OBA Media Wrap-up
The media went into overdrive today as Judge Chin heard closing arguments in his New York courtroom. Overall, the message of the day is that a broad and diverse collection of stakeholders have major objections to the GBS.
A late day AP filing summed up the day, noting that Judge Chin:
(Q)uestioned whether Google and lawyers for authors and publishers went too far when they struck a deal that would let the gigantic search engine make money presiding over the world’s largest digital library.
In an earlier story, the Washington Post’s Cecelia Kang provided context for the hearing, writing:
Like Google’s forays into the cellphone, video and map markets, the book project is intended to support the company’s core business — Internet search. The more people come to the Web to search for information, the more money Google can make from online advertising.
“The proposed Google book settlement is not a philanthropic effort to bring literature into the 21st century and bridge a literary divide,” opponents Microsoft, Amazon and library groups wrote in a recent filing through the Open Book Alliance. “This de facto exclusive license will provide Google with an enormous advantage over its search competitors.”
Diane Bartz of Reuters captured a more heated exchange between Judge Chin and Google’s attorneys, writing:
Google counsel Daralyn Durie, who had used the word “evil” to describe discrimination discussed in a class action case cited as a precedent, seemed surprised when Chin shot back at her: “Some might say that copyright infringement is evil.”
Much of today’s action was focused on Google’s standoff with the Department of Justice. Writing for Wired, David Kravits noted that:
The Justice Department claims Google’s proposition turns copyright law on its head and alters the “Copyright Act’s specific delineation of exclusive rights to authors.”
Later in the article, Kravits concludes:
Google — whether envied or vilified — already corners the online search and advertising market. Owning the written word is perhaps a Google trifecta — and maybe more worrisome than a delay to the inevitable online distribution of the world’s literature.
“With respect to antitrust issues,” he said briefly, “our investigation is ongoing.” He added, “We continue to investigate the impact on many products, including the search product.”
In other news, OBA’s own Peter Brantly was invited to update listeners and watchers of CNET’s Buzz Out Loud about the status of the GBS, authors’ rights and the post-GBS path towards a true digital library.
Show host Tom Merritt, an author himself, expressed disbelieve that the settlement had been allowed to progress as far as it had. Check out the first 15 minutes of the show to catch all the incredulous details.