Google has suffered a rare setback as the US DoJ (Department of Justice) has openly asked a federal court judge in New York to reject a $125 million settlement.
The search giant brokered the deal with the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the Author’s Guild and would have give Google the green light to create a registry of online books, the equivalent of a super virtual library.
Central to the controversy is the creation of a Book Rights Registry; it would have provided consumers with an easy way of purchasing the books and included a moratorium which would have allowed copyright holders to opt-out from the scheme.
The Justice Department justified its decision to oppose the deal by saying that it raised “copyright and antitrust issues” and “should be rejected in its current form”. Other companies like Microsoft, Yahoo and Amazon have also rejected the deal.
The document that the DoJ filed considered the risks that Google’s overarching project pose to the book industry in general. The US Government backs the fact that the court should “reject the proposed settlement in its current form and encourage the parties to continue negotiations to modify it so as to comply with… copyright and antitrust laws.”
In addition, in a statement, the Open Book Alliance, which also opposed Google’s initial proposal, said that it “is pleased with the action taken today by the Department of Justice, which we believe will help to protect the public interest and preserve competition and innovation”.
Google’s plans to create the largest ever repository of human knowledge is under fire. EU regulators have already rejected the search giant’s endeavour. This bodes badly for Google and it is very unlikely that Google Books will exist in its proposed form.
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