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 newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags amazonGoogle books

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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?