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The GBS Makes for Angry Neighbors

Today, the Open Book Alliance released a comprehensive analysis that details how the proposed Google Books Settlement violates international laws and treaties.  A full version of the study can be found here.

Cynthia Arato, partner at the law firm of Macht, Shapiro, Arato and Isseries and a prominent litigator on intellectual property and copyright issues, finds that “numerous provisions of the proposed Google Books settlement would, if approved, violate the treaty obligations of the U.S.  If the settlement is approved, it may give rise to legal action against the U.S. before an international tribunal and will certainly expose the U.S. to diplomatic stress.”

For the first time, the proposed class action settlement between Google, the Association of American Publishers and the Author’s Guild has been fully evaluated to determine the claims and remedies that other nations may seek through the World Trade Organization (WTO) for the violations that an approved Google Books Settlement would incur.

Specifically, Arato found that:

“The settlement would (1) grant Google automatic rights to exploit digitally millions of books without requiring Google to obtain any authorization from any foreign copyright owner or author; and (2) require these foreign rights holders to jump through burdensome hoops simply to exercise a watered-down contractual right – that the settlement creates – to halt such use.”

Foreign nations that wish to challenge the U.S. over treaty violations of the settlement may do so before the World Trade Organization.  Violations can lead to financial penalties or trade sanctions against the U.S.  The governments of France and Germany have already formally objected to the proposed settlement.

But beyond financial penalties and trade disputes, we have to ask ourselves if we’re happy thumbing our nose at the rest of the world for the benefit of one company.  We suggest not.  There are alternatives to the GBS that will benefit a broader audience and welcome international partners’ contributions.

Open collaboration that rejects exclusive deals is the best way to create a true international library.

Originally posted on The Open Book Alliance Blog by admin.
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Written by internetarchive

May 10, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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