Letters Begin Flying in Objection to the Proposed Google Book Search Settlement

We are starting to see objections to the Google Book Search Settlement this month in advance of the May 5th deadline set up by the court. The first comes from the consumer advocacy group Consumer Watchdog (found by way of the American Libraries news feed). They have submitted a letter to the U.S. Justice Department asking the antitrust division to delay the settlement until the “‘most favored nation’ clause favoring Google is removed and the deal’s ‘orphan works’ provision is extended to cover all who might digitize books, not only Google.” The letter in PDF is available on the Consumer Watchdog website. The objections revolve around the provision that require the Books Rights Registry to give Google the same terms as anyone else who enters into agreements with the Registry (noting that more favorable terms might be required by a new party in order to compete with Google) as well as the fact that the copyright infringement protection for digitizing orphan works only extends to Google.

Administrative Note — Feeds Moved on FeedBurner

DLTJ uses the FeedBurner service to enhance its syndication feeds and gather statistics on readers. Several years ago, Google acquired FeedBurner and recently has begun the process of forcing — errr — integrating users to the Google account structure. I completed the process, but it isn’t entirely clear that it took hold (my transferred feed isn’t showing up in my new Googlized FeedBurner dashboard). If you used to read DLTJ via an RSS/ATOM reader and noticed that you didn’t see this post or any subsequent posts, please let me know.

What Makes Google Tick? A Pointer to an Analysis

Why does Google do what it does? A report by the faberNovel management consulting firm describes Google’s “key success factors” and how it goes about achieving them. The report talks about “Google as platform” and goes on to describe how it makes money serving the network effects of that platform. For instance, it subsidizes one side of its platform — search engine users searching for free — to gain large amounts of traffic (eyeballs) that advertisers want (the network effect). Even more than that, though, Google sees advertising as a form of information in and of itself. The report says: “With [its system of selecting ads to be placed on a page], Google is able to claim that their ads are in fact a way for them to provide additional information to the user.”

Google Book Search Settlement and Library Consortia

The Google Book Search Settlement Agreement includes two points where library consortia come into play: discounts for institutional subscriptions and receipt of digitized books by members of a consortium. The Google Book Search Settlement calls such consortia “Institutional Consortia” and the definition of that phrase and the places in the Settlement where it occurs are extracted below.

This is a review of the Settlement document as it was submitted to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in the case of The Author’s Guild et al v. Google Inc. The court has given preliminary approval of the Settlement, but it might still change.

Preliminary Court Approval of Google Book Settlement; Final Approval Hearing Set

The Associate Press reported on Monday evening that the court has given preliminary approval to the settlement negotiated between Google and book authors and publishers over the use of copyrighted materials in the Google Book Search Library project. In giving preliminary approval, Judge John E. Sprizzo authorized the publication of the notice of settlement and set a final settlement fairness hearing for June 11, 2009.


The judge’s decision sets in motion a series of events over the next eight months:

Google Book Search Settlement: Public Access Service

One of the very relevant aspects of the Google Book Search Settlement Agreement to libraries is the provision that allows for free public access to the full text of books in public and academic libraries. The Notice of Settlement summary says: “Google will provide, on request, ‘Public Access’ licenses for free through a dedicated computer terminal at each public library building and through an agreed number of dedicated computer terminals at non-profit higher educational institutions located in the United States.” (Notice; Q9(F)(1)(c); p. 18) The details beyond the summary are quite a bit more interesting and, of course, have tidbits of useful information that isn’t in the summary.

Is OCLC’s Change of WorldCat Record Use/Transfer Policy Related to the Google Book Search Agreement?


On the Code4Lib IRC channel Thursday afternoon, Roy Tennant, Senior Program Officer at OCLC Programs and Research, said that there is absolutely no connection between the policy change and the Google Book Search settlement.

The Original Post

Google Book Search Settlement: Reviewing the Notice of Settlement

Beyond the public pronouncements of the Google Books Settlement1 are the documents that form the meat of the agreement. The full text of the proposed settlement agreement is 141 pages plus another 162 pages of appendices. The Proposed Notice of Class Action Settlement itself — a summary of the complete settlement — is 38 pages, and is what is reviewed in this post. (The proposed settlement agreement may be covered in a future post.) The Notice of Settlement is chock full of interesting nuggets and hints of even more interesting things in the complete summary agreement. Even the printed version of the summary posted here is about 10 pages long.

Google Book Search Settlement: Introduction, Public Announcements

Announced today was a settlement between Google and the plaintiffs — the Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers and individual authors and publishers — in the class action lawsuit about materials scanned for the Google Book Search application through the Google Book Search Library Project. This posting on DLTJ includes a brief summary of the agreement and links to the primary source public announcements and documents. Subsequent postings to DLTJ will include analysis and commentary on the agreement.

On the Internet, How Do You Know If You Are Talking to a Dog?

Published in The New Yorker July 5, 1993.
Image from The Cartoon Bank

The famous 1993 cartoon from The New Yorker has the caption “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” The question at the moment is: when you’re on the internet, how do you know you are not talking to a dog? When you ask to connect to a remote service, you expect to connect to that remote service. You probably don’t even think about the possibility that “myspace.com” might not be “myspace.com”. But what if you couldn’t rely on that? How about “mybank.com”? Believe it or not, you may exist in such a world today. Last week, US-CERT issued a “Vulnerability Note” on Multiple DNS implementations vulnerable to cache poisoning. What does that mean? Read on…