The agency did provide
guidelines to Google that it said could help to gain its approval of a

The Justice Dept.’s filing was praised by advocacy group Consumer
Watchdog, as well as by the Open Book Alliance, a group that includes Google
rivals Yahoo, Microsoft and Amazon, as well as a number of writers’ groups and
library associations.

A hearing is scheduled on Feb. 18 in New York for U.S. District Judge Denny Chin to
consider the revised settlement agreement.


Related Links:

(Consumer Watchdog statement)
(Open Book Alliance statement)
(DMW previous coverage)