On Friday, September 4th, the (already extended) Opt-Out Deadline for the Google Book Settlement will come to a close. So if you're an author, illustrator, a publisher, or someone who owns a U.S. copyright as of January 5, 2009, you're probably not reading this... But, if you are an author, illustrator, a publisher, or someone who owns a U.S. copyright, then you are probably included in the gigantic Google settlement.
If I am just catching you up with the not-so-latest, then here's a conveniently short description:
Later this year, a judge will decide on the settlement. But, the-soon-to-be-monopoly, Google, has some mighty big opponents on the other side of the ring. Three of the biggest: Microsoft, Amazon.com, and Yahoo!. Bloomberg.com reports that "A coalition including Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo! Inc. argue that Google is trying to control the access and distribution of the world’s largest database of books."
This lawsuit involves the Google Library Project. In 2004, Google announced that it had entered into agreements with several libraries to digitize books, including books protected by U.S. copyright law, in those libraries’ collections.
These big corporations aren't the only ones raising strong points. Germany-yes, the country-protests too! Germany's main argument, however, focuses on the effects on the E.U., agreeing that The Google Book Project “runs afoul of the applicable German national laws, as well as European public initiatives to create non-commercial worldwide digital libraries. ”
The overall consensus seems to be: STOP trying to monopolize, Google!
Personally, I'm still not sure where I stand on the whole debate. I have a feeling this blog entry will be a multiple-parter. What I do know, however, is that it is important to me that my personal information remain secure and private. Can you handle that, Google?
My next question: Why is the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department investigating this settlement?
For more information about the settlement, click here.