Judge Chin’s Ruling By The Numbers
Judge Chin’s Tuesday rejection of the GBS was exceptionally thorough and detailed. The OBA applauds judge Chin, the DOJ and many State Attorneys General for their role in holding Google to the same standards as other companies and organizations.
The OBA has long opposed the settlement because it allowed Google to operate outside the law and ultimately increase its dominance in the online search market.
A selection of key findings from Judge Chin’s ruling back the OBA’s concerns along with those raised by consumer advocates, librarians, authors and publishers. The Court’s rejection of the Google Book Settlement is a victory for the public interest and for competition in the literary and Internet ecosystems.
The following selection of quotes from Judge Chin’s decision reflect on some of the key arguments that GBS objectors have raised over the past two years.
On Google’s control over the search market:
“Google’s ability to deny competitors the ability to search orphan books would further entrench Google’s market power in the online search market.”
“The ASA would arguably give Google control over the search market.”
On anti-trust concerns:
“The ASA would give Google a de facto monopoly over unclaimed works. Only Google has engaged in the copying of books en masse without copyright permission.”
On privacy concerns:
“The privacy concerns are real.”
On the appropriation of private property without permission:
“Class members would be giving up certain property rights in their creative works, and they would be deemed – by their silence — to have granted to Google a license to future use of their copyrighted works.”
“The ASA would grant Google control over the digital commercialization of millions of books, including orphan books and other unclaimed works. And it would do so even though Google engaged in wholesale, blatant copying, without first obtaining copyright permissions.”
“As articulated by the United States, the ASA “is an attempt to use the class action mechanism to implement forward-looking business arrangements that go far beyond the dispute before the Court in this litigation.”
On the impact to competition:
“Indeed, the ASA would give Google a significant advantage over competitors, rewarding it for engaging in wholesale copying of copyrighted works without permission, while releasing claims well beyond those presented in the case.”
On the undermining of Congressional authority:
“… [T]he establishment of a mechanism for exploiting unclaimed books is a matter more suited for Congress than this Court.”
“The questions of who should be entrusted with guardianship over orphan books, under what terms, and with what safeguards are matters more appropriately decided by Congress than through an agreement among private, self-interested parties.”
In the end, we could hardly have said it better ourselves.