– Google (NASD: GOOG) has filed a rebuttal to the U.S. Department of Justice’s objections to
a settlement over Google’s plans to create a digital index of the world’s books,
setting the stage for a face-off between the two sides in court later this
month. The Justice Dept. raised objections to the first version of the
settlement agreement between Google and authors and publishers, and reiterated
similar objections to the revised settlement that Google submitted to the court
It believes that the agreement will give Google an unfair
advantage in the online books market, and to its search engine.
Dept. also objects to the service’s policy of asking publishers to opt-out
should they wish not to be included, while it contends U.S. copyright
law calls for an opt-in.
In its filing this week, Google tried to rebut these
assertions, as well as those raised by competitors and others, such as the Open
"The purpose of copyright law is to promote the creation
and distribution of expressive works," Google says in the filing.
"The [settlement] advances this purpose as much as any case or agreement
in copyright history."
The company adds: "Google is a new entrant and currently
has zero percent share in any book market. It does not have monopoly power and
there is no ‘dangerous probability’ that it will acquire such power."
the spin from Google’s attorneys, the amended settlement will still offer the
search and online advertising giant exclusive access to books it has illegally
scanned to the detriment of consumers, authors and competition," the Open
Book Alliance said in a statement.
"We continue to wholeheartedly agree
with the Department of Justice’s recent characterization of the settlement as,
‘a bridge too far.’"
U.S. District Court Judge Denny Chin has scheduled a
hearing for Feb. 18 to discuss the revised settlement agreement.
(Open Book Alliance statement)
(DMW previous coverage)