Amazon objects to Google Books settlement

The online retailer is among the many organizations opposing the proposed agreement

In a strongly worded letter, Amazon added its voice to the growing chorus of cries urging a court to reject the proposed Google Books settlement.

The proposed agreement "creates a cartel of authors and publishers ... operating with virtually no restrictions on its actions, with the potential to raise book prices and reduce output to the detriment of consumers and new authors or publishers who would compete with the cartel members," said Amazon's complaint, filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Google and a group of book publishers and authors came to an agreement about how to manage Google's efforts to scan books and make them digitally available after the publishers sued the search giant for copyright infringement. The settlement proposal, reached last October, is under review by the court.

Amazon, which itself has scanned millions of books, argues that the settlement violates federal antitrust laws by establishing Google as the exclusive distributor of electronic copies of "orphan" works. Orphan books are those that are still in copyright but whose authors cannot be found.

"A court cannot approve a class action settlement that violates federal antitrust laws," Amazon said in the letter. The settlement agreement proposes to set up a nonprofit Book Rights Registry, funded in part by Google, that would set the price for digital versions of orphan works as well as subscription rates for access to libraries of books.

The agreement does not preclude another company from setting up a similar arrangement, but detractors say it would be extremely difficult for another organization to strike the same type of deal with the publishing industry, so Google would be left with an effective monopoly over the digital copies of the books.

Other letters of opposition to the settlement appeared this week from the German government, the daughter of science-fiction writer Philip K. Dick, folk singer Arlo Guthrie, groups representing professional photographers and publishing houses in the Netherlands.

The settlement does have its supporters. European Commissioner Viviane Reding said she supports the settlement agreement, as has e-book developer Sony.

The court is accepting objections to the proposed settlement through Oct. 8.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags amazonGoogle books

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?