Judge flummoxed in Google book case

The US district court hearing arguments in the case over Google's plan to fillet the world's books and put some of them online can't yet make a decision.

"I am not going to rule today. There is just too much to digest," Judge Denny Chin said at the end of a one-day hearing on the matter.

The judge heard more arguments against Google's proposed digital library and ebook store than were put forward in favour. The nay-sayers included the US Justice Department, critical of the deal Google got the the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers to agree to. Microsoft and Amazon also argued against.

Google argued that the scheme would make out-of-print books available to a new audience and help authors to profit from their works

Those in favour included the National Federation of the Blind and the Center for Democracy and Technology which is of the opinion that the deal could deliver "extraordinary benefits to our society."

Others, like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Electronic Privacy Information Center say the deal could threaten people's privacy because Google would be able to track what they read. "This settlement would create a library-book store with an unprecedented ability to track users' reading habits," EFF attorney Cindy Cohn said.

Judge Chin did ask a Google lawyer, if she thought copyright infringement was "evil." Google makes a fortune out Internet advertising around other people's work and recently told this reporter it is in the advertising business. It creates no original content of its own other than a few marketing blogs.