Justice Department “Does Not Want Opportunity Lost,” Urges Revisions

Text of e-mail sent to members, September 21, 2009.  

Beating their midnight deadline by about 90 minutes, the Justice Department on Friday filed a brief calling for modifications to the Authors Guild’s class-action settlement with Google over Google’s scanning of millions of library books without permission. The Justice Department said the parties to the settlement should modify the settlement to address certain copyright, antitrust, and class-action concerns. While it opposes the settlement agreement as it now stands, the Justice Department “strongly supports” the settlement’s goals of creating new markets for out-of-print works and committed itself to working constructively with the parties on a revised settlement.

The Justice Department urged everyone to seize the moment, saying, “this case offers the potential for important societal benefits, the United States does not want the opportunity or momentum to be lost.”

The brief of the Justice Department is available here.

Also available at our website is the Guild’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on September 10th. We argued that the settlement would help cure a market failure — the inability of readers, students, and scholars to access out-of-print books — by creating valuable new markets for those works. Authors Guild Testimony.

Finally, we ask you to take a moment to read Books In Limbo, Columbia University professor James Shapiro’s article on the educational and scholarly benefits of the settlement. Books In Limbo was first published in The Huffington Post.  James Shapiro is a member of the Guild’s Council.

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