Amazon joins opposition to Google book deal

Amazon joins opposition to Google book deal
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First Published: Wed, Sep 02 2009. 11 02 PM IST
Updated: Wed, Sep 02 2009. 11 02 PM IST
Washington: Amazon.com Inc joined the opposition to Google Inc’s plan to digitize millions of books, saying that the proposed deal would violate antitrust law.
Amazon, which scans books after getting permission from the copyright holder, said that the court should reject a settlement between Google and the Authors Guild because the book registry envisioned in the settlement would constitute price-fixing.
Amazon.com also argued in a court filing dated on Tuesday that the court assessing the proposed settlement was ill equipped “to balance and make the adjustments necessary to accommodate the many public interests at stake when a new technology emerges that offers both the promise of public benefit and the danger of abuse of both copyright holders and consumers.”
Google’s rivals Microsoft Corp and Yahoo Inc also oppose the plan, while the American Library Association and Association of Research Libraries have asked for court oversight.
Some libraries fear the plan would give Google the unimpeded ability to set prices for libraries, once it scanned books and put them on the Internet. If the service became a necessity for libraries, they would face monopoly pricing, Google’s opponents say.
The US Justice Department is investigating the deal while European Union antitrust enforcers, prompted by Germany, have said they would study it.
The proposed settlement would resolve a lawsuit filed in 2005 by the Authors Guild. The Guild and a group of publishers had alleged copyright infringement.
Google has agreed to pay $125 million to create a Book Rights Registry, where authors and publishers could register works and receive compensation.
The case is Authors Guild et al v/s Google Inc 05-08136 in US District Court for the Southern District of New York.
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First Published: Wed, Sep 02 2009. 11 02 PM IST